Raising a Preteen: The Battle of Good vs. Evil

Preteens can suck the life right out of you. One mom braves the battle of puberty and lives to tell us all about it.


So….tonight I am sitting, thinking.  I am thinking about my kids.  Thinking of how they are growing.  How they are changing.  I am thinking of puberty and how I hate what it is doing to two kids who have the potential to be so good natured.

I expressed to Darryl last week that I have no business raising teenagers.  I am good with young kids.  Fun.  Energetic.  Patient.  But…..preteens and teens suck the life right out of me.  At least that’s how I felt last week.

I am tired of arguing.  I am tired of the tone of sarcasm.  I am tired of not knowing anything.  I am tired of watching two children thrown into a tailspin because of their hormones.

But, it doesn’t matter how tired I am.  I know that.  They can’t help how they feel and the moods they experience.  And I can’t help how they make me feel when they are in these moods.  So….we have to find some way to tolerate each other through these turbulent years.  And hopefully emerge on the other side…..as friends.

Today was a different day here though.  A better day.  An….odd day.

Kailyn woke up in a wonderful mood.  An amazing mood.  Ready to tackle the day.  I was cautiously pleased.  “Pleased” because I love these content moods of hers.  “Cautious” because I know in the blink of an eye they can change.  I tread quietly.  I respond to every word out of her mouth positively.  I am careful not to poke the beast.

But….as I tiptoed around her all day, I discovered something.  Something marvelous.  It seemed to me that my beautiful daughter was almost back to normal.  Back to the normal, helpful, eager, energetic, content little girl that I lost over a year ago to puberty.

She not only was pleasant, but she wanted to spend most of the day with me.  She hung around me.  She wanted to help me clean up.  When I asked her to do me a favour, instinctively cringing waiting for her to snap at me, she just did it.  And did it happily.  I asked her to do me several favours…..she responded quite…..normally.

She asked me to go for a long walk with her.  I grabbed my coat.  She asked me to look at something on her Ipad.  I immediately stopped what I was doing to look.  She asked me to sit in her room with her while she sorted her drawers out.  I jumped at the invitation.  She hugged me.  I reciprocated.  She told me she loved me.  I melted.

I discovered something today.  I discovered that my amazing little girl….is still in there.  She is there.  Under the raging hormones, the sarcasm, the strong will, the irritability, the woman…..there lies that wonderful little girl who still needs my attention and wants to please me.

And for some strange reason…..it rejuvenated me.

Now, I am no fool.  I know that preteen Tasmanian devil is in there still.  In there ready to pounce at me when the time is right.

But, today the beast was quiet.

For a day I could let my guard down and enjoy the young lady I am working so hard to raise.

Yes, last week I was tired.  But, one good day has shown me that I still have a relationship….a good relationship….with my girl.  And tonight I feel better.  I feel content.

I will continue the fight in the battle called puberty.  The battle of good versus evil.  I will regroup.  I will have patience.  I will let their friends come before me.  I will not take their comments too personally.

And if the stars align for me…..the good will always win.


Penny Pfaff is a grade 2/3 teacher at W. J. Baird Public School in Blenheim, Ontario. She is married with two children, Aidan (13) and Kailyn (12). She shares and writes her own insights and thoughts so her children can learn from her experiences. You can follow her blog at www.pennypfaff.wordpress.com.

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