Could I really write a series about homeschooling girls and not discuss hormones? I don’t think so.
Hormones on their own are perfectly normal, essential part of our body’s makeup. But it’s not really hormones I’m talking about here. It’s the days our hormones go haywire. The days we literally cry over spilled milk. Or go on a rant about someone leaving a door open. Or automatically assume that when your husband says he needs some laundry done that he’s calling you fat.
Don’t deny it, we all have those days. And if your daughter is anywhere near her teen years, she will too. Hormones. Joy of joys.
As I’m sure you’ve found out over the course of your life, though, hormones don’t have to be a death sentence. You have probably learned to control the eye-rolling, door-slamming, what-ever! days by the time you have kids. Or at least have toned it down a little. But then your daughter gets to a certain age and it’s downright terrifying how much she takes after you in this department. All of a sudden, you might even find yourself acting like a thirteen year old as you try to maneuver the murky waters of homeschooling a girl who is experiencing pms.
There I said it. P-M-S. It’s real and it sucks.
There’s no reason we can’t lovingly teach our daughters how to get a handle on their moody days, and at the same time work on improving our own attitudes and tone.
Teaching Your Daughter to Deal with Raging Hormones
First, of all, pick a time to have a nice chat about hormones and the havoc they wreak on a woman’s disposition. I would pick a time when my daughter is not experiencing PMS, and we’re not in the middle of a crappy day.
The three A’s of an Attitude Adjustment Talk:
1. Acknowledge what she’s going through. Be sure she knows that you understand this is a real thing.
2. Admit that you’ve been there, too. Maybe even share an embarrassing story or two. The point is to let her know that she is not alone! In fact, bonding over how crummy you feel and giggling over silly things you’ve done might just be a benefit to going through all this with your girl!
3. Arm her with Tools. Letting your daughter know you understand where she is coming from is good, but it’s not enough. Don’t leave your girl unprepared for the next upcoming battle! How do you handle your rough days? Share your tips with her and ask her if she has any ideas of her own to tame moodiness when it strikes.
Tools to share with her (that will work for you, too!):
Pray. We all need that reminder sometimes. Let your daughter know that God understands what she is going through, too. After all, He created her! Remind her that spending time in the Word and in prayer will help her be more like Jesus. And while you’re at it, pray for her right then and there.
Relax. Take a hot bath, curl up with a good book, or catch your favorite show. Get cozy and give yourself a break.
Take care of yourself. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep and adequate nutrition. Avoid excessive salt or caffeine, these can make symptoms worse. In one of the great paradoxes of life, exercising is supposed to be good for cramps, but I would say let her decide. If she feels she needs a day or two off of PE, then give it to her.
Indulge. A little bit of chocolate never hurt anyone. There are reasons why it is a cliche, and a reason so many women crave it during this time. The more flavorful it is, the more satisfying you’ll find it, and the less you’ll need. So keep the good stuff on hand.
Journal. Sometimes I find my emotions are going crazy because I haven’t really expressed them and when my hormones are going wild, those emotions are more likely to surface. Instead of letting it all out on my husband, I like to write it out. Usually I find I just needed to get something out of my system and then I feel better. And often I feel silly for letting stuff build up for so long.
How to Deal with Your Daughter’s Raging Hormones
Maybe you’ve had the Attitude Adjustment talk and it just hasn’t sunk in yet. Maybe your daughter has had her quiet time, eaten her veggies, had a truffle and written in her journal and still, she’s just burst into tears because you corrected an assignment, then stormed into her room and slammed the door because her little brother made a face at her.
Hey, it happens. I know all these tips myself, heck I just wrote them out, and still I have days where I’m a little snippier than I need to be. Well, that sounds too nice. How about I still have days where I sound/look/feel like a raving maniac? We all fall short, and no matter how awesomely you’ve prepped your girl, she’s going to have a bad day sooner or later. How do you deal then?
1. Set the Ground Rules. We’ve acknowledged that sometimes it sucks to be a lady, and we’ve admitted that we struggle, too. However. Rules are rules and she must still respect and honor her parents. Whatever your normal consequences are for talking back or rolling eyes, or disrespecting you, those consequences still exist. You might offer a friendly warning, or you might not. But remind her that while she might be having an emotional day she will learn to control how she treats you… or else.
2. And yet, be Flexible. Sometimes a little leniency goes a long way. Forgiving her and showing grace instead of instantly doling out a consequence will speak volumes to her heart. You’re the mom, and with the Holy Spirit’s help you’ll know when she needs a firm hand and when she needs you to cut her a little slack.
3. Go the Extra Mile. If you know a hard day is coming up, ward off attitudes before they start. Set up a pampering bath for her. Have tea time and connect with just you and her. Offer to have a friend of hers over so she can have some girl time. A considerate mother is such a blessing to have!
I’ll never forget Coco telling me that she told a friend of hers about how when she entered into a certain phase, I took her out for coffee and had a talk about our bodies and bought a book to read together. Her friend remarked, “You’re so lucky. All I got was a box of pads thrown at me.” Be the mom that goes the extra mile, your daughter will be better for it! And so will you.
I know these are all pretty basic tips, but sometimes we just need those reminders. What tips do you have for handling hormonal days?
This post contains affiliate links.
The Body Book (The Lily Series) (Pictured above)
Bringing Up Girls by James Dobson
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A Mother-Daughter Purity Retreat
Note: This post originally appeared as part of my Homeschooling Girls Series in 2011.