How to Handle a Tween Meltdown

So I am happy to report that I survived Christmas, but now it’s puberty trying to take me down. I guess it was right before Thanksgiving when my tween had the mother of all meltdowns and I was so glad because nothing is better than having to deal with a tween meltdown at the same time you are cooking dinner and the boys are having a swordfight in the living room. With maximum drama, my tween admitted she wasn’t happy and that she felt like something was missing. I was forced to abandon dinner, hide the swords from the boys and sit down with her on the floor in her bedroom to figure it all out. In between her gigantic sobs, I was able to ascertain that 90 percent of her meltdown was being caused by two things: hormones and the increased workload of middle school. As for the other 10 percent, five things in particular were bothering her, which are listed below along with my responses, in case you might need them someday:

I’m weird

You aren’t weird, you are fun, wonderfully refreshing, and interesting. Do you remember the other day your friend was here, and she was drinking chocolate milk? Do you remember her telling you that the only way she could drink chocolate milk was to lap it from the cup like a dog? So weird, right? Do you remember how you laughed? Our weirdness is what makes us fun to be around and helps us to relate to one another. I had a friend in college who would run up and down the hallways of our dorm singing a song about chicken patties whenever they were on the menu for lunch. If we aren’t weird we are boring and forgettable, and who wants that? Keep being weird, it’s awesome.

I’m too big

First, you aren’t too big, you’re just really really tall. Second, have you not listened to the lyrics of that Meghan Trainor song? Super skinny girls are actually at a disadvantage because they don’t have any junk in any place, right or wrong, and therefore don’t have anything to shake. I have seen plenty of skinny girls be overlooked for a slightly bigger one with a certain je ne sais quoi, or boom boom as Ms. Trainor puts it. Boys do like a little more booty to hold at night, but what she really means is that boys (or at least the good ones) adore girls who are real, eat food, and know the difference between longitude and latitude. There is so much more to you, or any girl, than your size. Having said that though, you really need to stop with the Nutella.

I don’t have a boyfriend

The reason you don’t have a boyfriend is because you are 11, which is like five but with six years added to it. Why are you in such a rush? Dating sucks. What’s the worse pain you’ve ever experienced? Knee surgery? Multiply that by a hundred million, and that’s how painful dating is. Back when I was dating, a guy who told me he would love me forever plunged his fist through my ribcage, ripped out my heart, and ate it like an apple right in front of me. And I wasn’t the only one–most of my girlfriends can share similar horror stories. Why do you want to do that to yourself before it’s time? Besides, no one knows what they are doing in the sixth grade; it’s all just really awkward and embarrassing. Stay out of it until high school. Or college. Or never.

I don’t have a best friend

Yes you do, she’s just flaky, because she is also 11. Honestly, sometimes I think it’s good not to be tied down to one girl. I had a best friend at your age but I was way too wrapped up in her, and as a result my world was a lot smaller than it should have been. It’s so much better for you to have lots of friends. It’s important that you don’t try too hard, either. You can’t force these things. And lots of times, your best friend will change. My best friend in high school was not my best friend in college, and my best friend now is not the same one I had when I had you. It’s all about attracting what you need at the time you need it. Trust in this–it’s actually a law of the universe and it’s usually correct.

I miss being six

Me too!! Do you know what else I miss? Eleven! And 40! This is such an important lesson for you to learn, and I’m glad you are learning it so early. Life goes by too fast, and there’s nothing we can do about it, so we have to treasure every single day. Hold onto 11 as long as you can, really soak it in, because before you know it you will be 12, and then 20, and then you will have your own kids and wonder what the heck happened as you deal with a tween meltdown, dinner, and a swordfight in the living room all at the same time.

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