If you’re in your 40s or 50s and you have kids in the house, you’re probably familiar with what I like to call “dueling hormones.”
This is that ever-so-special time when mom is going through perimenopause and menopause, and her kids are going through puberty, all under the same roof. With all these hormonal fluctuations happening at once, things can get more than a little hectic!
Fortunately, amidst the chaos (which will likely rise during the holidays), there is a real opportunity to take these challenges and turn them into a time of growth and connection. Often, the anger or outbreaks that come with hormonal fluctuations on both sides are really just an overflow or projection of the same anger and frustration that we might harbor against ourselves. Working on yourself and your own personal growth, and knowing your body and being prepared for perimenopause and menopause, will help ease the super tense dynamics that can develop with the people closest to you.
One of the most difficult features of puberty for a parent to deal with is the communication shutdown. Many kids just stop talking. They don’t want to hear anything from you and they don’t want you to hear anything from them! Your teenager is trying to find his or her own independence and confidence, so this kind of push-back is common and normal at this age. However, when you’re going through perimenopause and menopause, and you’re already feeling emotionally shaky yourself, it can be hard not to take this radio silence personally.
When communication shuts down completely, everyone suffers, so it is important to keep talking. Let them know that you still love them—that you are here for them if they need you and that you care, all the while respecting their journey towards independence. The best way to begin this process is to remind yourself that it isn’t about you. Try not to personalize their silence and outbreaks. Remind yourself that just as you are going through your own hormonal roller coaster and life-changing experiences, so are your kids.
You’re the parent, so you can be the first to give. Share your own challenges openly so they know what you’re going through, and you can give them an opportunity to relate to you, even if they don’t want to show it. In Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness, there’s a Shmirshky Daily Symptoms Chart on pages 168-69 to help women track the menopause symptoms they might be experiencing. Many women have often found that going through the chart with their teens can help them open up the discussion about what they’re both experiencing. Chances are, your teen may be experiencing sleepless nights and mood swings just like you.
Related: What’s a Shmirshky? (VIDEO)