My oldest DD just turned 13, she also just started her period (like all in a months time) Since then she is like a COMPLETELY different child. I thought I was prepared for the teen years (as much as you can be prepared) but she has gone from a loving, upbeat, funny girl to a child that is always mad, down all the time, and at times disrespectful kid. Up until recently she was begging us to have another child, even showing me pictures of children with special needs that she thinks we should adopt, and 2 nights ago she said she wishes she was an only child because her brother used her toothbrush (I have tons of new toothbrushes so I have no idea why this was so traumatic)
I am not sure what to do with her. I am trying very hard to help her communicate what is wrong, but she acts like I am the most evil person she has ever met.
Do any of you with older kids have any suggestions or do I have to just have to ride it out?
Part of it is the age. (Definitely toddler tantrums are easier than the teen wars. :P) Part of it may be that "angry at the world at having to go through *this* (her period and all that goes with it. One of our daughters truly struggled with feeling that childhood was *officially* over. She was particularly angry at boys/men for getting off *easy.* (my comments in italics.) "Mom, they don't have to deal with this MESS e.v.e.r.y. single month! THEY don't have to go through ttc, pregnancies, and losses (at least not in the same way.) THEY aren't (despite it being *modern* times and all) handling bulk of child-rearing (true -- not in most homes.) They still get to PLAY (and so can you hon... just wait.) Brothers were beings to be despised... and I believe parentals that brought them into the world were close seconds. LOL
For us, it took additional time investment on my part... really maximizing every moment possible to talk (and listen) -- even when doing tasks like preparing dinner, getting groceries, or folding clothes. I tried to find things special about being a young woman -- and while yes, the monthly cycles stink, there are so many wondrous things about connecting with one's femininity and understanding that one can do so while maximizing all possibilities she wants to pursue. Slowly, I believe she felt more on solid ground and her disposition became more positive.
I believe we were more prepared this time around and spent more time laying a foundation through MANY conversations over the years about the positives of being a girl (having to be careful NOT to knock the positives of being male since 1/2 our brood is just that! HA!)
My suggestion is to be consistent in not tolerating the disrespect... but working to (re)build that bridge of communication through spending time together 1 on 1 if possible. Every day moments and maybe even something special -- like going to a hair salon for the works; taking a picnic together just the two of you to talk about her *someday* goals; PLAY -- letting her see that fun doesn't have to go out the door just because she's getting more mature. If it tries your patience start small -- in 10 - 15 minute spurts. Hopefully this phase will pass quickly -- for BOTH your sakes!
I have 3 boys first, so I haven't dealt with teenage girl yet- but my 15 year old son sometimes acts like that. Usually it is triggered by something that is "weighing" on him, like an assignment due, or a fight with his sibling or something....
Try to carve out this one on one time with her - like Missy mentioned and ask her what has been bothering her. Also, it helps if we share our struggles when we were that age. I was ALWAYS moody, sad around my birthdays. I don't know why, part of it was the fear of growing up, not knowing what I wanted to be when I grew up. All I wanted to be was a mommy, but everyone around me expected me to have a career which I didn't really want. So it weighed on me...
I would prod about friends also, as girls can be psychologically abusive ( is there such a term?) one day they are your BFF , next day they act like they don't know you... It gets complicated with social media too...
I am sorry I don't have a better answer, motherhood is a tough journey as it develops- it is much easier to take care of babies, right?
I love what Missy and Asha had to say. I don't have anything to contribute. Just that I don't envy you. I am not looking forward to DD's teenage years. She is already acting like this at almost 6 years of age.
Just sending some hugs. :( I do not look forward to teenage years.
I'll be there soon. My oldest turns 10 this year. I feel unprepared!
Thanks for the suggestions. She got a new bed this weekend so her and I spent a bunch of time together getting her room ready and then she helped get valentine cards ready for my class with me, it was great to have that time with her. I really think she has no idea that she is being disrespectful. Her basketball coach mentioned it to her and she was shocked, she really thought I was the only one that thought that.
This teenager this is interesting for sure
I'm glad to read that she is involved in basketball. Sports can be such a great focus for teens. Music can be as well. Sharing comments on books you read together, movies you see or TV shows you like, even current events, are all bonding activities too. Having a Dad who shares interests with her is a big boost as well and can show her that she is worthy of respect too. The disrespectful thing may or may not last. Having "dates" with Mom &/or Dad (movies, sports events, manicures, gardening, etc) are great if she is OK with them. Sometimes it is good if a teen can talk with an aunt, neighbor, or friend's Mom fairly often. (I used to check out my friends' parents to make sure my own weren't too strict or serious or whatever. I was convinced they weren't "normal" and that was important at that age.) Not an easy journey, but show her you are proud of her as often as possible! Be generous with hugs if she'll let you.