With the big age gap between my two daughters (aged 12 & 20), I knew I’d have different experiences parenting them both, but the disparity as it relates to their demeanours is more like night and day!
As I approached the tween years with my elder daughter, people warned me she would become sarcastic and moody. However, the tween and teen years passed without incident – they were a breeze. It was when she turned 18 it was as if a switch had been flipped: she all of a sudden no longer wanted my input for anything. She became fiercely independent, and got insulted if I tried to impart advice or suggest what I would do in her place. Her “moodiness” stage had begun, later than expected.
Since my experience with my first daughter wasn’t typical, I didn’t hold any expectations of what the tweens and teens would be like with my second daughter, I figured I would just wait and see.
About a year ago, at age 11, my younger daughter started experiencing the mood swings normally associated with the tween years.
I can only liken how she must be feeling to the PMS I’ve long grown-used to, that “I’m-raging-at-the-world-but-I-don’t-know-why-so-I-might-cry” feeling, so I try to just ride out the storm, and not take anything she says personally. Besides, I remember all too well how real the feelings of despair, anger, and loneliness felt to me as a teen, so I’m careful not to minimize any of her feelings, or fight back/engage.
So far, this tactic is serving me well, as she always comes around later for cuddles, or to tell me she loves me, with little mention made to the earlier episode.
I hope the moodiness at its peak right now, because frankly I don’t know how much more we can handle in this house, but I commiserate online with other moms going through the same thing, and take solace in the fact that mothers and daughters have gotten through this for ages – we’ll get through it, too.
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