The energy shift of parenting a burgeoning tween

I am excited to announce that I'll be doing a free teleseminar hosted by Meggin McIntosh on November 8, entitled "Packing Lunches = Supply Chain Management: Leveraging The Skills You've Developed As A Parent To Excel In Your Career." I'll be talking about making all those things we know and do without thinking now as parents explicit in the workplace so they're assets. Sign up to listen in live or listen to the mp3 of the call when you have the chance.

I was having one of our bi-weekly coffee-and-talk-about-the-kids sessions with my ex-husband this morning, and one of the thing that came up was how our older son's friendships are changing and social rules are developing as he gets closer to being a tween (he's in fifth grade). Our son's teacher had talked about that at Curriculum Night, that this year is a transition year and some kids can have a hard time with shifting allegiances and rules that seem to change from week to week.

I am finding this radically easier to deal with than the social issues of little kids (hitting, stealing toys, sharing, etc.) and have realized that this is because it's about being able to verbalize the process and help my son talk and think about what his own boundaries are, what his expectations for friendship are (from his friends and from himself), and just generally helping him through a process of analysis and evaluation.

Is anyone else finding this easier than they thought it would be? It feels like everything in the popular culture predicts absolute doom as kids turn into tweens, so I'd been bracing myself for difficulty and not being able to handle it, but the shift is happening and it feels like something I can actually do.

Am I the only one? Or are others of you finding this energy shift into tweenhood a welcome one?