It will come to pass, ye parents of sweet elementary-school age children. Your kids will become tweens. I guarantee you will not be ready for the transition. I’ve been writing about parenting for most of my children's lives. I was not prepared for my daughter to turn 11 or my son to turn 13.

There are other changes to be had than just voices and hair growth. There’s a renegotiation of the parent-child dynamic. Personally, I made it through the first 10 years as a parent pretty seamlessly. I was a good mother, but I was not necessarily their "friend." They countered that with great behavior in public — no tantrums, ever — and a respectful tone. And not unlike how smug I felt when I had toddlers eating broccoli by request, I got a bit cocky. But now? I’m ready to concede that I’m hopelessly lost in the new navigation of tweens. 

Unless you are a middle school teacher, you’re not really ready for tweens. They’ve learned curse words. They make non-dirty words somehow "naughty." They giggle way too much about everything. They used to love school, and now they love hanging with their friends.

I bow down to all middle school teachers that I ever misjudged. So here are some preliminary suggestions on how to make it through your children's tween years.

1. It’s Not You, It’s Them

That 10 years you spent teaching them and guiding them? You did good, Mom. But your good lessons are going to be tested and there’s nothing you can do about it. Relax. Start thinking of appropriate punishments, and try not to scream more than necessary.

2. Have the Sex Talk

Because if you haven’t, you need to immediately. If your tween boys are giggling when someone says "condiment" because it sounds like "condom?" It’s time to sit them down. Tell them how you feel about sex, explain what it is, and explain what they can expect to come up in conversations at school. Kids share information with their friends. They’re all coming at their new hormones with partial information from their homes — it’s kinda like a pot luck. Some kids are bringing main dishes that can nourish the whole group, and some are bringing a half-eaten bag of potato chips. Be willing to be a main dish parent.

3. Lie

I know I just said the exact opposite above, but don’t be an oversharer. My daughter came home from school one day disgusted and told me that students at recess had gathered around one tween who told them that grownups put horrible things with their mouths. My daughter looked horrified. I told her I’d never heard of such a thing. She looked relieved. And I thought about how maybe parents should come clean about oral sex. But do you want to be the parent in-line to pick up your kid that all the other kids are staring at and giggling about? It's best to just deny.

4. Get Used to Shut Doors

Tweens shut the doors to their rooms and short of taking the doors off the hinges, they just do this for privacy and to have a sense of their own world. I had a hard time with this, and kept opening the doors, but it just makes them angry and makes them not trust you. It’s a small bit of autonomy.

5. Remember That You’re Still Not Their Friend

This might be the hardest. There’s a lot of pressure, and it feels natural to be their friend. They don’t need you to be their friend. They need you to still be the adult. This is the hardest because, you know, they get your jokes. They’ve added you as a friend on Facebook — even though they spend waaay more time on SnapChat. You like who they are becoming and you want to be friends. But they need parents. Don’t be afraid to step up and say no and provide guidance, because that’s what they’re really looking for.

6. Have the Drug Talk

This is another case of them knowing more than you want them to know already by virtue of media, friends, playgrounds, etc. What’s missing from most conversations about drugs is the real reason people get into taking them. Until we address that? We’ll keep having drug problems. “Just say no” never worked. Answer their questions honestly — especially if you took drugs yourself.

7. Share Your Stories

We are the generation that tends to helicopter our children. Think back to how you were at age 11 and 13. Odds are, you had a bit more freedom. What were you reading? What were you watching? What stories of embarrassing issues can you share with your kids? Kids like stories of you looking silly. Don’t be shy in telling them about your childhood.

Any advice on raising tweens? What are some of your suggestions?