It’s the end of Year 7. The first year at secondary school. Surely your tween hasn’t been in high school a year already. Surely they’ve not old enough to be that grown up. But yes they are. And most will have taken their first year at secondary school in their stride. What are the signals that show your tween is growing up.
You don’t know their friends. Because instead of being in a local primary school with 100 kids, the majority of them you know, they’re now in schools of 1000+ children, and if you’re lucky you know some of the ones they’re catching the bus with.
They’ve had or have a girlfriend/boyfriend. It starts so much younger than when I was in school, where Year 8 or 9 was more common. But many friends were getting girlfriends right from the start of Year 7 (if not before). It means that Whatsapp messages are going all the time, or once they’re allowed on Snapchat, that’s pinging all the time. Time to make sure they’re social media savvy, and know what the rules are with using or not using it.
Their phone goes all the time. And they giggle when you make a comment about that’s a lot of chit chat. It’s the girlfriend. So they do actually talk to each other.
They know all about the ins and outs of the local bus service, route and bus drivers. Apart from when we might go on a city break or use a city park and ride, we don’t use the bus. But once children are at secondary school, if they’re not on a school bus, then that usually means the local bus service. Mine seems to recognise his various bus drivers on other buses in town, and knows all the route details. They still might not remember what they had for lunch that day though.
You get app notifications of money being spent on their card while they’re on school trips or at events with food stalls. You know they’ll never go hungry! Usually this is in addition to having a packed lunch. The never-ending hunger of a pre-teen or teen.
They can reason why they need to get up at a certain time in order to fit in everything to get ready for school. There’s no need for us parents to get involved.
You no longer get answers to questions about their day. Instead a grunt, or an okay. Or you have to wait for hours or days until the information emerges, usually on a tangent from another conversation so it feels like you’ve missed something in the conversation.
They’re sensible and trustworthy enough to leave them home alone. We’re lucky in that there’s usually someone on the farm if needed. I only usually leave him if I’m nipping out for a bit, or if he hangs around waiting for a while until the OH’s ready for him to go out with him on the farm. But it’s definitely a sign of growing up.
They’re a lot more aware of adult behaviour, activities and meanings of words and phrases. Nowadays mine knows a lot more that I ever did even at 6th form. He says it’s down to people at school…I think it’s the OH’s bad influence because he finds it all funny.
Height becomes an obsession. Or checking how long they might have before growing past the shortest parent.
How have you noticed your tween is growing up?