by Natasha Flynn, Herbalist
Have you ever wondered if there was anything that you could do to help ease that difficult hormonal transition into adulthood?
For some of us, quite frankly it can leave us almost tearing our hair out in frustration as we deal with our teenagers having meltdowns over seemingly small triggers that to those of us on the receiving end… well, quite frankly seem to be utterly ridiculous!
Some of the things that I have learnt and the pearls of wisdom that I have gained, having dealt with my own teenage children are;
- Look after yourself first. A stressed out parent is ill equipped to handle daily teenage hormonal meltdowns. Take a yoga class. Meditate. Go for a walk and smell the roses. Boost your own happiness with exercise and take some much needed “me time”. It can help us to be better equipped to handle those stressful situations. Magnesium is known as the ‘great relaxer’ and may be beneficial during times of stress.
- Be understanding. No, it’s not rational… but whatever you do, don’t point that out! Just accept that this is just as challenging to the teenager as it is to the parent and offer a hug when the tears start flowing.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Teenagers often bottle up things or don’t tell their parents what is really upsetting them, so try and ask the questions in a different way. Don’t ask “How was your day?” or you are likely to get the answer “it was fine”. It probably wasn’t, so ask questions like “Did anything upset you at school today”, “How are your friends going” or “what did you enjoy at school today?” and you may find that you get a different response that gives you a little more insight into the daily challenges that your teenager may be facing.
- Assess your teenager’s diet or see someone for guidance. Food does affect your mood. Whilst it can seem that we have little control as our teenagers obtain more freedom and start to earn money from part time jobs, it is important to lead by example and make sure that when we feed them that they are truly being nourished by quality foods. Often the eating habits that they establish at home will dictate whether they will be set up for a life time of poor eating habits or whether they understand the implications of poor food choices. Teach your kids early on about “food as medicine” and you will have imparted a most valuable knowledge that they can take with them through the rest of adulthood. If your teenager’s diet is less than optimal, then it is worthwhile considering if they would benefit from supplements containing B Vitamins, magnesium, Omega 3, Iodine and Vitamin D3.
- Maintain optimal liver function. A liver that is working efficiently will be much more capable of eliminating excess hormones. A teenage liver that is congested with fat from a highly processed diet laden with refined carbohydrates will not be as efficient and may lead to excess hormones making a difficult time, even more challenging with mood swings and skin break outs. Let me tell you, you want to avoid that as much as possible. A bad skin day can ruin an otherwise fantastic day and can definitely add to the stress that a teenager already has to deal with. The herb St Mary’s thistle supports liver detoxification and protects liver cells.
- Try and do activities that you enjoy together. Have some family bonding time. This fosters a sense of togetherness and can help your teenager see you in a different light, rather than just seeing you as their disciplinarian, personal chef and housekeeper!
Laugh together and enjoy those fleeting moments whilst you have the opportunity and as a very wise mentor (who is also the mother of 3) tells me on a regular basis, realize that “This too will pass”