Where has the time gone? My once cuddly little hug monster is now embarrassed whenever I attempt to hug him outside his school gate when dropping him off at school. He pulls away even before I can smell his freshly shampooed hair and runs off towards his friends.

Is he reaching the age where he no longer needs his mother? I have always been told to treasure those moments when he was a baby, a toddler and a preschooler because someday, those little hands won’t be so little anymore but I never realized how I was going to cope when that actually happens.

I have also noticed my son’s recent displays of rebellion. Constantly talking back and arguing with his father and I on just about everything, not following house rules and calling them stupid, and the ultimate “I hate you” that breaks every parent’s heart when they hear it (and you will hear it at least once in your whole journey of parenthood). Sometimes I wonder to myself if it would be easier to just give in, let him go and see where his choices take him. But is that the right way to parent a young impressionable tween who is just starting to explore and push the boundaries of his independence?

I try to be very calm and reason with him whenever he starts arguing and, as much as I can, try my best not to take the things he says out of angst personally. I guess every parent has a different way of coping with such a sudden behaviour change in their children, but we should always keep in mind that constantly berating them will not help and will only show them a negative example of how to handle difficult situations.

As parents, we should, as much as possible, watch ourselves and set the example we would want them to follow. Even if they do not want to listen, they are still watching us. What we can do is model for our children through our lives the kind of person they would want to be when they grow up.