How Adolescence Affects You
She's needy. She's emotional. She ignores you and then chides you for not paying enough attention to her. In all that it's easy to want to scream, “What about
It's not easy being the mother, father, or other caretaker of a teen girl. First, there's the sense of abandonment some parents feel. For years, you were the apple of your little girl's eye. The sun rose and set on you and nothing was more appealing to her than a long walk or a nice breakfast out with you. Now, she cringes at the notion of spending time with you and often sulks off to her room to ignore you. That's not easy to take. The key here is twofold: Don't be hurt, and don't let it entirely happen.
Even if she protests, regular weekly time together is a must. Put something on the schedule weekly for her and each parent to spend together. A quick dinner, a walk around the block — whatever works. And then stick to it come heck or high water.
The hurt is hard to deflect: some girls can think of some cutting, mean remarks to make to parents at times when the parents seem to be most vulnerable. Take this, if you can, as a compliment. She is most likely lashing out at you as a way to get out her angst about a completely different issue. It might be the kids at school; it might be her inability to find a part time job. Whatever, you remain the place she is most safe to act in anger and be forgiven. That said, forgiveness is key. You cannot allow a girl to assume it is ever okay to be cruel and unkind and not at least be remorseful. Sometimes, those “I'm sorry” moments, if truly meant, can be as special as those years when she just plain loved you without these complications. It may also be hard for parents to accept that their daughter has other friends to turn to in times of need now. Being needed is such a vital part of being a parent. Just remember, she really does still need you, even if it does not seem to be all the time.
The physical changes she goes through impact mothers and fathers immensely, as discussed in Chapters 2 and 3. But what about the changes
If you are a stress eater or a stress starver, you may find these years are rough as well. When you add to that the irony that you need to be showing your daughter healthy food habits these years, it can have an emotional toll on you. Consider, if you are struggling in any way, joining a health eating group such as Weight Watchers or seeing a nutritionist yourself. It could be your own body changes and hormones mean you need to tweak your eating style at this time in life anyway. And by taking positive action, you'll show your daughter the right way to deal with such issues and at the same time, take good, positive care of yourself. You'll also show her how to deal with body changes when, way down the road, she's an older woman and mother too.
Exercise is always a good way to relieve stress and help with sleep issues. Sign up, these teen years, for something new like Pilates or yoga and see if it does not give you an outlet you need and help you feel and sleep better.