Shopping for my Tween Daughter

The time has come, that time when your child no longer accepts and adores your clothing selections for her. Yes, I firmly believe it happens to all of us. We all have been at that stage where the clothing choices our parents made for us would make us cringe and argue the fact that we are now too old to have our Mommy or Daddy buy us clothing. I remember being that age and I was a nightmare, I am sure, now I get to relive that stage with my oldest, which is nearing middle school age and is ready to show her true personality through clothing choices.

There are some limits you can place, as the parent, on your tweens or teens clothing choices and here are some that I have placed with my own daughter:

  • Halter tops are unacceptable as they show off too much skin for every day wear outside of the beach or pool.
  • Be appropriate in your choice of graphic tees that spread a message, make sure the messages on graphic tees are age appropriate and school acceptable.
  • Choose a variety of clothing so that you can dress appropriately for the weather.

My daughter’s current obsession is with printed leggings, she just adores leggings with a matching graphic tee shirt on top. I have recently noticed that rue21.com has a wide range of tween and teen clothing options for any picky dresser. There is a LOVE graphic tee that I know my daughter would totally wear, unless I bought it that is. Parenting gets more difficult as you head into the age of teens picking their own clothing, you must ensure that they are allotted their independence to choose high waisted jeans if they so desire but limit their clothing to age appropriate messages and ensure they cover their body fully. My rule is, the less skin showing, the better.

Shopping for tweens or teens really can give one a headache, it’s no easy task, but if you set rules and boundaries from the beginning; yes that means dressing them appropriately when you are the one choosing clothing from day one, then you will find their clothing choices will continue to be appropriate well into their teen years. Support your tween and teen in their individuality and remember; life is far too short to spend it arguing about matching clothes; let your child’s clothing be their artwork.

We Were Warned of These Times … The Tween Years

My daughter and I read a story out of our most current Chicken Soup for the Soul book each night and while we were reading Chicken Soup for the Soul The Magic of Mothers & Daughter we were forewarned of times to come with stories during this time of change with girls. I knew the time would come, whether or not it would be as extreme as the stories within this book were or not, that was the only question. My daughter honestly said that would not happen because of our bond and how close we are, but hormones have a mind of their own and that my friends is the times I am currently going through. Living with the changes of hormones in my daughter that also messes with my hormones which in turn wrecks havoc upon the home at times.

IMG_20130406_134648My family is very close knit, we are a positive happy go lucky bunch of people but when you put those hormone changes into effect, things don’t run as smoothly as they normally would. Mother Nature is cruel in that she thought it would be great to allow females who are close or reside together to sync up with hormone changes which only makes the mother/daughter bond harder to keep strong. While my daughter and I are still super close and she can speak out as she deems fit with her opinions or stuff going on, with the hormones at place her attitude or the way she goes about expressing said feelings, opinions or what not is not always the most appropriate, friendly way. Think about when you have that time of the month, while my daughter isn’t “there” yet, her hormones are changing and she has all of the symptoms us females get with that time of the month. Are you less susceptible to reasonable demands? Are you capable of flying off the handle more often than not? Do you seem like no one gets you or that nothing gets done the way you want? Consider all of those feelings you have when you are hormonal and place those within a young child, age 10. Can you imagine what this child is going through?

I cannot imagine being so young and dealing with the changes your mind, body and soul take on at this age. It’s insane. I have issues handling it and I am 31 years old. It’s no fun and it means, as a parent, you must step up that compassionate side more often than not. I have a lot of patience with children, especially my own. I am loving, nurturing and a total MOMMY type personality but when I have my “nonfriend of the month” heading this way, I tend to be less reasonable and can be more agitated quickly. This isn’t a good mix when your child is also having those same changes during the same time frame you are. It is only a recipe for disaster. This is a situation everyone can survive from but it’s taking a lot of hard work, focus and determination to make it through in a positive way on my end.

