With three girls only sixteen months apart, I wish I had a dollar every time someone told me, “Three girls going through puberty at the same time? I don’t envy you!”

It’s no secret that tween girls have a bad reputation. Raging hormones, constant push-back, and a desire for a level of independence that eclipses their age are just a few of the reasons for my gray hairs.   

They also put me in a constant manic state. One minute, my daughter fills me with joy simply by grabbing my hand as we walk into the grocery store, and the next she admonishes me for dancing in front of her friends.

It’s not easy for them, either. In our house, it seems we are constantly moving from one awkward conversation to the next: puberty, sex, social media, body changes, sexting, and crushes are just a few of the conversations that happen during this age range. Tweens are hungry for information, yet many don’t feel comfortable enough discussing these things with the same people tucking them in at night.

It is a roller coaster ride, indeed. Raising a tween girl is not for the faint-hearted.

It’s not all bad, however. Kids growing up means relationships evolve to a deeper, more meaningful place. It is easier to share interests and hobbies, and see your child as the adult they are becoming.

There are also a few other surprising perks:

Starbucks gift cards.

I was surprised when a neighbor dropped off a Starbucks gift card for my daughter after she watered her garden. Another one showed up as a birthday present, and yet another from a relative who didn’t know what to buy a tween girl. I thought it was odd, but my daughter drolly said, “Mom, who doesn’t love a Starbucks?”

A few days later, while running errands, my tween offered to buy me a cup of coffee. One Frappuccino and a skinny vanilla latte made for a lovely outing without a single eye roll.

A team of stylists.

Many tween girls love fashion and are unapologetically honest with their opinions. It’s great to have someone at the ready to help decide if my outfit is a “hit” or a “miss.”

It’s also a fun adventure whenever they use me as a model to try out the latest hair styles or smoky eyes techniques that they discovered on YouTube.

Chick flicks.

My husband and I rarely watch movies together considering that I love a good romantic comedy, and he likes any film where stuff gets blown up.

Now that my girls are tweens, we enjoy this special time together, and my spouse gets a pass from the rom-com sappy stuff. It’s a win-win.

Shoes, shoes, and more shoes.

Girls hit their growth spurts much earlier than boys, so there are three females in my house right now who share the same shoe size. A certain pair of pink Converse sneakers I purchased for my daughter’s back-to-school outfit also have my name written all over them. 

Exercise partners. 

Now that my girls are older, their fitness abilities are a closer match with mine. We enjoy long bike rides, runs, or even a late-night walk for fro-yo.

Abundance of humility and empathy.

When someone acknowledges your little one’s behavior, it’s easy to take credit for a job well done. On the flip side, raising a tween daughter full of mood-swings and inner turmoil can make you feel weak and vulnerable, causing a new state of humility on what it means to be a parent.

This has opened my eyes to what my own mother experienced, and I also have more empathy for her than ever before!

Do you have a tween girl in your house? What perks do you see?