Have You Spoken to Your Family About Menopause??? - Ellen Dolgen

Have You Spoken to Your Family About Menopause???

If you’re in your 40s or 50s and you have kids in the house, you’re probably familiar with what I like to call “dueling hormones.” I’ve also seen this referred to as a “hormone house” or, my favorite, “mother nature’s practical joke.”

This is that ever-so-special time when Mom is going through perimenopause and menopause, and her kids are going through puberty, all under the same roof. Who just had a meltdown and locked themselves in their bedroom? Was it your daughter, son, or you? With all these hormonal fluctuations happening at once, things can get more than a little hectic!

Fortunately, amidst the chaos (which will often peak during the holidays or other high-stress times), there is a real opportunity to take these challenges and turn them into a time of growth and connection. Often, the anger or outbreaks that come with hormonal fluctuations are really just an overflow or projection of the same anger and frustration that we might harbor against ourselves.

One of the most difficult aspects of puberty for a parent to deal with is the oh-so-common communication shutdown. Many kids just stop talking to their parents. They don’t want to hear anything from you, and they don’t want to share anything with you! Your teenager is trying to find his or her own independence and confidence, so this kind of pushback is common and normal at this age. However, when you’re going through perimenopause and menopause, and you’re already feeling emotionally shaky yourself, it can be hard not to take this radio silence personally.

Try not to personalize their silence and outbreaks. Remind yourself that just as you are going through your own hormonal roller coaster and life-changing experiences, so are your kids. The difference is this is their first time at the hormone thrill park. Your kids may not have a perspective on what’s happening, but you have a wealth of experience to share with them.

When your family is together – no plans – no homework- just hanging out this can be a perfect time to flip the channel and break open the conversation about menopause with your loved ones. These conversations can be awkward at first, but so what?  Don’t you want your teenage children to be more prepared than you were about mid-life????

It seems natural that we talked about our reproductive lives with our kids, but why don’t we speak about women’s reproductive health and aging with them???? Women reach menopause at the end of their menstruation. The average age of menopause is 51. Is that so hard to communicate?

Let’s teach our children about this time in our lives so that they understand and embrace the lifestyle changes with ease and not fear.

You’re the parent, so you can be the first to give. Share your own challenges openly, so they know what you’re going through. This gives them an opportunity to relate to you, even if they don’t want to show it. Download my Menopause Mondays®Symptoms Chart.  Many women have found that going through the chart with their teens can help open up the conversation about what they’re both experiencing. Chances are that you and your teen can relate to sleepless nights and mood swings.

You may feel like an alien has swooped down and taken over your dear, sweet child, but remember, they may be looking at you with the same thoughts! Of course, every household is different, and it may take some tweaking to customize this loving approach to fit your own unique family structure. The more we educate and empower ourselves and our loved ones, the happier and more compassionate the whole house will be.

Ignore those rolling eyes—make eye contact and talk it out!

Remember:  Suffering in silence is OUT!  Reaching out is IN.

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*EllenDolgen.com does not recommend, endorse or make any representation about any tests, studies, practices, procedures, treatments, services, opinions, healthcare providers, physicians, or medical institutions that may be mentioned or referenced.

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