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Over time our memories might trick us into thinking that we weren’t as much of a roller coaster ride as our daughters put us on, but yes, WE were that intense, too!
It’s so important to remember that there’s more under the surface than just a hormonal girl wreaking havoc on everyone in the family.
Through her tantrums (that put her 2-year-old self to shame, am I right?), drama and back-talking she is really trying to communicate.
The secret is figuring out what she’s really trying to say.
So, whether you’re currently experiencing turbulence or you’re already bracing yourself for what’s to come as your daughter gets older, here’s how to read between the lines of your Jekyll-and-Hyde daughter and some ideas on how to weather the tween girl storm.
I typically find that when you look between the lines, there are three things that are often NOT being said, but that are the core message your daughter is trying to communicate.
Your daughter is dealing with a LOT of changes and may have significant anxiety (which is very common in tween girls) about the changes to her body that are all part of adolescence.
There’s tremendous pressure on today’s girls to conform to societal definitions of what is beautiful.
Her friendships with other girls may also be shifting and your daughter is struggling to find a place with like-minded friends, while distancing herself from friends she may have had since preschool but that no longer share the same interests.
There’s a tremendous amount of comparison that goes on among tween girls—do I have the right clothes, hairstyle, am I liked (by teachers, coaches, friends), do I have the best group of friends and more.
At home, they might be struggling with their growing independence—wanting to stay safely as your baby while at the same time yearning to test out their wings and fly.
Tweens find it difficult to find the words they need to express what they are feeling.
Since their brains are still developing, they actually working to grow the emotional maturity to regulate their moods in an effective way.
What often transpires in homes with tweens are sudden outbursts that seem to make no sense, when the pressure of being a tween just needs to be released.
So, the next time your daughter freaks out about not being able to find the right shirt or that her sister looked at her the wrong way, there’s a good chance something else is fueling that outburst.
Even though they might push you away, they still need your guidance to help them navigate the volatile emotions they are experiencing.
This is the silver lining to dealing with the disrespect of your tween daughter; she feels safe enough around you to express her difficult emotions no matter how awkward or unhealthy her communication methods are.
Since tweens often don’t know how to manage their tumultuous feelings, it’s common release them on the people they feel the safest around.
At least you know she believes in your unconditional love. 😊
Even though you’re not alone and your daughter is behaving the way she’s expected to as a tween, it doesn’t make it any easier for you!
It’s completely normal and understandable for your daughter’s ups and downs to challenge you, no matter how solid your own mood management game is.
Here are some ways to get you through the day:
Before responding to your daughter’s shock-and-awe behavior, allow yourself to take five deep breaths.
Not only are you modeling appropriate emotional response, it allows you to redirect your brain to not just react but seek to understand what’s really going on.
Timeouts aren’t just effective for toddlers, but it can be good for you as a parent who just needs to step away from a highly volatile situation to gather your senses.
When you have a chance to think about what you wish to say, you’ll have a much better interaction.
Rather than pointing a finger in blame, try to help your daughter understand how actions make YOU or other family members feel.
“I” phrases are your friend in these situations, such as “I am sad when you talk to me that way.”
At the same time, try to empathize with her. If you can look beneath the surface of her brutal verbal assaults, you can discover what’s truly going on.
Remember, even though she might be pushing you away with full force, she needs you more than ever.
Even though what you’re going through is normal, there can be times when you need some extra support.
When your coping mechanisms are at their limit, reach out to a fellow mom or someone else you feel comfortable sharing your true feelings with.
You can also reach out to me and schedule a free consultation for a Confidence Quickstart session. I can help you develop further strategies to help you weather the mood swings of your tween.
Healthy, open communication with your daughter is crucial to being able to get through to her when things are tough.
One of the best ways to keep the lines of communication open with your daughter is by consciously making the effort to learn more about each other in a fun, casual way.
I’ve designed a set of questions that helps you start to learn more about your daughter’s triggers and ways you can help her without sending her running in the other direction because of all the awkwardness.
It’s inside the Empowering Tween Girls Essentials Plan, along with other helpful tips and ideas for supporting you along your journey of parenting your daughter.