How To Fight The Preteen Power Struggle And Still Lose

Photo by Angelica Leicht

So, I feel like I should preface this blog by saying that for the most part, I'm a pretty rational, sane parent.

But there are times -- middle school times -- that I am not rational. Not even a little bit.

And that, my friends, is because middle-school kids are impossible to deal with. They are eye-rolling, mouth-foaming child-demons, who feed on the forgotten dreams of their parents. Oh, and their dramatic attitude? Well, it is parental Kryptonite.

Luckily, they do grow out of it. Middle school ends, and they're back to being a tolerable level of dramatic. However, while they're in that tween-demon phase, and not yet in high school, it is imperative that a parent does everything he or she can to keep the middle-school monster from winning. And that means guerrilla parenting tactics.

That's right. Guerilla parenting. These are the parenting tactics that you won't learn from some rational, adult-level book about how to calm the tween storm. They are the stoop-to-the-same-level-as-your-kid methods, and I'm pretty sure they're not endorsed anywhere by any expert.

However extreme guerrilla tactics may seem to the non-tween parent, I still say they're necessary. And you non-tween parents? Well, chances are you'll probably be digging out this blog one day, when your own shrieking, gnawing banshee all dressed up in Abercrombie is tearing at your soul.

As the mother of a newly-monstrous middle-schooler, I have tried just about every guerrilla tactic to deal with the behavior. I'm passing them along to you, my friends, in case you're fighting your own battle, but be warned. These will only provide a temporary respite because at the end of the day, nothing works.

Not even dishes in the bathtub.

Issue: Tween Laundry
Solution: Tween Laundry Guru

It's an obvious sign that the tween-demon has run out of clean clothing when she emerges from her lair sporting sweat pants that are 12 inches too short paired with a lace top and no socks. It is then that I trudge up the stairs, defeated, to try and dig up some appropriate attire, and always find said clothes shoved under the bathroom cabinets. Some dirty, some clean, and now all in desperate need of a washing.

That under the sink clothing issue has happened all too many times, and I figured that perhaps I'd outsmart the beast by insisting she wash not only her own clothes, but the laundry for the house too. After all, I've been forced to wash clothing that finds its way down to the laundry room while still sporting price tags, so it's only fair.

What actually happened was...well, nothing. She took the laundry demand as a suggestion, and I'm wearing the same jeans two days in a row because tween Pigpen is apparently on laundry room strike.

Issue: Parental Embarrassment
Solution: Find A Way To Be Even More Embarrassing

I'm embarrassing, apparently, because parents are like, the complete definition of uncool when you're an angsty middle-school kid. Therefore my child likes to do stuff like blame her penchant for Justin Bieber's music on me if anyone overhears it.

Case in point? She's jammin' out to Bieber, who I think sucks, and then steps out of the car and yells, "Oh my GAAAAAAWD mom! Why are you even listening to that?" and disappears into school. She's obviously a jerk.

My response? Humpty Hump. Yep, "The Humpty Dance" will work wonders when attempting to really be embarrassing, especially when your mom is the kind of chick who knows all the words to songs like that. Also embarrassing? UGK. I know; I think it's insane too, but there's something about your dorky mom dropping you off while rapping, dancing, and waving that will really prove a point.

This story continues on the next page.

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I'm going to start giving you back attitude. Itll be a mess of attitudes. Also, the dishes in the sink: she probably found some use for them. A fork as a dinglehopper? Thank you, Little Mermaid!

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