Mother Daughter TimeIt seems that when a female, no matter her age, is having hormone changes that the most normal of replies to their requests or issues no longer make sense. All of a sudden you are the bad guy, you do not “get” them and never would you understand. You are mean. You are rotten. And clearly you are out to get this child. I understand it. I get it. I feel the same way each month, again at age 31 years, so I do get where my child is coming from, but at the same time I am learning how to deal with this part of her life. It’s all new. This is truly a sample of why I always say, “parenting is something you learn to do each day of your life”. Parenting a child is never the same day to day, there will always be a situation or life change that happens making it a whole new learning experience on how to move forward in a positive direction while hanging onto your bond and family unit.

While I expected this time to come, I wasn’t nearly as prepared as I had thought. It breaks my heart some days when I have to take away my daughter’s laptop time because of her tone and usage of attitude behind how she says things or handles things. It breaks my heart to have to send her to room for chill out time in order to keep the chaos of hormones raging at bay. It breaks my heart to have to now enforce such consequences that were always there but very rarely had to been utilized. Once I get past the heart break and come back down to the real world, I realize that I am still teaching my daughter what is expected from her as an individual person and that even society or a work place will not put up with such attitude no matter what. I would rather her learn under my roof with a mom who loves her no matter what than to have everything catered to her current mood and have to learn once she is an adult in the real world with people who do not love her unconditionally.

It’s a new chapter in many ways here at my household, but I am confident they will lead to a positive place … eventually!

Top Five Ways to Stop Being an Alien to your Kids

At a loss as to how to understand that new kid that appears to be that same little person you gave birth to on the exterior but internally has become some little alien creature with a language you have yet to master? It’s all too easy to blink and find that our kids have become miniature adults in tween and teen bodies with word usage that may have you shaking your head more often than not. Here are some tried and true methods that may assist you in keeping communication open with your kids through the tween and teen years;

Mother Daughter Lunch on Mothers DayBring Yourself To Their Level

Kids these days watch shows different than the Full House and Looney Toons we grew up watching, they are now torn between enjoying their parents old school shows or falling in line with their peers watching Victorious, Josh and Drake among other shows that frequent the television these days. The best way to get in tune with your kids is to watch what they watch, engage them during the commercials, find out what it is about these shows that makes them enjoy such drama. Best bet is to discourage such shows, but these shows will really help you to bring yourself down to the level of their peers and in turn help you be able to communicate at their level.  Heck, watch the latest in tween and teen shows while your kids are away from home to really get a hang for talking that tween and teen slang, you will impress them by being able to refrain from looking baffled at the words that spew out of their mouths. If you can bring yourself to simply understand, even if you do not agree, with what your kids are experiencing in a way that makes them feel as if you truly care, then they will be more apt to come to you for the small things, the big things and the even larger things that happen in their life.

Encourage Family Dinner at the Table Together

It has been proven that if a family can meet at the table for a meal once per day and engage in conversation together during meal time, that the family bond as a whole is more concrete with little feelings of being left out or misunderstood. Dinner time is usually the best time of day as kids have extra curricular activities, parents have to work and maybe the younger kids have activities or play dates to tend to. Dinner time is a great way to wind down over a good meal and great conversation with your family as a whole. This form of conversation over a meal together as a family teaches the lesson of listening, speaking and hearing others rather than tossing off what they are saying because you may be busy washing dishes while they are speaking to you. Each person has the rest of the families undivided attention and engages properly, respectfully and politely to each person in response to the topic they are discussing. Family Dinner at a table together really helps to glue a family unit together.

HeartFeltBooks CoverEncourage a Journal

There are multiple reasons why a kid should have a journal but the most important ones are that it can allow them to get out any negative that happened that day which will allow them to move on from that negative. The other benefit of having a journal is that the kids are able to write about their positive experiences and have them saved for future reference when they feel their life is just crap. As a parent, you need to really set up ground rules with the journal. Allow your child to have a private journal, one in which you will not touch or snoop through behind their back, but rather let them know beforehand that if their behavior is shooting red flags to you then you may need to read that journal for some insight as to what their emotional well being may be at that time. It’s easy to set ground rules that teach your kid they have space, but also that they are truly the kid, not the adult so their privacy is slightly limited. Having a journal may allow your kid to talk to you easier because they will not be so full of information, anger or happiness that they rambled off in a way that is hard to keep up with. A journal may help a kid slow down to focus on what their real issue is at the current time and in turn be able to express that to you in a manner that you are able to understand and lend advice about.

