Who just burst into floods of tears? Was it you or her?
As if handling your own menopausal hormonal roller-coaster wasn’t enough, along comes puberty to create the perfect storm.
With more women now waiting until their mid-30s before they have babies, the two reproductive stages – menopause and puberty – are clashing in many households. Just as many mums begin to experience the highs and lows of midlife change, so arrives their daughter’s hormone-fuelled tears, fears, tantrums and frustrations.
As we begin to feel the effects of oestrogen withdrawal, so our teenagers are having to deal with the highs and lows of oestrogen upload! With two sets of raging hormones to navigate, it’s no surprise that tensions can run high at home, ranging from the occasional flare up to full-on meltdowns.
Hormonal fluctuations result in brain changes that result in strikingly similar symptoms – anxiety, moodiness and irritability – each one often triggered by the tiniest thing (or nothing at all).
For the mothers and daughters experiencing extra life stresses and dramas while these physical changes are taking place, it can feel overwhelming, to say the least. Adult women may be coping with midlife work stress and worry of elderly parents, while their daughters face the inevitable teenage friendship issues and academic pressure of secondary school.
So, what can be done to keep your mother daughter bond in tact and prevent World War III breaking during these tumultuous times?
First and foremost, while you might detest your daughter’s behaviour, it’s important to keep reminding yourself how she’s feeling, rather than fixating on her actions. It is far better to blame any hostile or volatile behaviour on hormones rather than one another. When a battle seems imminent, don’t rush to fight it. Walking away from the little things will often lead to less conflict in the long run.
It can be hard to talk rationally when tempers are high too, but try? Reminding each other that you’re both experiencing a very similar set of symptoms can restore sanity, even if it’s only until the next flare up. When we share our feelings, especially to our mother or daughter, we find ourselves emotionally vulnerable, which can make the relationship stronger in the long run. If you really can’t talk to each other, find another confident you can confide in. Talking through your feelings and fall outs can help put everything back into perspective.
If you can, set aside time to spend together when you’re both on an even keel too. Regular quality time helps builds bonds that might make the difficult moments less fraught.
Above all, remember that what you are going through is absolutely normal. It’s a life stage that won’t last forever, so hang on in there.