Woo HOO am I glad to see this thread! My eldest (boy) will be 11 at the End of November. He's been a pre-teen for a year with his attitude! But he also has this amazing ability to take responsibility for himself when I'm not looking
My other two kids are 4 and 1...quite a difference.
J, my eldest, is really a great boy, but I'm having a really hard time relating to him lately. I don't know if it is because I have 2 younger children with such different needs, or if this is just a hard age. He's into video games, comic books and maniacal wrestling games (not WWW but just general intense physical play that I never really experienced as a kid). He goes on and on and on about the intricacies of his video games and wants to tell me his new discoveries. I've always heard if I don't listen to them tell me about "nothing" (or what I'm not interested in) they won't ever tell me "something" So I listen. But just as quickly I'm "annoying" to him. The other day after a particularly frustrating morning he told me "every word you say makes me want to scream!" I remember my mom having that affect on me
My biggest issue is letting go of the control of what he puts into his body and when as far as food goes. He loves to cook, he loves to eat, and mostly he'd prefer to eat what he chooses (fine). But he's not always making the best choices and this affects his mood and temperment and then the entire family must deal with a moody, ill-fed boy. Grrrr!
Oh and there are the phone calls from friends (he wants to call over and over and over to "see if they are home yet!", and the internet/MSN usage, and he wants to go to the skate park unacompanied with friends...these are other issues we're encountering.
We're a very unschooling type family...but there are times when we need cooperation and when we don't get it, and we (as parents) don't let go, that is when we have our struggles. But really....how much freedom can a nearly 11 year old have!!??
Anyway, that is where I am in a very rough nutshell. I hope to hear the wisdom of those who have btdt and from those in the midst.
Take care all and I look forward to hearing about what is going on with you and your pre-teens!