Dear Parenting 911: I have a 8-year-old daughter who just started 3rd grade. She has suddenly become MORE than independent. Ever since she started school — I have been allowed to pick her outfits — do her hair — and help with all other “School preparations” — now suddenly I am no longer invited or even allowed to HELP. I am not only perplexed by her sudden HATRED for my “awful taste”, in everything from hairstyles to clothing choices but I must admit I am slightly hurt — and feel almost angered at the way she speaks to me in the morning, and how long it takes her to “GET READY – On her own.” I am now always late to bring her to school — thus making me late to work. I feel like I have completely lost CONTROL of our super on point schedule. I understand she’s growing up — but I feel it is too fast…… I also don’t know how to make it work without letting her go to school looking like a “ragamuffin”??????????? Please help!!!!!!!!

Gone are these days
Gone are these days

Sincerely: Double espresso and top it off please….

Dear: Double Espresso with a Zanax froth

Oh the Blessed age of INDEPENDANCE — stings like hell doesn’t it? One thing I’ve learned personally the past two school years — is that the statement “pick your battles” — was going to become a mantra, and not so much an old saying. That being said, I have shared in your frustration — as many parents have, and have devised a few methods to — Mastering Mommy’s Morning Madness.

First I have shared in the brutal battles of the bed-head – Head-butt, and lost. However: regaining CONTROL of a tweenster’s lackadaisical approach to a timely morning  routine is NOT an option — but instead it is an absolute MUST. As moms we run around day after day, sunup to sundown — driving, working, cleaning, cooking, and EVERYTHING else under the sun. WE DON’T HAVE TIME for pre-pubescent, adolescent, a.m. arguments. Our job description requires us to obtain and secure our prided and punctual routines. Therefore we must figure out a way to regain control —  without stunting her —natural, born-to-bewilder, phases of independence.

A do-it-herself attitude is fine……

  1. In moderation.
  2. When accompanied by a proper respectful attitude.
  3. The terms can be agreed upon — without either one of you completely caving. Balance is key here. She must feel heard, recognized, and that her opinions and choices to “grow up” are okay and valid.
  4. ALWAYS be two steps ahead of your opponent — Jedi-mom-tricks apply here.

ORGANIZATION is always the first step to any battle won with integrity. So be prepared and plan well. TALK FIRST — sit down and explain why her morning “tude” is not only unwelcome — but also will not score her any “growing-up points” — those are a tweenagers version of a sticker chart.

Ask her what is the hardest part about her morning routine — what does she have the most difficulty doing alone? Offer her a few options to assist in that process. She will undoubtedly in true tweenager fashion resist any idea’s you may conjure — so use that to your advantage. (Enter Jedi-mom-trick #1) Tell her matter of factly that You are sure she would NEVER want her own “get ready area” or “vanity / mirrored corner” and that she is probably to young for that anyway. (Wait and watch for her response — as her eyes light up at the thought of having something “to old for her age — and CLEARLY against “your better judgement”.)

Now that you have her attention — offer the “too old for her get ready area” as a reward for proper morning behavior. Respect, and coöperation with a time limit — perhaps a self timer set for a predetermined amount of time, will assist in making that happen.

Get ready area
Get ready area




organize3 storage bins







Next it’s on to the white hair welcoming “dress-thyself-theatrics” — every great tweenager knows that the way to a mothers boiling point, is through her tantrum throwing “I HATE EVERYTHING, IT’S ALL UGLY, THE KIDS MAKE FUN OF ME” B.S.

My solution visit the mix and match area’s of the stores — and find clothing that can be paired up — both in color’s styles, and prints.




Also when organizing try to code everything by day of the week, giving three options per day — and also factor in weather. An organizational tool similar to this but coded by weekday name — and then even seasons, if you’re really a go-getter — is a great tool.

mon tues order







I also recommend taking a photo of her in each outfit “that she likes” and print the pics of her ensembles out — attach them to a poster board by her closet — it will help assist her in what looks good together and what does not.

girl posing


Her bathing/showering ritual should also be organized — by getting something like a carrying case with drain holes, she is able to put “HER” personal supplies in one place and feel they are “private” — it also helps keep them fully organized. No more spilling, soured smelling scrubbies, or unused soap — you are able to keep track of her usage simply by picking up the bottle.

Personal Bath & Shower
Personal Bath & Shower








When doing her hair and morning routine having her things organized is the easiest and best way to make for a quick and easy OUT THE DOOR NOT ON THE FLOOR routine. Some of these idea’s are great and hopefully will help give you incentive, as well as cheap ways– to give her options and keep a cool head, by avoiding a mess and chaos.

organizing girls







Above All Don’t give up — the battle is just beginning — COOLER HEADS     paired with Jedi-mom-tricks — WILL PREVAIL. I recommend that you keep in mind — this is your first go at being a tween girls mom — so learn it together……It won’t always be easy, but by maintaining mutual respect and understanding — it will be a successful venture into an incredible relationship — AS YOU GROW AND LEARN TOGETHER…..

Sincerely: Heather Cornell of Parenting 911




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