My youngest girl is changing before my eyes. It’s not a linear shift from girl to teen daughter but instead comes in fits and starts. One day she’s still into American Girl dolls and the next, it’s all about makeup and shaving her legs.
The teen years present different challenges and require us to shift in our parenting. Sure we may be able to spot the physical changes but savvy moms can be ready for the teen years by looking for other telltale signs. Let’s look at 7 signs your little girl is becoming a teen.
1. She becomes moody or weepy.
Your girl’s hormones are spiking and that can lead to unexpected mood swings or unprovoked crying. These sudden emotions might confuse her or cause her to look around for something to blame. Sometimes, a girl just needs to have a good cry and get the emotion out.
Parenting shift: Help her understand that hormones trigger unexpected emotions and encourage physical activity with its mood-boosting endorphins to help.
2. She needs physical space.
My little girl who always held my hand now pushes it away. She stays in her room more often, walks ahead rather than beside me and wants to be dropped off rather than walked-in. Her growing independence means she no longer wants the physical touch she used to crave.
Parenting shift: Allow appropriate independence and connect physically through side hugs or backrubs while respecting when she doesn’t want physical touch.
3. Her talkativeness changes.
Typically, once chatty daughters begin to share less but occasionally the opposite will happen: your reserved little girl may suddenly become more talkative. Either way, teen girls usually want to talk on their timetable and on their terms.
Parenting shift: Stop and listen when your daughter opens up, even if you’re busy, and assure her the conversations with you are safe.
Stop and listen when your daughter opens up, even if you’re busy, and assure her the conversations with you are safe.
4. She has an opinion.
Your daughter may begin to argue, push back on your reasoning and voice her own opinion. As she wrestles with her own thoughts and beliefs, she may say something shocking just to get your reaction.
Parenting shift: Don’t get defensive. Instead, listen respectfully while requiring that she too maintain respect in the conversation.
5. She becomes modest.
My daughter no longer wants me in the changing room when we shop for clothes. She heads for privacy when changing in camp cabins or backstage at the ballet recital.
Parenting shift: Respect your daughter’s privacy and teach her she should expect others to give her privacy as well.
6. Her fashion sense changes.
The minute my 11-year-old hit 6th grade, ruffles were out. I gave away a stack of perfectly good Sunday dresses and we spent a Saturday shopping at stores that reflected older trends. She wanted shoes with heels, began fixing her own hair and began wearing simple makeup.
Parenting shift: Teach your daughter how to navigate clothing choices that are appropriate and yet still trendy.
7. She’s more organized.
Many moms told me their daughters began to organize their rooms, their closets and drawers, and their schoolwork. As they age, many girls show a desire to establish order in their home and things.
Parenting shift: Capitalize on your daughter’s developing organizational skills by showing her how to use a paper or digital planner and allowing her to organize closets or areas of your home.
Tell us! In what ways have you seen your daughter become a teen?