Tweenagers are basically toddlers…

 If you are reading this, and you are in the throws of the toddler years and are wondering when it will get easier and saner, this post is not meant to make you despair, but I can tell you, and I tell the parents and families that I work with that, toddler hood is NOT the most challenging part of parenting your kids. All the stages have their ups and downs. but each one comes with challenges and triumphs and we are into the tween years and rolling into the teen years faster than we would like to admit (the parents that is, the tween thinks it’s all good, she gets her own bus pass, a bank card, a phone and I have finally allowed her to wear lipgloss when she leaves the house!!)

The tweens is a fun stage. I mean fun in both the negative and the positive.

You can talk to them, and they have adult conversations, they have ideas and thoughts, and want to know about the world in a way that’s interesting and almost reasonable. They have started to form opinions and a vague idea of what life is like and they are looking at the world and their future with fresh eyes. For me, it’s a lot of fun, we go shopping, we watch tv together, we cook together, we have started running together, we advise each other on clothes (ok, she tells me what to wear and won’t let me buy things she deems not cool, and she steals all my nice clothes and can now fit into my fancy shoes I can’t wear any more thanks to knee surgery) and we have a very open and honest relationship when it comes to talking about sex, her body, and the changes she’s facing as she hits puberty. She also is sarcastic and has my sense of humour, which means we get along well, most of the time. She’s growing up and wants to do things and exert her independence and she likes to do things for herself, and hates it when she thinks we might be checking up on her.  

She’s fierce and funny, and growing up and it’s amazing to watch. 

But, there is a down side. 

I commented to a friend the other day that  tweenagers are basically toddler in semi adult body form. She looked horrified. (she has a toddler and four year old) and then had to explain.

Tweenagers seem to be far needier and more emotional at the age we are at (11 going on 15!!) and they can be very irrational and also quite demanding. It feels to me like my daughter sometimes has gone from being quite calm, and easy going at aged 8/9 to suddenly reverting back to the toddler years when there was a lot of tears and drama (usually because I wouldn’t allow her to wear just her swimming costume and wellies to nursery, now it’s because I won’t let her have an iPhone with WhatsApp!) and no matter how calm and rational, you the adult try to be, there is sometimes just no reasoning with them. They also seem to loose their self care abilities and revert to needing to be babied. 


Tween – “my head is sore”

Me – “go and get the medicine from my room, I will give you some”

Tween disappears, and returns twenty minutes later, still complaining of a headache. I ask if they have brought me the medicine. Much pouting and mumbling. Apparently this is too much to ask and mum must go get it and dispense it. She also often needs a lot of comfort and reassurance and consoling for matters which seem very trivial to me, but that at her tender tween age, are very serious. 

Oh, and the door slamming, foot stamping, irrational outbreaks of tears and cries of “it’s not fair!” are still there. She doesn’t hurl herself on the floor in public, any more, but she does do a fairly dramatic exit of a room and retreat loudly to her bedroom to have a good cry. 

I have spoken to other parents of kids at this age and who are also past this stage and it seems this is normal. We swing from being delightful and fun to be around to needy toddler in an adolescent body, and sometimes it’s bewildering and confusing (for the parents as well as the tween!!) 

Basically tweenagers are giant toddlers. You get more vocabulary and they can string a whole sentence together and they don’t wet themselves any more, but the tantrums and irrationality are just the same…

This doesn’t reassure you if you are still just parenting a toddler, I know. 

Sorry about that… πŸ˜‰


After The Playground
Posted in Family Life and Parenting and tagged parenting a tween, puberty, teenagers, tweenager.


  1. Absolutely agree with this! I am now dealing with my third teen daughter who has, almost overnight, become a little……challenging, shall we say. The good news is that her two older sisters (aged 19 and 16) have turned into delightful young ladies so I am just gritting my teeth and getting on with it, one last time. Good luck with the tween and teen years in your house. Thanks so much for sharing your fab post at #TweensTeensBeyond

  2. So many similarities Karen. I’m experiencing a bit of a good stretch at the moment but I also know how quickly these things can change. The sensitivities and the little opinions are flowering so it’s always good to be mindful a these times. Onwards!! Thanks for sharing with #tweensteensbeyond

    • They do grow out of it eventually, I am told! or at least I hope! πŸ™‚

  3. My teens are now 15 and 19 and looking back I think there have been a few moments for sure when the toddler mentality has reappeared, although if it is any consolation it does become more sporadic. I hope you survive this phase with yours. Sending you lots of luck and strength. #TweensTeensBeyond

  4. Gosh this sounds scarily true, when I think of our 14 year old daughter. A grown up body but the mood swings and demanding nature of the toddler tantrum years. So it will pass, wont it???? Please say it willπŸ˜³πŸ‚

    • Apparently it does! My dad thinks this is hilarious, because he remembers my own tween and teen years and says it’s karma!! πŸ™‚

  5. Thanks for the heads up, my son is 9 at the moment.The level of “negotiation” we have been introduced to lately is epic. I guess I should work at upping my game. There are moments I wonder why we ever taught him to speak, things would be so much easier ;D

    • Lol, the grunting and lack of use of words is an issue here… they really are worse than toddlers!!

  6. I had to smile on teenagers being giant toddlers. I am imagining how my journey will be since we are still toddlers. Am loving the fact that all the above you wrote will prepare me for when they become teens ☺☺

    • I do feel bad telling parents that it will probably get worse again! Sorry! Apparently they do get better, then they leave home… πŸ˜‰

Comments are closed.