For a time, I tutored Middle School students and volunteered as a youth leader for the Middle School ministry at my church while I was in high school. I have been a teenage girl and I will have two teenage girls in a few years. From what my friends who have teenagers tell me (as well as my own mother and father) I should prepare now!
ALL SAHMs have been female teens at one point. We all have that awkward and challenging time in common. We also can relate to living the life of motherhood with all of its challenges.
Since this is “Part 2” of my posts on a very interesting book written by Louann Brizendine, M.D., entitled The Female Brain, check out Part 1 first.
If you ever wonder why moms sometimes feel conflicted when it comes to deciding to work or stay at home, read “Part 1” for some great information. It really is amazing how the chemistry in our bodies guides us.
Stress can grow from trying to force our bodies to be away from our children during the period of time from pregnancy to menopause. (Some of the stress that moms feel – aka mom guilt – about being away from their children can be linked to the hormones of motherhood.)
When parenting through the teen years, there are important points to note:
1) When girls reach puberty, the hormones in their bodies fluctuate daily causing the almost moment-to-moment sensitivity to stress.
Even those of us in the motherhood stage still feel and will feel these fluctuations until we reach menopause [87-88].
2) Our daughters’ brains will literally be soaking in estrogen when the monthly cycle appears. This exposure to estrogen also happened when our daughters were about 1-2 years old, but then there was a “juvenile pause” in the hormone fluctuations.
At puberty, the changes begin again. (If you have a toddler daughter that seems prone to emotional roller coaster rides, you now know why-she is in “infantile puberty”) .
3) Remember that we are built following an ancient blueprint: Men and women have different biological purposes.
A teen girl’s body is being directed by hormones to desire meeting a mate as well as fitting in to a social circle. . Teen boys are feeling pressure as well, but they are more concerned with gaining respect from other boys rather than fitting in, necessarily.
A teen girl feels a NEED to be liked; a teen boy greatly NEEDS to feel he is respected [87-88]. I think this is where fathers are VITALLY important in the lives of their children. Mothers always are, but in the teen years fathers can offer their daughters that feeling of being liked…no matter what…thanks to providing safe, secure, and appropriate male attention.
Boys are very in need of respect from their fathers. What a critical time to develop that male bonding between fathers and sons.Motivate those dads to realize their importance!
There is no one plan for parenting a teen that will work for all children but knowing that belittling and lack of attention are the wrong methods is important.
The teen years are hard for parents and children-they test parenting strength and boundaries, but this test is natural. If we reject teenagers due to their hormone-induced behaviors, they will not feel they have that safe place in our homes.
The teen years, developmentally, are like a second toddler stage: many teens engage in forms of experimentation, pushing boundaries, and the struggle to be in charge.
Keep that in mind. The teen years are not a time for lack of supervision. There is a need to be balanced in allowing a teen to have some freedom while still maintaining a watchful eye.
We have to be available for teens when they need us. As I reflect on what my parents did for me when I was a teen, the most important was the time and attention they gave me.
When I was having a bad day or needed to get some stress off my mind, they listened. I was open with them even with the smallest things. They never told me that what I was feeling was silly or unimportant, but they made sure I knew they thought my trials were important when they listened.
We can prepare for these tumultuous years by remembering how we felt during our adolescence.
Our experiences will help us relate to our own children during their teen years. Recognizing that nature is in charge, but we can be present for our children is essential. Our presence truly will be important to them and us in the long run.
Share how you navigate life with a teenage daughter, or son.
Hi there! Welcome to my little corner of the internet. My name is Jaimi, and I am a mom who loves to encourage other mothers in the season of raising children, making a home, and staying focused on the end goals of motherhood.