Slimming World Recipe Share Hangout #1

I have a 10 year old daughter, a tween. A pre-inbetweener! Not quite a teen, not quite a little girl.

She wants more freedom, to be able to do things on her own and the autonomy to make some decisions for herself, and as a supportive mum I want all that for her too- but my old head on my old shoulders also knows that there are some things she cannot yet handle, even though she feels differently!

I’m working with her in stages. I’m loosening the reins a little, bit by bit and letting her develop confidence when she does something ‘grown up’ by herself. This gives her the motivation to do a little more. It started when I let her walk to school ahead of me and her brother- she was in sight distance but to all onlookers, she was ‘alone’. It made her feel mature. Then, after she proved that she could be trusted to stop and look at every road crossing, and keep her wits about her, I let her walk even further in advance, so I couldn’t see her but I was a few minutes behind. Once we’d had many successful occasions where she’d been waiting for me at the school gates, and she hadn’t been run over or approached by strangers, I felt better about letting her out of my sight on other occasions too. In the supermarket, I’d let her wander round the clothing whilst I did the shop, trusting her to stay in that section and not to walk off. She gets the freedom she craves, I get the knowledge that I’m helping her grow her skills and a more streetwise awareness that she will need in her teenage years.

We recently had a family break to Butlins where I was able to manage the next stage of her ‘transition’. She’d done the short walks and brief supermarket trips with some alone time, but nothing like this. We went with another family so she had her best friend with her, and over the weekend, my friend (the other Mum and I) let the girls go off to the fairground on their own, or onto the slot machines in the Skyline Pavillion. It was our version of the thing that our parents used to say to us “Come in when it gets dark”. Nowadays we wouldn’t dream of being so vague with our children, but on this weekend I was able to give my daughter a little more leeway, because I felt that the Butlins environment was a safe one to experiment in.

Here is a vlog that I recorded about her ‘tween freedom’. I recorded this in the newly refurbished Butlins Bognor Regis fairground… (Sorry about the wind noise – the weather I mean, not me!)

I think the feeling of safety and family friendliness that I get from Butlins comes from a fond childhood memory of a trip to Butlins. Have a look at this new video about the fairground that I visited in Bognor, including some retro footage with the Queen’s visit to Butlin’s and Billy Butlin himself!

Butlins certainly has brought traditional family fun into the 21st century with this newly re-furbished fairground. They even consulted with an actual ‘Professor of Fairgrounds’ Vanessa Toulmin from the University of Sheffield (and yes- that’s her real title!) when they were developing how the Bognor fairground should be.

We certainly enjoyed the fun of the fair, and my tween enjoyed her taste of freedom!

Tagged with: Butlins • • Tween •

4 Responses to My Tween Wants Freedom…

  1. It’s great to gradually give your kids that bit of freedom – my son loves to go places on his own. Yesterday I let my younger son (9) and 7yo daughter walk around Sainsburys on their own with a shopping list – they banished me to the front of the store with my purse ready to pay when they were finished! They loved the freedom and they did a good job because they’d been given a bit of responsibility.

  2. Nadine says:

    Thanks for commenting Sarah. I completely agree- kids won’t learn to be streetwise if we don’t loosen the reigns a bit! I’ll have to try the supermarket with a shopping list trick. I wonder if my son would end up just buying chocolate!!

  3. Well done to both of you – it’s not easy letting go!

  4. Nadine says:

    Thanks Izzie – no, it’s not!


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