Rachael Rachael, a mom of two daughters, is a freelance editor and writer who enjoys gardening and dreams of keeping chickens in her suburban St. Louis backyard. In her spare time, she helps to edit her husband’s science fiction books. Read more of Rachael's work at www.rachaelsjohnston.com or contact her by emailing rachael@mumblingmommy.com.

I’m a parent of a tween, and life is pretty good right now. We have our moments of drama, pouting, huffing, sighing, and foot stomping, but there also are so many good things about parenting a kid between the ages of 9 and 12. It’s a time of increasing independence, and I enjoy watching my child learn to do so many things.

Sometimes I miss the baby days with their sweet snuggles and cute tiny outfits, and baby and toddler behavior issues were much easier to deal with than tween moodiness. Yet I also remember those early days and years of exhaustion and the frenzied need to baby-proof everything. Those were the years when trips to the local park meant I had to shadow my little one everywhere on the play structures.

I’m glad for the good memories from those baby years, and I’m happy where we’re at now.

Here are just a few things that are nice when your kids get a little bigger:

They can swim in the pool without me having to get in with them.

They can buckle and unbuckle themselves in the car.

The music in the car no longer consists only of Barney.

They don’t require lots of gear to leave the house, and diaper bags are a thing of the past.

They can pour their own cereal for breakfast.

They can pour their own juice.

They can reach the freezer to get their own ice for their own drinks.

They can make scrambled eggs if I turn on the stove.

They can cook frozen burritos in the microwave.

They can load the dishwasher.

They can make their beds, with a little assistance needed sometimes.

They can do laundry and put it away.

They can scrub toilets and showers.

They can wash the car, except for the top.

They don’t cry during long road trips.

They can answer the phone.

They engage in interesting, meaningful conversations with me.

They can walk long distances.

They can ride roller coasters without me.

They can order their own food at restaurants.

I can read a book while they play on the playground at the park.

They watch movies like Singin’ in the Rain with me.

I can take them to late night live theater productions of shows like Newsies and The Music Man.

They enjoy geeky stuff like Star Wars and Star Trek.

I can introduce them to Anne of Green Gables and Jane Eyre.

They can sit through a concert at the symphony, a play, or a movie at the theater.

They can learn to play musical instruments.

They pick their own books at the library.

They like to stay up late reading chapter books.

They can brush their own teeth.

They can wipe their own bottoms.

They can bathe themselves.

They don’t make as many toy messes.

I don’t have to keep up the Santa, Easter Bunny, and Tooth Fairy acts for them.

They like to be Santa’s helpers and keep the magic alive for younger siblings on Christmas.

They just ask for money directly when they lose teeth, so I don’t have to sneak in the dark playing Tooth Fairy.

They can go for bike rides with me around the neighborhood.

They help younger siblings get dressed, comb their hair, and brush their teeth.

They can feed the cat and scoop the litter box.

They can rake leaves.

They can shovel snow.

They can operate a camera when you need someone to take a picture.

They begin to offer a glimpse of the beautiful friend they will be to their parents when they are grown.


Yes, the good things outweigh the challenges we have faced during this time. Here’s to many more good years.


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Category: Featured

Tags: independent kids