Preteenhood is such an uncomfortable stage of life. We’ve all been there–the mood swings, the what’s-happening-to-my-body moments–it’s that weird stage of life when you’re not a little kid anymore, but you’re not really a teenager, either. Everyone’s feeling really awkward about themselves and all the crazy stuff that’s happening. Everything is so new. Remember the first time you had your period? I daresay it wasn’t a particularly pleasant experience. (I was in seventh grade, two minutes before I had to catch the bus. Again, not particularly pleasant.) Now think of school–putting all these really insecure, confused preteens into a room all day. Trouble is waiting to happen.
So, so many adults try to appeal to the preteen audience, attempting to describe the trials and confusion of the pubescent life. Most fail. I remember being ten or eleven, picking up a book geared toward my age group in the library, and reading this sentence:
“Oh my gawd, how does she have a bigger cup size than me?! So totally uncool!”
I was incredibly disappointed. In fact, I felt a bit mocked. That’s the thing–as a society, we love to stereotype and pick on preteen girls. They’re regarded as annoying, immature pestilence that just needs to grow up. In reality, though, preteens have their own struggles–and nobody’s struggle is petty or stupid. Maybe to an adult, all that school drama and changing body issues seem stupid and easily solved, but to a preteen, it’s real and painful.
I’m nearly fifteen now, and I still feel sad when I hear somebody belittling the struggles of ten-year-olds. I remember being ten, and it was nothing like the preteen novels try to make it out to be. I never remember hearing “so totally uncool” or other such phrases.
I think to understand preteens, we really need to remember when we were them ourselves. Remember, we were all in that uncomfortable gray time of life. Let’s not belittle it, okay?