JUGGLING TEENS DURING PERIMENOPAUSENov 06, 2023
The one thing that is tougher than going through perimenopause? Having one or more teenagers while you do so! Juggling teens during perimenopause can be an absolute nightmare – you’re both moody, unpredictable, hormonal and exhausted.
But it’s not all doom and gloom. The overlap in experience and symptoms means that there are ways to support both you and your teen during this tumultuous time.
Why perimenopause & puberty can equal chaos for the household
First up, why is perimenopause so much tougher when you add a hormonal teenager into the mix? Well aside from the obvious of it being a hormonal teenager, let’s talk about why these times of transition are similar.
Both perimenopause and puberty are marked by significant hormone shifts. This leads not only to the obvious symptoms, but also a reduced ability to cope with stress. You are both more likely to feel overwhelmed, overstimulated and heightened in your responses. And when you both feel like that at the same time? It’s a recipe for big clashes and fights!
But there are also some changes that are unique to your teen. I often joke that teenagers are giant toddlers with a mean vocabulary! By that, I mean that they aren’t really in control of their emotions, they tend to be self-centred, and they aren’t trying to be infuriating – it’s all part of the process.
Their brains are being completely rewired, and they have an increased drive for short-term rewards like social media and junk food. So they’re not really in a space where they can easily think of how they are affecting those around them or how their choices affect them in the long-term. As a result, they are far more likely to make decisions that we see as risky or downright stupid – and that can be a real stress for you as a parent!
Taking care of you and your teen
So now you understand why perimenopause & puberty are so similar in many ways. But how can you address both of these – especially when you’re exhausted and burdened with brain fog?
I can talk about dozens of ways! But to minimise the overwhelm, let’s look at the 3 biggest bang-for-your-buck focus points.
This is probably the #1 for both you and your teen! Getting enough protein is key for stabilising pretty much everything in the human body, particularly during hormonal phases of life. We’re talking:
Blood sugar & cravings
Mental processes such as focus and memory
Weight & body composition
Ideally, you’ll get a good dose of protein at every meal. But as a starting point, breakfast is the big one for protein. What you eat in the morning sets you up for the rest of the day.
If you’re unsure of how to put together a high-protein meal, download my FREE Balanced Meal Formula here.
I haven’t met a single person yet who wouldn’t benefit from some extra magnesium in their life! And that’s for good reason – magnesium is a powerhouse mineral that’s involved in hundreds of body processes. But it’s particularly useful for perimenopause & puberty.
For your teen, magnesium has some fantastic benefits. It has a calming effect on the nervous system, which helps to steady mood swings and cope when their stress tolerance is on the lower side. It can also help with painful periods and cramps if that something your teen is experiencing. Plus it also promotes the clearance of excess hormones in the body, including oestrogen and testosterone. That means their hormones are more balanced overall.
And for yourself? Magnesium is calming and helps you to handle stress – both physical and mental. It’s essential for calming brain chemicals such as GABA. And of course, its ability to support clearance of excess hormones is a must for when you’re on the high of that oestrogen rollercoaster.
Another mineral that has plenty to offer you and your teen is zinc. Zinc is often better known for its effects on male sex hormones, but it also has a big impact on female sex hormones as well!
Zinc is a key player for all things growth and development. As teens grow, particularly during growth spurts, their zinc needs are increased. But zinc is also involved in promoting healthy hormone levels, and of course it’s beneficial for skin issues.
And when it comes to perimenopause? Zinc offers the same hormone-supporting benefits. But it also plays a key role in keeping inflammation at bay. As we know, inflammation is a common driver behind stubborn perimenopause symptoms such as premature ageing, exhaustion, weight gain and brain fog. Not to mention, it also supports immune function and keeps histamine in check. So getting enough zinc into the whole family is a good idea!
What about compliance?
One of the biggest hurdles when it comes to supporting your teen is that they tend to rebel! So while they might have been happy to eat their veggies and take whatever supplements you gave them even a year or two ago, now they’re more likely to refuse.
This is not unusual, and it’s not personal. The changes to their brain & hormones mean that they are constantly seeking dopamine and want to fit in with their friends. So we need to look at ways that allow you to support their wellbeing in a way that works for both of you.
With that in mind, here are a few ideas for increasing compliance:
Focus on when you do have control
There are going to be times when you won’t be able to influence your teen. This might be at school, on the weekends when they are out with their friends, or even when they are working. So rather than getting hung up on what they do when you’re not there? Focus on the times that you are there and able to make a difference.
For example, if you have a teen that is gone during the day, but is home for breakfast and dinner? Make sure that they are getting a nourishing brekkie with protein and a blood-sugar balancing dinner. That way, it minimises the impact of what they have during the day.
The other benefit of this is that you’re not adding extra stress onto your own plate. There’s no point pouring your energy into convincing a rebellious teen to take veggie sticks to their hangouts! So do yourself a favour and take the pressure off both you and your teen.
Crowd out rather than restrict
Do you remember being a teen and being told what you couldn’t have or do? I bet you went right ahead and had/did those things anyway! Restriction is a guaranteed way to set your teen up to rebel. But it can also lead to disordered eating habits and an unhealthy relationship with food down the track.
So rather than saying ‘don’t have junk with your friends’ or ‘no you can’t get canteen food’? Use the times that you do have control (as per the last tip) to crowd out the less healthy choices.
This way, you’re not telling your teen that they can’t have these things. Instead, you’re reducing what they have by filling them up with nourishing choices. With the meals & snacks you provide at home, make sure you’re providing plenty of:
- Healthy fats
That way, your teen might only have room for a medium Maccas meal or one form of junk food, rather than larger or multiple serves.
PS if you tend to rebel against healthy options or go overboard with your treats of choice, this is a great approach for yourself as well! If you’re unsure how to do this, download my FREE Balanced Meal Formula here.
Connect it to what is important to them
As much as you want your teens to be healthy, balanced and calm? They probably don’t care about that! But there are things that they do care about – so make sure you connect what you’re doing to support them with what is important to them.
Some examples include:
- Skin health – balanced meals will reduce breakouts, eating omega-3 and zinc-rich foods can minimise the inflammation of acne
- Painful periods – taking their iron supplement (if deficient) can reduce the painful, heavy bleeds, magnesium can ease menstrual cramps, balanced meals can balance the hormones that contribute to painful periods
- Hobbies & athletic performance – hydration can aid in recovery from sports, magnesium can ease muscle cramps and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) after exercise, balanced meals can support energy production for hobbies and sports
Of course, this will depend on what is most important to your teen! So take some time to figure out what symptoms and goals they have. From there, you can draw the connection to whatever you’re encouraging them to do for their health.
Are you ready to feel calm, in control, less stressed and able to put yourself first?
I know it doesn’t feel like it right now – especially when you add teens into the mix - but these things are within your reach.
Book in for a free discovery call today, and we can explore how I can help you to take care of yourself – mind, body and spirit.
Is it perimenopause hormone changes or something else making you cranky, exhausted, overwhelmed, and gaining weight in your 40s?
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