Being a thirteen year old, I have discovered, is tough. If things don’t go exactly as you expect them, it’s the end of the world. You are right about everything and know everything. At least, that has been my experience from the past week while my 13-year-old cousin has been visiting. I can understand where he is coming from – I remember being like that when I was his age (man does that make me feel old!) and maybe I was even a little worse, because I was such a picky eater and constantly dealing with being bullied at school.
It’s a challenge to transition from being a child to wanting to be seen as an adult when you are still figuring out who you are and what you want to be. It is even worse when at the time where you are making this transition there is so much pressure in school to conform, be like your classmates, like the same things they like or be an outcast, be bullied.
I remember that this was the hardest time for me growing up, because at 13 was when I was bullied the most, because people did not understand my quirky behavior and passion for theatre, books and Harry Potter. Since they couldn’t understand, they tried to quash it. This societal pressure to figure yourself out so quickly and to conform is too much at such a young age. Tweens and teens need to explore the multifaceted aspects of the world and discover their passions, what drives them.
It is even more challenging when something huge is changing in their lives – a loved one dying, or moving to a different state, a different country. My cousin is moving to the United States with his parents, far away from anyone and anything he knows. He needs to learn a whole new history, he won’t be in a French immersion school anymore and will be taking Spanish starting this year.
All this change is very stressful, and being a 13 year old, he lashes out, isn’t willing to accept anything as being fun or interesting. He is quick to judge – if he isn’t interested in it within 5 seconds, he thinks it is the least interesting thing in the world. The entire week he visited, he was complaining about everything we did together. Then his mum came the last two days to get him, and he secretly let loose. He told my dad that she was ruining everything, that he was having such a great time and then she showed up…funny how perspectives on things can change so easily when you are 13 years old.