Blog, Parenting, Reflecting

My Dog is a Tween

PaigedogWe all go through defiant phases in our lives – the terrible twos, the child/adolescent tween years, the roll-your-eyes-at-everything teen stage, and then adulthood, the stage with more categories I can name in one blog post.

This week, I’ve realized that dogs go through many of these same phases and I’ve determined that my dog is officially a tween.

I’ve spent the last few weeks reading through a few books about tweens (Talking to Tweens and The Tween Years), primarily for an article I’m writing but also because I have an 11-year old daughter. What has surprised me the most is that there are some very real behavioral similarities between my 11-year old daughter and my two-year old dog.

According to Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer, author of Talking to Tweens, “Tweens are gaining in confidence, expecting more freedoms and becoming less compliant. Tweens today seem to be in a big hurry to grow up, as if childhood is no longer an acceptable place to be.”

Hmmm … sounds like my two girls. Case in point:

  • Search for Independence: My daughter doesn’t want me to help her select clothes, help her with her hair, or even sing along to songs she knows on the radio. On the other hand, my dog doesn’t want me to wash her dog bed, change her food, or rearrange anything in her “domain.”
  • Uncontrollable Emotions: My daughter will randomly shower me with ‘I love you’s’ and hugs and in the next instance, slam her bedroom door. The dog does not hesitate to lick me and rub up against my leg; shortly after, she will then knock over the kitchen trash can, poop on the floor, and chew on my baseboards.
  • Attitude Adjustments: I can say that my daughter is very respectful and truly polite. We do have moments, though, when the occasional eye roll is a little much for me. My dog, on the other hand, respects her personal area, yet when she ventures into the off-limits area and I correct her, I swear she is rolling her eyes, too, in between the looks that could kill.

Both of them want to grow and find the world on their own, without mom’s help or hindrance – I get that. The author puts it best when she says, “Tweens are becoming the authority on themselves. They’re learning more about what they want, like and don’t like, and they firmly believe they know themselves better than you do. However, tweens are far from being adults and still need your guidance, limits, and most importantly, your attention and love, even if it is seems that they need you less.”

Hmmm … sounds like mom’s approach should be gentle yet firm. When I figure out exactly how to do that, I’ll let you know.


– Shannon Philpott
Blog Entry: Sept. 24, 2009

 © Shannon Philpott, 2009. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Shannon Philpott and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s