I spend a lot of time with Tween boys. They’re not quite teenagers, but puberty has begun, I can assure you. My middle-schooler and his classmates are funny, smart boys who happen to be inside bodies that are starting to resemble men’s right about now.
Fine hair has appeared above upper lips (and under their arms!), crazy growth spurts have begun and some are nearly 6 feet tall, some are gangly and don’t yet have full control over their limbs, and voices have begun to crack.
They are on the verge of some of the most awkward years of their lives from which they will emerge as biological adults, and yet some of them still have sleepy toys.
These are the Tween years for boys. And I feel for them!
I have such affection for them as they test all kinds of boundaries, both physical and social. I still see their adorable little-boy faces and personas in there as they transform into men and I can’t help but feel protective of all of them as they learn to navigate the world – and at the same time try and learn algebra!
They want to try out first-person shooter video games and see what their moms will say about it. They want to be invisible as they deal with their changing bodies, but of course every adult who knows them comments on their height or mustache. They want to run and jump and wrestle each other, but school forces them to sit in chairs for 6 hours a day.
And they are noticing girls.
The really adorable thing is that most tween boys don’t have any idea what to do about girls. They’ve had girl buddies their whole lives, but now the girls are changing physically, too. And the boys notice, which they can’t help themselves but do: everything about our biological selves makes this so – humans are physically built to be ready to reproduce at about the age of 12, and yet, of course our society is not set up for that to work at all. And believe me, I wouldn’t want it to. I would never want 12 year-olds to become parents.
The girls seem to be savvier at this age. Jessica Gottlieb writes about her daughter, also a tween, and how she and her girl friends are becoming aware of the power their bodies have. They’re only on the edge of knowing and not nearly understanding, though, of course.
But not the boys. They’ve got a ways to go.
Sarah Auerswald writes about her Tween, and lots of other topics, at Sarah’s Blog.