I’ve been the parent of tween boys for six years, almost half as long as I’ve been a parent.
The tween years were rough with our oldest son, who is definitely our “easy kid.” I naively believed it would get easier with our younger two boys. But that just isn’t true. With my youngest on the cusp of officially becoming a tween boy, there are many things I still don’t understand.
1. The total aversion to staying clean.
Dirty socks are worn for days. Dry hair after coming out of the shower claiming they washed their hair. Suggest brushing their teeth or wearing deodorant? Absolutely not! Tween boys have an absolute aversion to personal hygiene. Because I also have a teenager, I know there will quickly become a time when I limit how long they stay in the bathroom because they can spend hours preening.
2. The paradox of toys and technology.
Tweens have one foot in childhood toys and the other foot in teenage goods, most notably tech items like headphones, computers, and anything with a power button. Seemingly overnight tween boys go from playing with toys to watching others play video games.
3. The smells
Oh, their rooms smell like feet, sweat, and our dogs. No matter how frequently we wash bedding, clean rooms, and open windows. It always smells. Tween boys are drawn to these smells. The grosser, the better. I won’t even start on the disgusting stench of shoes.
4. The mood swings
I know this is the beginning of puberty and hormones are everywhere. Logically, I know this. However, it doesn’t ease the pain of watching my sweet little kids begin to transform into unpredictable, hungry, moody creatures. I know they will come out on the other side, but it’s a rough transition from hugs and snuggles to eye rolls and annoyance.
5. The forgetfulness
Suddenly, we went from kids who could follow multiple-step directions to tween boys who forget halfway through a task what they were doing. I’m sure some of this is due to the rapid development of their brains. Some of it is a way of exercising their newly forming autonomy. Maybe some of it is an inability to listen to directions.
Don’t get me wrong; I love watching the boys develop into the young men they are becoming. But the tween boy stage is stinky, volatile, and expensive. I’m going to enjoy my last few days of parenting a little boy before our youngest becomes a full-fledged tween.