There’s no denying that children are growing up faster these days, and as the mother of an almost eight year old girl I am well aware of that fact. At her age, I was climbing trees in the park and playing with my Sindy dolls, but my daughter is more into One Direction and painting her nails. Anything princess or fairy related has been pronounced “babyish” and her main concern is how many friends she will be allowed to have for a birthday sleepover. Being the parent of a girl at this in between age is tricky, but for marketing departments the tweenager is a hugely attractive prospect.
With girls, it’s all about being part of the crowd and fitting in. My older son doesn’t care about what he wears and would happily wear the same t-shirt for a month, but my tweenage daughter is much more interested in what she is wearing and more importantly, what other people are wearing. She wants to be the same as all of her friends, and this can cost parents dearly. You could almost see the rolling eyes at the school gates on the last non-uniform day when a girl turned up in an expensive pair of Converse boots as everyone knew that all the rest of the girls would be demanding a pair when they got home.
Obviously how much freedom to give a tweenage girl will depend on a wide range of factors, but I personally feel that it is a good idea to start giving girls of this age a little bit of freedom and responsibility. We’ve started letting her walk along the road to her friend’s house, and run small errands to the local shop. This helps her feel very grown-up and important, and stops her pushing for more freedoms than we are comfortable with giving her just yet. Luckily most of her friends’ parents are on the same wavelength as we are, so we haven’t had the tantrums because everyone else’s parents apparently let them do anything they like.
Products and Trends
The other defining factor of the tweenage girl is that she will pick up on any little trend and become obsessed with it. Last term at school they were all going mad for those diablo toys, and before the summer holidays she begged me for a little plastic egg toy filled with goo and a plastic alien baby, just because they were the latest must-have item. Marketers are well aware of this and there is a huge range of brands and products aimed at our tweens. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, and it certain means that when your daughter is invited to a party there is a massive range of gifts for tween girls to choose from. Always consult your daughter though, as no-one is as tuned into what the coolest gifts for tween girls are than she is. More than anything though, enjoy the tweenage years when your daughter is still a little girl, because the dreaded teens are just around the corner.
The truth is that these days there probably is a fairly recognisable group of young people who are in an inbetween phase. Kids try to grow up quicker now which has led to the new phenomenon of the tweenager.
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Morag Peers is a keen writer and is the mother of three children. She has a great insight into the trials and tribulations of the tweenager.