I always thought that growing young children was the most difficult time in the parenting journey. The constant needs and demands, the frustration of emerging communication skills, the getting up through the night. I always thought that babies were hard work and toddlers were challenging and tiring. That is until I have found myself parenting a tween.
It seems that my first born sort of skipped this awkward and tricky stage, mostly going from being a child to being a teenager in the space of a month or two. Her struggles and issues as a teenager are different and now at 15, revolve around developing a sense of self. She is striving for independence as she navigates her way through all the choices on offer to her. All pretty normal, and though at times frustrating and hurtful, we seem to be making some progress.
My second daughter, "the ballerina" is 12 and having a pretty tough time of growing up. She is a loving and thoughtful girl, loyal and honest, but very quiet. She has a wicked sense of humour too. Of course this is the girl that we know and love, and I am fully aware that she presents differently outside her safe and nuturing home environment.
At school she is having serious friend issues. These issues have been going on in varying degrees for several years, but now something has changed. She has gone from being popular and loved by many to being excluded, teased and even bullied. In the last week of school before the holidays she had been unwell and missed a couple of days. On her return the girls she normally plays with excluded her. One even picked up a dead bird and shoved it in her face saying "kiss this, it's the only thing that will ever love you"
Despite all of this she is resilient and strong. She goes off to school every day and remains positive and happy. But I know she is hurting on the inside. She is in Grade 6 and is hanging out mostly with Grade 5's who seem to be accepting and fun. I am worried that this is going to taint her experience of Grade 6 Graduation and Big Day out. Something her sister enjoyed immensely.
I am not an "up to the school see the teacher" sort of a parent. But both Mr M and I have spoken to her teacher and the principal. I feel that this has done little, and that my precious daughter has been labelled as something I think she is not.
Oh, how easy it is to meet the needs of a babe in arms, if my memory serves me correctly!
P.S pic is of cookies that she baked on the weekend by herself.