Often enough, puberty is an awkward time for both girls and boys. Hormones are raging, sending us on an emotional roller coaster. Hair begins to grow everywhere, and worst of all.. pimples! They start showing up all over the place! For some, it may seem like our world has come crashing down around us. For others, those lucky tweens and teens, its a beautiful and wonderful experience as we grow into our new selves.
However, puberty isn’t just a difficult time for tweens. This can be just as difficult for parents as well! While we all have gone through this strange, zit-popping, rights-of-passage, as parents we still run into speed bumps when it comes to communicating with our emotion-driven tweens. We need to take a minute and step back when our tween or teen begins to have an emotional meltdown or starts to lock themselves away, and instead of immediately rushing to them and demanding to know whats wrong, and think back to when we were younger and why we reacted the same way.
Here are some of my thoughts on this:
“We as adults have often forgotten about how hard it is to move into adolescence. The body changes alone, are overwhelming. How many of us suffered with pimples, anxieties about getting our period, and all sorts of other issues? Just about all of us, although these issues may seem very far away now. I remember some mood swings that seemed to come out of the blue when I was 11. Hormones raging through my body, I’m sure didn’t help.
We can make the situation a lot more bearable if we share some of our memories about ourselves. Maybe it is even the time to get our the photographs and share stories behind the pictures of us at 11, 12 or 13. Laughing and admitting situations that we may even wish we could forget, give our kids courage to manage and live through growing up.
And good advise can also go along way. When I had such terrible raging moods at 11 my mother got advice from the nurse in the school where she was a teacher. She came home and shared this advice with me, instead of yelling at me for jumping up and down on my bed like a maniac and holding by breath at the same time.
She explained to me that when hormones are changing our moods sometimes can’t keep up with the changes but by the time I would get my period I would actually feel a lot less moody. And she also told me that she wasn’t worried now that she understood where my mood was coming from. So information and compassion were a win-win for both of us.
In summary: Getting and giving accurate advice, and sharing about our own ups and downs as we moved through those years can take the pressure off a lot of what is happening.”
Puberty is difficult on everyone. Especially our kids. If we’re a little more understanding with them and we remember back to when we were going through the same issues as they are now, we can better help them through this time and make them much more successful. After all, we do want them to grow up! In fact, sometimes during those difficult years we wish they would grow up overnight! Just hang in there, time will pass, moods will even out, pimples will be less, and if you show compassion you and your tween or teen may still enjoy these somewhat difficult years.