How to navigate life with a tween: the journey begins


When my son turned nine it was one of those subtle milestone moments. There was no major change, but there was a shift. We were now sharing our life with a tween.

A few days ago he and I took a walk, just the two of us. It was a lovely sunny afternoon, my husband was running an errand with our younger two, and my son wanted to get outside too.

So, we walked in to town; enjoying the warmth of the sun, commenting on the beautiful fall colours and chatting. Lots of chatting.

As a mother with no previous experience of nine year old boys, I assume that he is fairly typical of his age.

He has an opinion on everything, he can be rather silly at times, he’s full of chat and commentary. He thinks he’s clever, but often he’s just cheeky.

But, he’s also perceptive, responsible and helpful.

He makes breakfast for himself and his brother and sister. He does his homework without protest and works hard. He even sometimes tidies up without being asked.

He can tell when I’m reaching the end of my tether, before the end is reached, and he will distract his siblings or offer help, or simply give me a hug.

A sunny stroll

The journey begins

As we walked I realised two things.

Firstly, while he will generally shrug and say nothing when asked about his day at school, when given the opportunity to chat, unprompted, he will talk and talk.

Secondly, I really enjoy talking to him.

He is interesting. He shares my love of books, fantasy novels in particular. He is thoughtful and kind and funny.

I know that the next few years, and the few after that, will not always be easy.

I can see the need for independence asserting itself and I know this will happen before I am ready. That he will want to walk home from school with his friends. That he will want to disappear to his room, away from his brother and sister, and his parents.

I know he is likely to talk less and grunt more as we fly towards the teen years. That talking to mum about books will become less appealing as his peer friendships grow and strengthen.

I know he won’t listen to advice, will roll his eyes at me more often than I’d like, will shrug a lot.

I know this is all part of the journey and I know that these are all necessary steps as he grows up.

All I hope is that by taking the time to really talk to him now, and more importantly to listen, I am building a strong foundation for what is to come.

That by making conversation with him part of our everyday lives he will always, always feel comfortable talking to me.

That when he really needs advice, he will know that he can come to us and that we will listen.

That he will always tell me his stories.

And that this quiet moment of change, from boy to tween, is just the beginning of something really great.

Me and my boy

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40 thoughts on “How to navigate life with a tween: the journey begins”

  1. Aww, this is so sweet. It’s so funny how with every stage I grieved its passing but then I celebrated the next stage and it quickly became my favourite.

    My 7-year-old daughter turns 8 in less than 3 months. I can hardly believe it. I love her to pieces and right now i’m saying this is my favourite stage. She’s thoughtful, helpful, and quite the conversationalist.

    Thanks for sharing (and for linking up to the #SHINEbloghop).

    Wishing you a lovely day.

  2. Oh, I how envy this walk you had with your son. I have a teen, tween and pretween, and I finally had to get a dog so they would come on walks with me. My pretween is non-stop chatter box, and I love it, but the car drives alone with the Tween and Teen are so quiet. Getting a conversation going with them is so difficult, and it stresses me out. I want so much for them to share more and for it to flow more naturally between us. But it’s a constant struggle.

    1. I imagine that the years to come, as we move into the teen years, will get quieter! But, I am mindful of it now and I want to try to keep the conversation flowing as much as I can x

  3. I have a tween, and as of last week, also a teen! My son is 10 and is definitely becoming more independent. He occasionally holds my hand though if he knows no-one from school will be around. And he still goes to bed with a cuddly every night (as does the teen!) so I hope things stay the same for a while longer yet.

  4. A lovely post Sara, your son sounds lovely. My eldest is 11, well into that tween stage, and is more a ‘grunter’ these days. He doesn’t like to talk, thinks I’m wrong about everything, and likes to be alone. Of course I know my boy is under there somewhere, he’s just temporarily hidden beneath the tween. Good luck for the next few years as your boy changes, the hardest part is letting them go out alone. I didn’t cope well with that, in fact, I still don’t! :)

    1. That’s a good way to look at it ‘temporarily hidden under tween’ :) I’m not looking forward to when he starts going out alone…

  5. This is gorgeous Sara, your boy sounds lovely and so caring. I think my eldest will be quite similar when she gets to that age. She’s already pretty perceptive and knows when ‘I’m reaching the end’. How lucky are we to be able to watch our little babies grow into these little people with their own opinions and ideas. I just love this journey that we’re all on. Thanks so much for linking up to #MyCapturedMoment xxx

  6. This feel a long way off for me, as Arthur has recently turned 9 months ( rather than 9 years) but what a lovely post, and by the sounds of it, what a lovely boy! By the time I am where you are now, your little one will turning 18 – now that is scary right?! #fartglitter

  7. This is so lovely! And so encouraging! The thought of my children ever being that old scares me if I’m honest. Right now, in these little years, it feels quite safe and controllable and cocooned. In my heart of hearts I don’t believe that the older years will be as wonderful. But this gave me a little glimpse of how wrong that kind of thinking is… Thank you!

    1. I think each new stage is wonderful in it’s own way (although I’m not sure about the depths of the teen years!). But, this stage is just as lovely, so far, being able to have a real conversation is really quite special x

  8. He sounds like a lovely young man, I too have a tween, next October he will turn 13.
    At the moment he is and always has been so helpful, he is a cheeky and mischievous too, but helps with his younger siblings and always looks out for them too, I do not look forward to the teen years x

    1. Yes, I suspect that the tween years are, on the whole, going to be okay. Not yet convinced about the teen years!

    1. We do, and I really hope it survives the stages to come. At least I can be fairly sure that we’ll be back in a good place once he’s in his twenties :)

  9. He sounds so lovely. It’s a whole new ball game at that age isn’t it? My boy is 3 but this has been really interesting to know what to expect #twinklytuesday x

  10. Your son sounds lovely Sara. You might want to refer back to this post as he turns into a teen and life as his mother becomes more of a challenge x

  11. Ah you know Caitlin Moran says (jokingly I hope!) that the only good bit of the parenting journey is when your children are 9-11 years old! And probably for all the reasons you list (not to say that we will all be as lucky to have such caring, thoughtful, helpful, hardworking and generally lovely sons but here’s hoping we get some elements of the mix. Thanks so much for linking up Sara Xx #thetruthabout

  12. Sounds like a lovely bonding walk, and he sounds like a fab grounded 9 year old. The shrugs and grunts made me laugh – reminds me of our 13 year old nephew!

  13. Your son sounds like a wonderful rounded and balanced young boy. When he goes through difficult times in the coming years you can be confident that he has the strength of character and of mind to pull through it. Well done. I would be absolutely delighted if my son is like your son aged 9 – something to aim for.

    1. I feel very lucky, so far, I just hope that he continues to talk to me like he does now (or at least almost as much!).

  14. Sounds to me like you’ve done an excellent job raising him so far. Being someone I’d want to be around is a pretty cool expectation for my lad. Fingers crossed the next stage isn’t too bumpy for you. I’m sure the relationship you’ve built so far will see you both come through the other side OK.
    Thanks so much for linking up to #fartglitter x

  15. Ohh Sara — what a lovely post!! I always get a little bit teary when I think of my babies growing up but thins puts a totally different spin on it! It makes me feel excited for my future! Thanks so much for sharing and linking up with us at #TwinklyTuesday

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