Ah the teenage years. They creep up on parents out of nowhere, and explode with a hard slap of reality in the face, usually in the form of moody behavior, snide comments, and flurries of rolled eyes. Children who once worshiped and idolized their parents suddenly recoil at the thought spending time with them or listening to anything they say. The teenage years can be a particularly turbulent time for mums and their daughters, and many mums, forgetting how difficult their own teenage years were, scratch their heads and wonder: why are teenage girls so difficult?
The teenage years are difficult for both boys and girls, just in different ways. The onset of puberty between ages 12 and 13 brings many confusing changes to girls’ lives: they start their periods, experience sexual curiosity, begin forming an individuated identity, and lives with the ups and downs of their powerful hormone cycles. These hormones control girls’ emotionally and they becomes prone to anxiety, depression, or rapid mood swings. Girls become increasingly concerned with emulating those in their peer groups, and many girls want to chase cool and find a way to fit in. Throw parents, especially mums into the adolescent stew and you sometimes get a toxic reaction: screaming fights, hysteria, sobbing fits, slammed doors etc.
The turbulence of the teenage girl years is unavoidable and it is something that every family must deal with, but that doesn’t mean it is easy-as a parent, there will be many rough days. Here are a few tips to mitigate the stress levels when dealing with your teenage girl, and keep your sanity as a parent:
This too shall pass: Teenage girls are quite myopic, and temper storms are usually quick to blow over. As a parent, your role is to diffuse the situation, not add fuel to the fire. The next time your teenage daughter rolls her eyes, screams, slams a door etc. just rest in the comfort that all storms reach a calm end and try not to engage her or egg her on.
Take time for yourself: Don’t let the stress levels surrounding your teenage daughter control the household. Make sure that you take time to do some things you like, engage in activities that re-charge your battery and make you feel like you have a safe space outside of the teen disaster zone.
Keep an open mind and an open heart: Your teenage daughter needs you and your support more than you know. Not every aspect of a teenage girl’s life is marked by extreme behavior-teen girls spend a lot of their time calm, collected, sensitive, and sweet too. Keep yourself available to your teen daughter and let her know you are there to talk to her about anything she needs, and make sure that she knows how much you love here, even when your “I love yous” are greeted with rolled eyes and an annoyed “I know mom(or dad)”
Teenage girls can be difficult, but as a parent it is your job to remember that you were once a teen too and that now as an adult, it is your job to play the balanced role in the family. If you treat your teenage daughter with love, kindness, respect, and show her firm boundaries about what behavior is acceptable or unacceptable, then you will be able to surf the teenage wave to a more fulfilling relationship with your daughter in her adult life.
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