Parenting the Tween

Garbanzo often jokes to others that the calls from the principal go to me, not him.  Because, in his opinion, chances are, the kids did something that was my fault.

This comment usually makes me people laugh. G teaches down the hall from the principal’s office. He has a great relationship with the guy – running his and our kids’ school. Of course the principal isn’t going to call me – he’s going to pull him aside between classes and talk to him.

But, G is serious.

For good reason, probably.

DJ has hit puberty. She and I have had many of the talks you have to have when they start down this path. How babies are made, changes to her body, why showering and hygiene in general becomes important, etc. My mom made this a big deal – and not in the way that encourages ongoing communications. And not one, that in hindsight, gave me a lot of info about what I was truly going to go through, so each stage was a new and exciting surprise.  (Read that as sarcastic as I intended it.)  I do not want that for her. Puberty does enough to a kid – isolating them from the person with answers is not something that will help, in my opinion. Plus, she’ll have many reasons in the future to reject me. Why give her reasons out of the gate.

So, conversations will go like this in our house:

“DJ, you need to wear an undershirt when wearing your martial arts uniform.”
“When you bend over, everyone gets a clear view of the girls.”
“The girls?”
“You know” as I point to my own chest, “the girls”
At this point she’s laughing, and replies with “They aren’t girls”
“Yours aren’t girls? Then are they boys?”
At this point she’s laughing so hard she can’t even stand up straight.
“Just wear an undershirt or a bra, okay?”
“Ok, Moe.”


“DJ, did you lose your deodorant?”
“Don’t I smell lovely, Moe?”
“No, you stink.”
“But I like how I smell – smell me.”
“DJ, you know your dad keeps deodorant in his desk right?”
“It’s for the stinky kids. Do you want to be one of those kids who gets handed deodorant in class.”
“But I smell lovely. The boys will stay away.”
“Right now, it sounds like a good idea – but trust me, you don’t want that embarrassment.”
“Ok, I’ll go put some on – and won’t smell as lovely.”


“Indigo doesn’t know the words to ‘Baby Got Back’. It’s so funny.”
DJ to prove to me sings the part that ends with “I get sprung…”
“Do you even know what you are singing about?”
“Uhm….I think so….”
“Are you sure?”
“What’s that sprung part mean?”
“It’s about sex…are you sure you want to know?”
She looks at me with a smirk on her face, “I kinda do.”
So using a hand gesture, I explained it.
“Think of that next time you sing that song.”

The next day, she said something to G about who knows what. G’s response: “But do you get sprung?”

As I told G, I like the fact she’ll ask. I like the fact she isn’t embarrassed about her curiosity. And I like the fact she’s pretty open with us when something doesn’t make sense to her. I want it to continue. Because I have seen what this relationship with kids can do when they are older – makes conversations easier as there is already a dialog established. I like that.

But, G is probably right. My openness may lead to her explaining these things to a friend. And I’m sure I will be lucky that the friend’s parents will take offense to my daughter’s explanation of things.

And if that happens, I’m sure I’ll get the call from the Principal.
I guess I’m glad we’re friends.
And I do hope it will be a good story.

11 Comments Add yours

  1. Another parent raising children who will grow to adulthood emotionally healthy. Keep up what you are doing although it will mean one less client for us therapist

  2. If she tells a friend something at least it’ll be the correct information. 🙂
    I was laughing at the deodorant conversation. Too funny.

  3. Wow. I wish you were my parents. I only had my mother and older brothers to look too when i was going through puberty. Not such a good things for me but still i turned out well. I am glad that DJ is open to ask you question and understand better about the future changes! Keep it up MOE!

  4. Advizor says:

    Good work. My mom gave me a book about the evils of sex that her friend’s church published which ended up being my main yank bank as a kid. Kind of backfired. My dad never had any of “the talks” and the nigh before I got married, my mom told me to be “gentle.”

    My daughter is hitting puberty and we are in full and open discussion mode. We’ve never been a “lock the door and hide’ kind of family, so we talk about everything, usually over the dinner table to our kids chagrin. I’m a firm believer in taking the mystery out of it. Curiosity killed the cat, remember?

    Keep up the good work

  5. Sa says:

    I like the way you parent: my mother scared the bejesus out of me at nine by telling me EVERYTHING in a very scientific way, explaining AIDS, crabs etc. BEcause at 12 I would hate her and not listen to her.

    I swear, she scared me into abstinence for years. Well played, Mums 🙂

  6. Just me... says:

    My mother only explained it when she had to.. She had just given birth to my brother.. I was 9..
    And she giggled nervously through the whole thing!!
    Hope I do better when DD and I have our first real talk about sex.. Right now she’s still wrapping her mind around the fact that she’s gonna grow ‘tootie’ hair!! :):)

  7. I think you are doing a fine job. I have the boy end of the spectrum so it will be interesting to see what develops.

  8. Vixen says:

    I had similar ‘non’ conversations with my mother and am hoping to NOT have that type of relationship with my daughter.

    Love this. 🙂

  9. Thats awesome on many fronts from the girls, to sir mix a lot, to how great it is, shes comfortable with her curiosity. That post put a smile on my face.


  10. Maggie says:

    I should bookmark all of your parenting posts for future reference. I was raised similar to you but thankfully had that liberal northeaster sex education with a heaping dose of “find out the correct info for myself.” Teacher was raised to believe that all girls will give him diseases if he even talks to them. We’ve had some work to do. 🙂 Thank you for doing this, I’m sure your girls will really fully appreciate it someday.

  11. Ms Scarlett says:

    O-M-G … But do you get sprung?

    Bwa-hahahahahaaaaaa…. I’m laughing so hard I’m crying….


What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.