Understand the psychological changes your teen is going through

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You may have already noticed that your daughter is experiencing some emotional changes as she is entering puberty. Faced with all these changes, she might be a little lost and in need of your help and support.

Here are a few topics you can discuss with your daughter, to help her understand the psychological changes during puberty she is going through.

Puberty changes how you think

'Cognitive development' means you're now beginning to think more abstractly – like an adult rather than a child.

You can express your feelings a lot better

Your feelings might start to make more sense to you. You've got the words and experience to begin expressing what you're feeling more fully, whether you're happy or sad. This gives you a clearer sense of 'self' – of who you are.

You feel really emotional

Does it feel like you’re losing your temper easily with friends and your family (your parents, in particular)? Do little things that wouldn't have bothered you before now drives you bonkers? Are your sibling(s) might really get on your nerves? Well feeling angry is normal during puberty because of the hormonal changes. In fact, for the same reason, many women get edgy just before their periods. 'Mood swings' are also common symptoms of emotional changes during puberty. This is when you feel really happy one minute and then quite angry or even sad the next.

So if you're feeling angry you may want to count to 10 (surprisingly, it works) and think about it before you yell at your family or friend.

You cry a lot

You may cry because of something very serious that makes you feel sad or disappointed – or you may burst into tears because you left your favourite hair band in the gym. This is also normal. It happens to a lot of women having Premenstrual Syndrome too and will happen to most girls throughout puberty. Just accept that you're a little emotional right now.

You feel a lot more womanly

Some girls find that they're feeling more feminine, sometimes or all the time. Whether you prefer playing football or talking about nail polish, remember – it's all normal.

You think you're weird

You probably compare yourself to your friends, and feel like there's something wrong with you. You may feel unsure of yourself. Well guess what? Everyone else does, too. Your personality is growing and you're becoming even more unique – just when all you want is to fit in more easily! Fortunately, your personality will win this one, and you'll become a self-assured adult. Just remember that everyone else your age is self-conscious too, so chances are they’ll be busy worrying about themselves too!

Puberty will pass: don't freak out

You'll hear over and over again, how typical all of this is, but that's because it really is normal. You may not completely believe this now, but puberty is a special time in your life; a chance to learn about yourself. Here are some practical ways for keeping emotional changes during puberty in perspective:

Take care of yourself – be careful with food cravings (like wanting only ice cream for dinner). Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables. Exercise. This is good for your body and mind. Taking your anger out on a tennis ball or treadmill can also make you feel great again, too.

Talk to someone – give your parents and teachers a chance and you’ll find they can be really helpful. You can count on other adults too, if you're more comfortable with that. Your friends might really appreciate knowing that you're going through the same thing they are, but don't depend on them for the right information. Go to someone who's been through it.

Concentrate on school and hobbies – your brain is growing, and this is a great opportunity to use it. The hobbies that you liked in the past will be even more fun now, and you'll develop new interests. Doing something creative is another great way to express all your new emotions.

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