Archive for the ‘tween tantrum’ Category

Negotiating Tween Tantrums

September 29, 2009

But MOM!!
NO ONE ELSE has a bedtime!

It’s here. It’s official.

Negotiating tween tantrums: the bedtime

She’s convinced we are the meanest parents on the block. Only took her 1.5 weeks of Jr. High to figure it out. After a longer than usual day. Trying out for volleyball, attending her youth group activity and completing homework (mostly algebra—oh joy) she was grumpy and exhausted.

We encouraged her to hurry & shower then get ready for bed. (Can you imagine anything more cruel?)

Her response {IN ALL CAPS}:

YOU ARE SO MEAN!
NO ONE ELSE HAS A BEDTIME!
I’M NOT A LITTLE KID!

I looked at my husband. He looked at me.
We were baffled? Where did THAT come from?

After my own rotten day I quite honestly couldn’t deal with her tween tantrum at the mommy witching hour. The dad helped her understand it wasn’t a good time to have a shouting match.

Later after she was asleep, we talked about what she really needed? Was there more to her tween tirade than a set bedtime? —She was overtired, possibly nervous about volleyball, and for sure Jr. High was completely new to her —maybe tween stress issues?

Do we care if she stays up later than the younger kids?

No.
As long as any ‘extra’ time staying up later isn’t spent watching TV, and of course as long as she is still able to get up early enough to get herself moving for the bus.

What we really want her to understand is how to negotiate what she wants (or believes she deserves). Because it’s kind of hard to prove to us that she is responsible and capable of determining her own bedtime while in the middle of an “IlooklikeI’m5” outburst.

The next night Dad took her out for a one-on-one Dad chat (including Chinese food). They talked about school and the anxieties in her life. He gave her a chance to plead her no-need-for-a-bedtime case. And they arrived home with an acceptable compromise.

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Her new ‘bedtime’ will now be an hour later than before. And if she’s finished with homework she determined that she’d be happy to read or do something quiet in her room during her extra time.

Problem solved. Now the question is will she understand how to negotiate the next time the “meanest parents” come to town??

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*I polled some of her friend’s parents. They ALL said their kids have ‘bedtimes’. We in fact, are NOT the meanest parents on the block.
So THERE.