Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Tween Walks Alone

This was Cinderella for a good majority of our vacation last week.
Moody. Pouty. Isolating herself from us.

Makes for a great picture, no?


Maternal Mirth said...

12, I ask. ??? 12. That sooooo LOOKS 12.

I know... I *was* 12 once. Now I have an 11YO. *That* makes me an expert.

Crys said...

He he, I remember being that age. Excellent photo!

stepping over the junk said...

I was totally like that on vacation with my parents. I was plugged into my walkman (it was the 80s) the entire time.

Wicked Stepmom said...

MM - You are dead on! Dearest stepdaughter just turned 12 - though her moodiness has been around for the last 2 yrs. But it really comes on strong when she is called a "Tween" b/c apparently it's way different than her preferred label of "pre-teen."


A said...

I'm not sure of your stance on this post here, and from reading this blog I can tell you are trying to rationally deal with being a stepmother, but I think this is a little degrading and disrespectful to your stepdaughter.

I'll try to make this short:

I lost my mother to insanity at age five, just on the verge of starting kindergarten. I have four older full-siblings. My mom was stay at home, considering my still young age and the special needs of one of my brothers. As you would expect from any child that young, I was very close to my mother. I spent all day with her. She was my best friend. I had a little play shopping cart we would take to the grocery store, and she would fill it up with all the produce I could manage to push. My parent's divorce was a direct result of her mental illness. Living conditions with her increasingly deteriorated to the point where I was not noticed, fed, or bathed when I was visiting her. During one of her hospitalizations, she tried to escape and looked right at me as she ran for the front door. She also ran right past me.

My father remarried when I was seven. I then got two older step-siblings. When I was twelve, I hung my head just like your step-daughter. I was angry, depressed, and anxious. I never felt liked by my step-mother. She came home from work stressed and yelled at me and my siblings. She pushed me to the floor one afternoon, and I think that day would have gotten much worse if her own daughter had not pulled her aside into a separate room and closed the door. I don't know what was said in there, but I'm grateful to my step-sister everyday for saving me from another traumatic experience.

The point of me telling you this is that I think your step-daughter is trying to grieve. That's the same look I had on my face. I was angry at my father, too, because I felt like he sided with my step-mother against me. When we enter our tweens, we begin to develop new cognitive abilities that we didn't have as children. We start to analyze and reflect. I was looking back on my child self, emerging into a young adult, and I felt I was alienated in my own house.

I'm twenty-three now and on my last semester of college. My dad has been giving me financial support for me the whole time because he is my father and wants me to do well in school. Because of this, helping me is a non-issue for him. I have also worked part-time since I was fourteen. However, his support has a record of not coming on time because my step-mother insists on controlling the purse. I've stepped up to be more vocal in this complaint, and it all came out this afternoon. My step-mother called me, belligerent, because "her husband" "yelled" at her "because his little girl didn't get her check." I hung up on her.

I was diagnosed with PTSD two years ago. My psychiatrist traced this backed to the traumas of my childhood -- the loss of my mother and the alienation within my family. I'm doing much better now, and my father is more understanding of my emotional difficulties. Please, I'm begging you, don't mock this moodiness. Cinderella may actually be having a very rough time. One day, when I was sixteen, I approached my father to talk about problems I was having. He wanted my step-mother to be in on the discussion. It became a failure-fest. She yelled at me for my problems, and on that day, I felt I couldn't approach my parents about anything, and I needed help.

Wicked Stepmom said...

Dear "A" -

Thank you for your post and sharing your story. Cinderella is actually a very joyful and exuberant child. The moodiness in the picture was the result of having to wear her sun hat and battle again the ocean breeze (she has fair skin and skin cancer runs in her Mom's side). It lasted for a total of 5 minutes before she was once again running, laughing and playing with her siblings.

It's true all stepkids go through some kind of grieving process when their parents divorce. Cinderella's parents have been divorced now for 9 yrs, and she has little or no memories of her life without me in it. I am certain that the moodiness she is experiencing is mostly due to her age and the hormones wreaking havoc on her emotions.

That being said, we are also mindful of what she has been through and offer her as much comfort and understanding as we can, and make sure we are ALWAYS there when she needs to talk.

*hugs* to you and I wish you all the best in your recovery.

me said...

Great shot!