If you have a preteen, you no doubt are getting just a glimpse into what life may be life for you as you share your home with your growing child for the next few years. Most preteens are gripped by the throes of puberty, complete with raging hormones, mood swings and more. Each child has his or her own unique changes that a parent may notice during this time, but most parent will find that sudden mood swings, fits of screaming and crying, and more are all common.
As parents, we have all been there ourselves, and many of us remembering acting this same way just a few short decades before. We have a unique glimpse into what our children are going through, and it may have crossed your mind to show empathy and even to cater to these fits of hormone-fueled emotion. So should you do this?
As a grown adult, you know that your child will continue to have hormone fluctuations for many years to come. Catering to a hormonal rage today is not the same as making chicken soup for your child when she's sick with the flu. It's rough to watch your child go through this, but your child needs to learn to control his or her emotions. After all, these hormonal surges will continue even when your child isn't at home as well as after he or she has left home. Learning how to handle them at home under your love, support and guidance will help him or her grow into a more controlled, calm adult.
Empathy is OK, Within Reason
There isn't anything fun about puberty. Your child no doubt feels awkward and uncomfortable in his or her own skin. Things like male voice changes and pimples are embarrassing and female issues like sore breasts and cramps can be downright painful. These are real symptoms your child is experiencing, and some empathy is OK. You can bring your preteen daughter a heating pad and a bowl of ice cream or let your teenage son just mellow out with some video games for longer than you normally would. However, there are limits to the amount of empathy you should show.
Allowing your child to be melancholy and even babying him or her just a little bit is fine, but you should avoid allowing unruly or disrespectful behavior. Yelling or lashing out at parents or siblings, slamming doors or other behavior that you don't normally allow should continue to be forbidden. Puberty simply is not an excuse for such behavior, and permitting it because of hormonal fluctuations only gives your child permission to continue with this behavior for the next few years.
Here are a few other articles written by this author:
- Family & Relationships