When women enter their late 30’s or early 40’s they begin to experience hormonal changes that are the start of perimenopause. Perimenopause can last as many as 10 years, ending in menopause, which is the end of a woman’s reproductive years. Perimenopause initiates many changes. Some of these changes are physiological while others are psychological.
The problem for teens is that during this transition, moms may become emotionally unpredictable and irrational. This will not be an everyday occurrence. On some days she may be her “normal” self, while on other days her variable mood make make her seem like a stranger. The unpredictable nature of their mothers’ mood swings can make life very difficult and upsetting for the kids. This is especially the case when they cannot predict what will set off a screaming or crying episode in their mothers.
How can teenagers determine if their mom is in perimenopause? Looking for the following behaviors make make it easier to determine:
-Is she unusually moody, irritable or explosive?
-Are her reactions to minor events out of proportion?
-Is she weepy and emotional?
-Does she seem irrational…maybe even surprised at herself at times?
-Is she complaining about not sleeping well?
-Is she unusually forgetful?
-Is she tired all of the time…even when she appears to be sleeping normally?
-Is she having trouble sleeping?
-Is she doing bizarre things such as putting her keys in the refrigerator or forgetting to turn off the stove?
All of these behaviors are typical symptoms of perimenopause. Teens will be able to understand and relate to their mothers’ hormonal changes if they can remember their own erratic and sometimes irrational behaviors that they expressed when they went through puberty, also a time of tremendous hormonal change.
The important thing to remember is that when mom is experiencing the symptoms of perimenopause, even though she may appear to be angry with you, it is often not about you. She may burst into tears or explode in a rage over seemingly nothing. Even though it may appear that she is going crazy, these mood swings are a normal part of perimenopause, and will subside as she progresses through it.
When women do not understand what is happening to them hormonally, it is even more difficult to control the emotional highs and lows. Understanding perimenopause will help you find ways to cope with mom’s behavior…and maybe even enable you to help her through this difficult time.