Turns Out, Girls Really CAN Turn on a Dime

Sooooo….

Let’s talk about raising girls for a moment.

Specifically, let’s talk about girls who are pre-teens whose hormones are already out of whack enough that they lose their temper.

Even more specifically, let’s talk about girls who are pre-teens whose hormones are already out of whack enough that they lose their temper if their younger brother offers to do something nice.

Raise your hand if just such a girl currently lives in your house!

*Jaynee raises her hand*

I taught CootieBoy an important lesson last night. The lesson was this:

If you are talking to a girl and she suddenly turns on you and begins yelling at you even though you’ve done nothing wrong, just turn and walk away until she calms down. Don’t engage her at all. Just shut it down by walking away.

It has been coming on slowly, this puberty slash adolescent thing. I took the kids to the pediatrician last week and the doc said on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being pretty much done with puberty, CG is at a 2. Which basically means we’re nearly at the worst part when it comes to sarcasm, attitude, and temper tantrums that rival that of any two year old you present to me.

Yes, Mom, your wish came true. I have a mini-me in the house so that I can see what it was like. Thanks.

A rare moment of kinship.
A rare moment of kinship.

Three incidents have taken place in the past week – A WEEK – that prove that the worst is yet to come. The girl is turning 10 in two weeks. We have several more years of this!

Incident #1: Planning the birthday sleepover. I told CG it was time to make the invitation to her birthday sleepover, and she said she wanted to do it online. I found a cute party invitation template and built a sample invite to show her. She immediately burst into melodramatic tears, yelled that it was ugly and NOT what she wanted AT ALL, and that she wanted to do it herself.

Um. Okay. I left the house to go somewhere and told her when I came back I wanted to see what she had come up with. When I got home, she had simply typed up a paragraph in Word, leaving out some vital information (the RSVP), and called it good. Inwardly cringing at the mere idea of sending out such an invite, I told her to print five copies to give to the girls at school.

Incident #2: Handing out the birthday sleepover invitations. It just so happens that CootieBoy is in the same class as one of the girls that CG wanted to invite. When he heard her say her name when listing off the invitees, he said he’d be okay with taking it to school and giving it to the girl on CG’s behalf. You’d have thought he just announced that he was planning on taking scissors to her entire Pokemon card collection, but out of nowhere she began screaming at him, demanding that he “get away” from her (they were both sitting on the sofa), that he was being mean, and that she didn’t like him AT ALL. I said, “CG, he’s not being mean! He’s offering to help you pass out your invitations since he’s in the same class as your friend!” She was immediately ticked off that I joined the conversation and began wailing and crying copious tears.

Incident #3: Apologizing for being mean. A couple nights later, CG realized she was being mean to CB, and wrote a card of apology to him. She put it in an envelope with his name written on the front. She came into CB’s room and handed it to him as he was getting ready for bed. After she left, he ripped open the envelope and read the following:

“I know that I was wrong. Will you forgive me? Check the box: [ ] Yes [ ] No

Sweet, right? CB found a pencil and quickly put a checkmark by “Yes.”

All’s well that ends well.

Yeah, sure. What dream world are YOU living in?

CG walked in and saw the ripped envelope on CB’s bed and shrieked, “YOU RIPPED THE ENVELOPE? BUT I WANTED THAT BACK!” As she stomped out of the room, I said, “That’s not how it works. When you put a card in an envelope and give it to someone, that card AND envelope becomes theirs. After all, what do you do when YOU get a card in the mail? You rip open the envelope! You didn’t tell CB you wanted him to save the envelope, so how could he have known? You can’t get mad at him when he didn’t know you planned on saving the envelope to use again!”

She stormed into her room and collapsed on her bed in a mass of tears and cries, lamenting the ripped envelope that she’d never be able to use again.

And that, my friends, is when I told CB the important lesson at the beginning of this post. Because it’s the lesson I’ve learned over the past week. And it only took me almost-43 years to learn the lesson.

You see, when I get in an argument, I argue to prove I’m right, and I’m like a bulldog – I will NOT let it go until I “win” the argument. Denis can attest to this fact. He HATES it when we fight because he wants to walk away and cool down, and I won’t let him. I follow after him continue to point out why I’m right and he’s wrong. It’s terrible, and I know it.

The Girl, minus the hissy fit face.
The Girl, minus the hissy fit face.

This past week with CG has taught me very quickly that when your pre-teen daughter loses her temper, other than a brief response to explain your side, it’s best to then let it go until the pre-teen tantrumee calms down. With the second incident above, she clearly came to her own realization that she had acted in the wrong with CB, and attempted to apologize. But then CB had the nerve to rip the envelope (a phrase which I’m determined to forever be code in our house for something).

We’re wading into tricky waters here with The Girl. And while for the most part she and I have a good relationship, I know I need to tread carefully here. I want to be firm, but loving. Empathetic, but with expectations. A listener, but a guide. Encouraging, but not a doormat. Hopefully we’ll both come out winners in the end.

But for now, one quote comes to mind from a movie that she and I recently watched together: “Let the Hunger Games begin, and may the odds be ever in your favor!”

My Signature

If you liked that post, read on...

Quick Update on June 17th, 2009

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The New Tactic on July 7th, 2008

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