by Janet Hoffman at Transcendental Meditation for Women blog
22 October 2020
Parents know that eye-rolling and door slamming are coming when their daughter is approaching her teen years. Sometimes it doesn’t end up being so bad. Sometimes it’s worse than you could have imagined. Who is this creature that has the face of the adorable child you raised and nurtured but the behavior of a disrespectful, angry stranger?
According to Psychology Today, “Many people blame raging hormones for teenagers’ reckless behavior, and no doubt that’s one reason.”
Adolescence corresponds roughly to the period between the ages of 10 and 19. During adolescence, some increase in moodiness is normal. Hormones flare during puberty and adolescence, so teen girls’ reactions and the way they process emotions is different than during their earlier years. Tears and rages and impulsive behavior are not at all unusual so a parent has to remember not to take it all personally, but to treat each episode or mood in a respectful way.
“It’s normal for teens to get moody, frustrated, and irritable from time to time,” explains Dr. Vinay Saranga, a child and adolescent psychiatrist in North Carolina. “Adolescence is a period of transition and teens have to work through new emotions, thoughts, and feelings.”
Psychology Today weighs in again with some helpful reminders that will help you support your daughter during her teens:
- Acknowledge her emotions.
- Listen to her requests.
- Respect her privacy.
- Avoid treating her like a child.
- Avoid criticizing her every move.
- Spend time with her talking or doing something mutually interesting.
- Set up a weekly meeting where everyone can clear the air.
- Set clear family rules about behavior and communication. For example, “We speak respectfully in our family.”
- Your comments should focus on her behavior and how you feel about it. (In other words, avoid making comments about her personality or character.)
- Set and explain consequences—but try not to set too many.
- Give her space.
Experts’ advice probably comes naturally to most mothers anyway. You already nourish your daughter’s mental, physical and emotional health. Sometimes kids make it difficult, but parents know that a proper, nutritious and delicious diet is really important.
Some parents say that it’s difficult to get their teen off their electronic devices, so it can be frustrating trying to make sure they get enough sleep and some athletic activity or exercise—all of which we’re assured will improve their health and spirits.
Most moms already see benefits when they give their daughter praise and appreciation—setting her up to succeed—and by avoiding judging and complaining. Psychologists say that when you talk to your daughter—her eyes may roll and her tone may be aggressive, but she hears you. They say she’ll respond more favorably if you can answer her questions and concerns rather than addressing her tone of voice—not always easy when you’re getting overwhelmed.
Many parents who have daughters who have learned the Transcendental Meditation technique recommend it to other parents and teenagers. TM increases happiness and calmness, strengthens focus, balances hormones, and supports more orderly thinking. TM reduces stress hormones by activating certain functions of the parasympathetic nervous system while calming the sympathetic nervous system, which stimulates the fight or flight response. The TM technique even reduces PTSD and ADHD symptoms, often lessening the need for medication.
A psychotherapist writing for Psychology Today stated, “Meditation is a natural tension buster. At first, the thought of successfully motivating our perpetually wired, A.D.D.-addled teens to regularly meditate may seem implausible. But a study in the American Journal of Hypertension proves that it’s not only possible, but it can also yield remarkable results.” This 2004 study by Dr. Vernon A. Banks, a physiologist at the Medical College of Georgia, and his colleagues, examined how TM affected inner-city adolescents.
The researchers thought that regular Transcendental Meditation practice would aid in lowering stress levels through decreasing subjects’ ambulatory blood pressure. For four months, the teenagers practiced the TM technique twice a day for 15 minutes each time. Afterwards, blood pressure measurements revealed that, compared with the control group, those who practiced TM experienced a measurable decrease in daytime systolic and diastolic blood pressure and in daytime heart rate. In other words, Transcendental Meditation decreased stress and increased relaxation.
So those are the evidence-based facts about how TM can help girls (and their parents) through the teens.
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