Puberty is happening earlier these days and some girls will already have started to develop breasts and have periods before they start Intermediate School. Tweenies is the new label for these 8-12 year olds.
Along with the physical changes come the emotional ones. Tweenies’ moods can change like lighting from being sweet tempered little girls into fiery and sometimes angry young women.
It’s good to remind oneself that it’s not their fault. It’s the hormonal changes and the way their brains are changing during the preteen and teen years which causes these mood swings. When the atmosphere becomes explosive it’s best to stay calm and patient (if you possibly can!) until their mood blows over.
In today’s world Tweenies face many challenges as well as having the good fortune to have access to so much more information and entertainment then our children had.
In Girl Stuff (for Girls aged 8-12) Kaz Cooke has written a guide to help girls through those pre-teen years. It’s a light and amusing read but is full of good information.
Written with the help of medical and other experts it covers body changes, dealing with friends and bullies, getting confident, first periods and pimples and hair . As well as phones and being online, what to eat, being fit and healthy, and how to be happy and content with who you are.
In my experience Tweenies can teach you a lot about how to use Social Media and are patient and generous with their time. But as Grandparents (although marvelling at their expertise) we also need to know about the inherent dangers.
I’m much more aware of these after one of our nieces attempted suicide and had to leave school after her classmates engaged in some extremely nasty bullying. Fortunately she’s fine and doing well again now.
So I found the chapter on Phones, Apps and Being Online especially informative and helpful.
“Some kids use social media and phones to say mean things and to bully other kids. And there are some creepy adults who pretend to be kids online, or to find out where you live so they can rob your house or otherwise do something scary.” writes Kaz Cooke.
She has made a list for Tweenies to give to their parents of 16 important things they need to know about phones, apps and being online.
This should help Tweenies and parents to make good rules together about using social media. And they are useful for Grandparents as well so we can keep our Tweenies safe when they come and stay with us.
As a Grandmother I found this book a really good way to update myself on what my Tweenie granddaughter needs to know about her body and to help her to grow up into a confident young woman. I hope she’ll become resilient enough to stand up for herself and the rights of others who are subjected to the kind of hateful and derogatory remarks made by President Donald Trump recently.
I didn’t hand a copy of Girl Stuff directly to her. I will show it to her Mother first. Mothers know their daughters best and will know when they are ready to read this book. Although this book was written for 8-12 year olds I think quite a few 8 year olds will be too young to start thinking about periods, breasts and hormones; they just want to be kids. While for others it will be just right.
Title: Girl Stuff for girls aged 8-12. Author: Kaz Cooke RRP: $30.00 Imprint: Viking
My eleven year old granddaughter loves Jacqueline Wilson books so I knew this book would be a hit with her.
“Once I start reading one of her books I can’t stop,” she says
Clover Moon, the heroine, is a spunky girl who lives in a grimy backstreet in Victorian London. Instead of going to school she has to look after her six younger siblings. Through no fault of her own she frequently incurs the wrath of her cruel stepmother Mildred who physically abuses her.
Her only friend is a kind old doll maker called Mr Dolly. He welcomes her into his shop and is teaching her his craft. One day a rich gentleman called Mr Rivers comes into the shop to buy a very expensive doll for his daughter. When he notices the deep cut on Clover’s head he tells her about a place for girls run by a caring lady called Sarah Smith who could help her.
After her beloved younger sister Meg, to whom she was devoted, dies of scarlet fever Clover Moon’s life becomes so intolerable that she takes his advice and runs away from home.
She somehow manages to find her way to Sarah Smith’s Home for Girls but eventually Mildred tracks her down and comes after her. Clover Moon now needs to think of another way to escape from her wicked stepmother.
At the end of the book Jacqueline Wilson has included some background notes about the harsh conditions suffered by many children in Victorian England. Many experienced cruelty and neglect from uncaring and desperate parents, were forced to work long hours, or left to beg in the streets often starving and in need of medical attention.
There were a few kind and concerned people like Sarah Smith who established homes for them and lobbied for the rights of children. But it wasn’t until 1889 that the Prevention of Cruelty to Children Act was passed (more than 50 years after the first law to prevent cruelty to animals)
My Tweenie granddaughter liked the historical setting and was soon engrossed in this exciting tale with its many twists and turns. She really admired Clover Moon’s courage and perseverance.
The best kind of children’s’ books are ones that adults can enjoy as well. I also found Clover Moon a riveting summer read.
Title: Clover Moon Author: Jacqueline Wilson RRP $35 Imprint Doubleday
By, Lyn Potter