Remember That What your Kid Is Going Through is Personal To Them

You recall being that kid who knew 100% that their Mom or Dad just didn’t “get them”, right? That is your kid. Your kids now feel that you do not understand them, you have never lived a day like they are living and you are just some alien from another world that had this peachy clean time growing up. You were never bullied, you never faced challenges, life was just always easy for you as a kid. Remember, you have to get back down to the level of your kid’s ages and remember how you felt about your parents just not getting you. That is how your kids feel. If you can take your kids personal experiences and compare it to something that you went through at a younger age, but compare it in a way that makes sense to your kid, then you are able to find a way to communicate efficiently with your kids. By now, you should have a pretty good judgement of what example will compare appropriately for your child. Be brutally honest, if you went through some majorly bad bullying as a kid then you need to express that to your kid if they are suffering from not fitting in or being bullied. You see, when your kid can look into your eyes and see the feelings behind what you are sharing with them, they will trust in you more and eventually it will dawn on them that you do get it.

PicsArt_1366994408138Just Be Honest and Real, Keep Your Home a Safe House so to Speak

All that your kid wants is for you to be real and honest with them. While your kids are not going to know for sure if you are telling them everything about a situation or giving advice based on personal experience for real, they will know that you are being honest with them. Kids just know these things.  Do not make any topic off limits in your home, your kids are suppose to feel as if that home is their safe house. A safe place where they can mention, discuss and communicate anything going on in their world, their minds and with their peers. Never should a kid feel guarded in their own home, that is a setup for lack of communication as well as rebellious behavior. Sure you  may not want your kids to know every single mistake you made, such as getting wasted at a party and making horrible decisions, but if you tell a story or experience in an honest and age appropriate way, your kids will learn to respect you more as well as open up to you  more. They will realize you are a human and a real person, not just their “parent” or an alien from another world.

Keeping communication open with your kids through out all of the hormone changes, life changes and situations with friends is not going to be an easy process. Keeping communication open between you and your kids is going to take a lot of hard work, it’s going to take time each day to listen to them. Even if you are dead tired and would much rather curl into bed for an early nights sleep, do not do it. Take that time to really engage with your kid so that they can see that no matter how tired their parents are, that they are the top priority for their parents. That alone will boost a kids self esteem and encourage open communication in a household.

Organization and Style with Mabel’s Labels #backtoschool

Mabel’s Labels have been a loved brand here at the Happily Blended household, my kids, mostly my organized daughter, enjoys labeling items. I also use name tags for the boys water bottles since they are so close in age they often have the same everything for water bottles, similar clothing, shoes, etc. It’s nice to have a way to label their items for not only school but for home as well.

Celebrate back to school with style when you select the cute tween back to school package from Mabel’s Labels. Style, color and personalized with your child’s name means that they will hopefully never get things lost again. This year my daughter is a tween, as I talk about so frequently online, and she loved her pink and purple labels. Of course, she is a tween and can’t quite decide what she is going to place her labels on just yet, but she loves them just the same.

With Mabel’s Labels new Write Away Labels you can start using their labels to customize snack containers and other such items not only for school but in your kitchen! With stylish colors and many designs to choose from you are sure to see something that works for your style in and out of school. With sports being something two of my three children do, write away labels will work for us this school year to label various sports drinks and snack containers as the kids head off to get fit.

Whatever you may be looking for this Back to School Season, Mabel’s Labels sure has you covered in the labeling department. I know at my kids’ schools they have to hang their coats and backpacks out in a hallway instead of inside of the classroom making it easier to lose track of which student has what. With Mabel’s Labels my kids go to school with me feeling more at ease knowing they are labeled up!

If you are a school contact looking for fundraising ideas, be sure to check out the fundraising ideas page on Mabel’s Labels so they can help you with your school fundraising needs.

I received packages of Mabel’s Labels for review, all opinions are truly my own.

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