Posted: Jan 11, 2013 7:00 AM
If your tween is flexing her independence in ways that make you yearn for that girl who adored all things princess and made you the center of her universe, take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Although she needs to learn and explore on her own, there are still a few things she will always want to do with her mommy.

Your 11-year-old is most definitely finished with any and all remnants of that girl who used to clasp your hand as the two of you sat on a loveseat watching Cinderella, while she was outfitted in her princess best and you sipped pretend tea out of a pink teacup. Much to your chagrin, your daughter is beginning to flex her independence in ways that make you yearn for that girl for whom you were the center of her very small universe. And although you know she needs to learn and explore, here are a few tips to help you deal with her maturation and five activities she will hopefully always want to do with you, her mommy.

Tips to deal with your mom growing pains

Be present

Your tween daughter needs to flex her voice and opinion without fear of repercussion. She needs to feel validated by you, regardless of whether or not you agree with her. Remember to be present and become a really good listener. If your daughter feels you are a good sounding board for her inane girlfriend drama, when more important issues like sex and drugs crop up, she will feel comfortable sharing her feelings with you.

Encourage her

Your tween is smack dab in the middle of attempting to navigate a world full of social pressures you could never even conceive of having to muddle through at her age. Remind her that she has the tools to excel and that she needs to tell any of those nagging obtrusive I can't do it thoughts to take a hike!

She will always be your little girl when it counts.

Keep your arms outstretched and open for her so when she needs them she will retreat into your embrace and in that one brief moment in time she will be that little girl you held.

Unfortunately now that your daughter is a tween, in addition to asserting her independence, spending quality time with her mother is not high on her list of priorities. In fact, you're lucky if your questions about how her day at school went illicit more than a two-word reply. But don't give up on your girl just yet. There are still a couple of things she will always want to do with her mom.

Five bonding activities for tweens and their moms

  1. Mani-pedis

    There is no girl on this planet that will pass up an opportunity to get some pretty polish and a deep skin tissue massage, even if their mom comes along for the ride. Remember to let your daughter pick out the nail polish color she wants (even though you abhor neon green). And while you're both getting your feet scraped, use that quiet time to just be together.

  2. Take a drive

    Your tween probably has more of a social life than you do at this point, but rather than balk at all the driving you do, use that car time as an opportunity to bond. Let her bring her favorite CD in the car and learn the lyrics of her favorite songs. As long as you promise not to sing them when her friends are in the car — she'll be tickled that you care enough to appreciate her musical interests.

  3. Enroll in a fitness class

    Try a belly dancing or Zumba class. The bottom line is any kind of workout which incorporates music will provide a perfect venue for mothers and their daughters to let loose, exercise and bond in a super fun environment. For instance in a 1-hour belly dance class the two of you can burn calories, tone muscles,  strap on fancy hip scarves and enjoy an exotic workout.

  4. Go shopping

    Let's face it, tween girls are major consumerists, as they are in the midst of carving out their personal sense of style. So every accessory, book and shiny bauble is another opportunity for them to gauge how this product will complement their sense of self and fit into the person they ultimately want to be. As a mom these shopping excursions are an ideal way to get inside the mind of your teen, minus the crowbar prying questions. It's a chance for you to go along for the ride. And who knows, maybe your opinion might even get a little consideration!

  5. Get busy in the kitchen

    Whether you are a full blown chef, or a novice, when it comes to whipping up a gourmet meal, spending time chopping, dicing and creating culinary treats provides ample opportunity for the two of you to be engaged in a joint task working towards a common goal. Getting busy in the kitchen lends itself to organic conversation which may start with, "How finely do these carrots need to be chopped?" Followed by, "Mommy, you will never believe what happened to me yesterday..."

Share With us!^ So what kinds of activities do you and your tween daughter do together?

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