We’re so lucky to have the support of our sponsors to help us build a stronger experience for our conference attendees in April. Paige Wolf, is a mom to two kids, including Sam, who is officially a tween, and also the founder of PhillyTweens. We sat down with Paige to talk about what makes this stage of parenting so hard to navigate and why she’s looking forward to attending the Revolutionizing Parenthood conference this spring.
What made you want to launch Philly Tweens?
We all need advice, resources, access, and, sometimes, just commiseration. That was the reason I started my first blog and book, Spit That Out, and now that my children have reached new milestones, it’s the reason I started PhillyTweens.
As a writer, I’ve been fortunate to share my personal stories of everything from postpartum anxiety, chronic illness, parenting, sexuality, and even mundane day-to-day issues. I’ve seen first hand how some of these stories have touched people, and I’ve also had my perspective changed by thousands of stories I’ve read online. When I’ve gone through difficulties in my own life, reading the stories of strangers has often been the anchor I needed to pull me back to shore.
I want the site to be a resource for everything from sharing events, activities, and businesses to expert advice to personal stories from both parents and kids. Because it truly does take a village – on and offline.
What do you want people to know about the Philly Tweens site?
I think it’s really important for people to know that “Philly” isn’t just the city. I am based here, but the content, listings, and resources on our site apply to families in the suburbs of Philadelphia, South Jersey, and Delaware. Everything is so close and many of us travel a bit to access different resources, schools, camps, and activities. And much of the content is universally relatable!
I also want people to know that anyone can submit a first person story, even anonymously, and that includes tweens themselves. I really hope to get more varying perspectives from all different kinds of kinds and families.
How is being a tween today different than prior generations?
Middle School age has been notoriously rough since…maybe the beginning of time? Adolescence, puberty, hormones, angst, braces, pimples, bras, bullies, cliques! But now we have social media, texting, YouTube, and cyberbullying. Not to mention the horror of school shootings and the overall scary political climate. It’s a whole new ballgame and we need to be there to support them however we can.
On the plus side, we live in a world where kids can HOPEFULLY feel a little safer being themselves in terms of gender expression and sexuality. But we all still have a long way to go and a lot to learn.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a tween parent?
For me the biggest challenge has been screens. My son is addicted to Roblox and YouTube. I know that many parents put their foot down on this, but we just haven’t. We try to engage him and make it a part of what we talk about so at least we know what he is doing and we make sure we are guiding him away from anything that we think could be harmful. We’ve also lost much of our control over what he eats and just encourage him to make healthy choices. My daughter is only 6, so not yet a tween, though she acts like it sometimes!
I’ve also found that so many of the kids we know, including my own son, deal with anxiety. I am an anxious person so it’s not particularly surprising. It’s good that our generation is generally more aware of kids’ emotional issues, but navigating that is still really difficult.
What are you most looking forward to learning about during the Revolutionizing Parenthood conference in April?
I love conferences that bring people together, especially parents. Sometimes just meeting the other parents there is the best source for commiseration and connection. I also love that this conference has speakers on topics on dealing with all ages from baby to teen. So there is really something for everyone.
How can people find more information about Philly Tweens?