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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 (and boys have hormone issues too!) wreaking havoc on everyone in the family.
Through their tantrums (that put their 2-year-old self to shame, right?), drama and back-talking they’re really trying to communicate.
The secret is figuring out what they’re actually trying to say.
So, whether you’re currently experiencing turbulence or you’re already bracing yourself for what’s to come as your child gets older, here’s how to read between the lines of your roller coaster-of-emotions child and some ideas on how to weather the tween 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 child is trying to communicate.
Your tween is dealing with a LOT of changes and may have significant anxiety (which is very common in tweens, especially girls) about the changes to their bodies that are all part of adolescence.
There’s tremendous pressure on today’s girls and boys to conform to societal definitions of what it means to be a ‘woman’ or a ‘man’.
Their friendships may also be shifting and it can be a struggle to find a place with like-minded friends, while distancing themselves from friends they may have had since preschool but that no longer share the same interests.
There’s a tremendous amount of comparison that goes on among tweens too—do I have the right clothes, hairstyle, body type, 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 or son freaks out about not being able to find the right shirt or that their sibling looked at them 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; they feel safe enough around you to express their difficult emotions no matter how awkward or unhealthy their 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 they believe in your unconditional love. 😊
Even though you’re not alone and your child is behaving the way they’re expected to as a tween, it doesn’t make it any easier for you!
It’s completely normal and understandable for your daughter or son’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 turbulent tween’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.
They can be good for you as a parent who just needs to step away from a highly volatile situation to reconnect with your center and get your thoughts clear.
When you have a chance to think about what you wish to say, I promise, you’ll have a much better interaction.
Rather than pointing a finger in blame, try to help your tween 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.
If you can look beneath the surface of their brutal verbal assaults, you can discover what’s truly going on.
Remember, even though they might be pushing you away with full force, they need 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.
I’ve been working with parents, children, tweens and teens for over twenty years, and there’s one thing I know for sure.
You CANNOT waste time when it comes to the emotional development of your children.
Time is precious and you can’t afford for these issues to just sort themselves out.
It doesn’t work like that.
The best thing you can do as a parent is to equip your tween with the tools manage their emotions before they start to become bigger issues.
So… you KNOW you want to guide your kid to be centered, balanced, happy and in touch with their emotions BUT you’re not quite sure how?
Like on a day-to-day basis, how do you do that?
Here’s how – download my 108 tips for Balancing Your Kid’s Chakras!