The very specific moment when your tween becomes a teen.

Thanks to our brand partner, Optus.

Browsing the aisles of the school uniform shop, I run my fingers along the crisp, clean sleeves of the cotton shirts. I smile at the laundry-ease the black socks promise me, and giggle to myself at the memory of her first day of kindergarten. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I see a lone wide-brimmed floppy hat sluggishly draped over the head of a plastic replica of a school child. As I walk over, I eye this hat off, taking in the shape, the material, the logo that proudly adorns the front. As I pick it up, I suddenly panic. I know exactly what is coming. I feel warm and short of breath as I frantically look for somewhere to hide it until there she is, bursting out of the change room.

"This skirt is disgusting, and I am NOT wearing that ugly hat!"

Please meet my 12-year-old daughter. 

The hormone-driven, can’t-control-her-emotions, but can still be sweet-as-pie tween. As you may have guessed, she’s off to high school this year, and navigating the changes this will bring has been a tad, let’s call it, challenging.

The trials and tribulations leading up to the start of Year 7 didn’t start in that small, overstocked uniform shop though. Her transition from tween to teen has been slow-moving over the last 12 to 18 months as she faced numerous challenges that would prove to test her patience, her resilience, and times, her faith in humanity. 

The uniform debacle is but a drop in the ocean compared to what else has been lurking in the sea. There’s the rigid teen skincare routine consisting of more cleansers, scrubs, toners, serums, and glow drops that I even knew existed. And then there’s the conversations around devices. These ones have caused long, teary nights locked in bedrooms. And that’s just me!


"Everyone has a phone. Everyone has social media!" she says loudly as I tell her she doesn’t need to text her bestie after seeing her literally two minutes ago at the school gate where they spent the last 7 hours glued at the hip. 

And homework, the expectations in primary school were very minimal however, my daughter’s cousin, who was in Year 7 last year, has held nothing back in sharing the pile that she received daily. There was English, history, math, science, French, all of it piling up and having her head spinning and my daughter exclaiming "Excusez-moi?!" (Yes, she is already way advanced in French… okay fine, she learnt it from Mean Girls). 

Thankfully, the unlikely hero has come in the form of the BYOD rule. Afterall, we all know how much almost-teens love technology, and when she’s told that she has to have it, my plan for it will be so much easier to implement. 

You see, my daughter is as easily distracted as a baby is by milk, but if the technology bridges the homework-resistance gap as well as disconnects her for a while, then these little ears of mine are well pricked up.

My plan? A hybrid approach. 

With Optus' range of tablets providing the benefits of not only staying connected but also the necessity of using it to study at home, my daughter will be more likely to complete her homework, especially with the latest Samsung Galaxy Tab A9+

The device is super sleek, and the best part? It's easy on the wallet too, especially since you can grab the tablet for $170 off the RRP when you stay connected with an eligible Data Plan for 36 months. And with OptusPay, you can buy your tablet now and pay for it later, completely interest free on an eligible plan.


To address my main concern of my daughter being digitally distracted during study time, well, Optus has put this on pause thanks to (funnily enough) Optus Pause. With the simple push of the pause button within the My Optus app, her data connection is put on hold for the time I select (except for SMS and calls). Optus helping me take control of her connection and keep her eyes on the prize — high five team!

It's time to let go (at least a little).

But when it comes to boys, I'm leaving them hanging. I get it; I was her once, all gooey and heart-eyed at the blonde-haired, blue-eyed surfie boys, but she’s not ready for that! I’m not ready for that! 

But her resilience, my gosh, it is so much more than where mine has ever been. Her ability to bounce back, brush off and build from, body shaming, and nasty comments would impress Tony Robbins.

There are so many things I could share that clearly indicate that my little girl is growing up, but it’s the drop of my hand that was the pivotal moment for me. From a young girl who would proudly show the world that I was her mum, and she loved and needed me, diminished in a nano-second one morning when we were walking to the beach. 

"Cross the road here babe," I said as I reached for her perfectly manicured but Oztag-rough hand. "I can cross the road mum," she said as she swung her hand past mine, looked left and right, and safely walked to the other side. 


As small as this might feel, I looked at her with a little more moisture in my eyes. This is the moment that my tween, for me, was clearly becoming a teen.  

There’s an old saying that promises that "a daughter is just a little girl who grows up to be your best friend." Well, if my current situation is anything to go by, I call nonsense on that. But, I know that this is just a moment in time and in the blink of an eye she’ll be graduating, moving out, and never holding my hand down the street again until I’m old, decrepit, and need to get to my next cataracts appointment. 

So, as I put the floppy hat down, I’m taking a moment to breathe. I take her hand, push her hair behind her ear, wink, and say, "Don’t worry, we can roll your skirt up like I did at school." She smiles and starts rolling as I finish my sentence…

"But, you’re still wearing the hat."

Set up your kids for the new school year with Optus. Explore their variety of tablets, plans, and tools, such as Optus Pause.

Samsung Galaxy Tab A9+ offer: Min cost. $543.74. 64GB model. RRP $528.48. Ends April 2, 2024. Discount applied monthly over 36 months and forfeited if you cancel early. Not applicable with other offers. T&Cs and eligibility criteria apply. 

Optus Pause: T&Cs and eligibility criteria apply. Select modems only. See website for details.

Feature Image: Supplied. 

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