A Three Part Series On How to Understand Your Pre-Teen (Part I)

What a roller-coaster ride!
My daughter who is 11 soon to be twelve, goes from being helpful and considerate to angry and stubborn, from happy and laughing to tearful and crying all in a matter of seconds.

Growing up as the oldest of three girls, and knowing what goes on when you are a "pre-teen" I knew I was in trouble but ...
I thought I would be ready.

Little did I know that being a pre-teen and going through puberty is much different then being the parent and having to deal with it!


To make it as painless and possible for all of us "mothers of girls," I thought I would share some coping ideas.
I didn't know how to deal with my daughters drastic mood swings and these coping suggestions from "the experts" really helped me.

I'm making this a three part series so you can deal with a few emotions at a time.

Part I
Moodiness / Privacy

One minute your child wants you to help her with her homework. The next minute she wants you to leave her alone.
This behavior may make you wonder, what's going on?
The answer is simple. Your daughter is becoming an adolescent.
These sudden moods can be difficult to predict and even harder to cope with. (Don't I know it)

Coping Suggestions
The best approach parents can take is to ignore as much of this erratic behavior as possible. Changing hormone levels in your child make it next to impossible for her to control her emotions.
So what do you do? First, keep in mind that her moods have little to do with you- and try not to take them personally. If you don't comment, chances are they'll disappear a quickly as they arrived. The more attention you give them, the longer they're likely to stick around.
However, this doesn't give your daughter a license to walk all over you. Tell her that you understand she's upset, but she doesn't have the right to upset the rest of the household. Suggest she go to another room if she's not feeling sociable. When she comes out, try to forget anything happened. She will probably forget about it, too.

All of a sudden a sign appears on your daughters door that reads, "Keep Out. This means You!"
It's natural for pre-teens to want more privacy as they grow older. They're beginning to see themselves as unique individuals who need more space. Also, changes in their bodies during puberty may make them want to stake out an area of the house as their own.

Coping Suggestions
The next time your pre-teen daughter shouts, "Just leave me alone" and slams the door, consider taking her advice. She may be trying to say, "This room is my private area." Having a private place can help her cool off and relax.
Give your daughter her privacy. If you haven't already established rules such as "knock before opening a closed door," consider doing so. Tell her that you respect her need for privacy and expect the same treatment in return. Chances are she'll understand where you're coming from.
Allowing your child to have privacy doesn't mean she has complete control over the room, however. Let her know your expectations on how the room should be kept (dirty clothes in laundry basket, no trash on floor, etc.)

I have tried both of these approaches and so far so good!

The second part of this series will be on Sensitivity and Independence.


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