Emotions: My 9-Year-old and Me

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‘… my daughter, whom I shall refer to as Wednesday Addams, pretended not to know me in the Miami Airport bathroom…’


Alicia Chamely
By Alicia Chamely

HELLO, hello, apologies for my absence, I took a much-needed vacation.

Especially after that unsurprising, dramatic-for-no-reason, political event we call the Local Government Election where everyone comes out a loser and is left toting feelings.

My family and I packed our bags and headed to Murica yall! Luckily, we rolled out before that pesky virus got to all those Caribbean Airlines pilots… dodged a bullet there we did.

Travelling with my husband and children straddles between being a gut-busting comedy and a pee-your-pants horror show.

Neil Transport Services

Some highlights included my son shouting “Nah! I didn’t sign up to die in this plane!” at the top of his lungs during some unpleasant turbulence. Homie is super dramatic, and his outburst frightened a couple of people, who I figure thought he was some sort of doomsday foreteller altering them to their untimely deaths. Nope, just an overly animated seven-year-old. An air hostess gave him a teddy bear for being so brave and gave me a mimosa as a gesture of sympathy… always appreciated.

Another fun one was when my daughter, whom I shall refer to as Wednesday Addams, pretended not to know me in the Miami Airport bathroom and when I asked her if she was okay while washing her hands, she loudly said, “Who are you! Why are you talking to me?”

Girlfriend gave me her full stranger danger face in an airport that’s forever on high alert for child predators and human traffickers. I gave her the “little girl you gonna die” face and the act ended quickly.

My daughter turns nine this week and has found herself in the murky waters of tweendom. The wonderful period childhood experts say occurs between the ages eight and 12.


It’s this wonderful time when your once sweet little angel gets that first blast of hormones and turns into a miniature tornado of emotions.

Wednesday’s been testing me. The back chat, the over-proportionate reactions to any and everything, the stubbornness… it’s been a lot. A lot. There have been times when I wasn’t sure if to call an exorcist or St Ann’s. And as much as I want to strangle her, I want to help her through whatever the hell is going on in that little brain.

Researchers have found that during this period of development, children undergo a number of neurological and psychological changes. They are torn between still wanting to be babied and wanting more independence. Parents are no longer their primary source of influence. Then begin to value the opinion of their peers over that of their family. Social acceptance becomes extremely important to them.


As a parent, who is now no longer numero uno in their child’s life, this period can be difficult to navigate. You want your child to grow, be independent and be who they want to be, but at the same time you want to protect them and ensure that in their journey of self, their “self” is a functioning member of society and not a menace.

For example, while on vacation I had to explain to Wednesday that despite what is “cool” there was no way in hell her father and I were going to let her buy and walk around in a sparkly pair of pum pum shorts and crop top. I believe during that conversation I used the term “(word deleted) stroll” which I then had to awkwardly explain.


And while I got death stares, it was important to create those boundaries. Yes, if you want to part your hair in the centre and leave two ridiculous strands out in the front, be my guest. Put lipstick on? Absolutely not. Develop and curate your own style, go ahead. Wear clothing inappropriate for a child, not happening.

It’s a give-and-take. The more you fight for control, the more you risk pushing your child away. The more freedom you give them, you risk them running wild with no direction.

For me, this is a great lesson in patience and restraint. If she’s acting like a looney toon and I blow up, it solves nothing. If I stay calm and clearly articulate what I will and not tolerate, we get somewhere.

My daughter is an amazing little creature. On the outside she’s soft, gentle, kind-hearted. On the inside is a volcano of determination and creativity. I admire her on so many levels, which is why it is imperative that work with her during this transitional period, rather than against her.

Anyway, check me back when she hits 13 and enters the teenage years, my calm, patient approach may have changed.


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