As LosTweens & Teens continues to broaden its Editorial focus, we’re introducing various Series that are important topics for our parents. A new contributor joins us to discuss the ‘sensitive’ topic of developing hormones- an issue we all will face. The story is being reproduced en Español so stay tuned for more. We hope you’ll share your ideas and feedback. Gracias!
How Mothers Can Help Their Tweens Embrace
Their Feminine Superpowers at Puberty
Jessica Drummond, MPT, CHC
How well do you know your hormones? Do you know that around Day 13 of your menstrual cycle your testosterone and estrogen levels peak making you feel more comfortable taking risks and giving you more natural confidence? Wouldn’t that be some cool information to share with your tween, so that at a time when she’s feeling increasingly self-conscious, she can begin to tap into her natural superpowers?
By the time your daughter reaches “tweenhood,” you are inching closer to your 40’s, if you’re not already there, and you are probably feeling a bit burned out, and “hormonal” yourself. Given our fast paced lifestyle, most of us moms juggle a lot, and over time that juggling act can wear out the foundation of your precious hormone system, your adrenal glands. When your adrenals are tired out, you have a lower tolerance to stress, you crave sweets (I know you have a stash of candy in your desk!), and you can’t get out of bed without your coffee. Plus, your libido feels shot, and you barely have the energy to deal with evening homework time with your daughter, never mind sit with her to pass along the wisdom of her hormones.
When your menstrual cycle starts, Day 1, estrogen and testosterone levels begin to increase. During these first two weeks of your cycle, you should feel increasingly energized and your confidence should soar. If you feel sluggish or tired, your hormones could be out of whack, and they should be checked out.
Then, ovulation hits around Day 14, and then estrogen and testosterone levels drop off. Progesterone and estrogen levels will rise during the middle of the 3rd week of your cycle and then begin to drop off again as your cycle ends at the end of week 4. (Assuming that you’re not pregnant, in which case progesterone would stay elevated to support your growing baby.) Testosterone stays low during the entire second half of your menstrual cycle (after ovulation.) The second half of the menstrual cycle is called the luteal phase.
During the luteal phase it is normal to feel more grouchy, tired, and uninspired. You might feel a little blah, or even angry or sad. But, this phase is also a great time to tune into your powers of compassion, empathy, and intuition.
There are some basic keys that can keep the hormones of all girls and women optimally balanced, and keep our feminine superpowers in top condition! First, add nutrients to your meals. While eventually it is best to limit caffeine and sugar, it’s best to begin by adding tons of nutritious foods before you take anything away. Sometimes those chocolate craving are simply a signal from your body and brain, that you or your daughter need more magnesium. Add a healthy green smoothie to your breakfast. Eat almonds as a snack. Enjoy a delicious veggie soup or salad with your dinner. Next, be sure that both of you spend at lease a little time almost every day playing outside. Go for a 20-minute walk, play a game of tag, or run around the neighborhood playground. You can even walk barefoot in the sand or in the garden for extra benefits.
The more you and your daughter understand about your feminine hormone system, and it’s effects on your bodies and brains, the easier it will be for both of you to step out as confident, powerful, and compassionate leaders in our world.
As a mother of twin tweens in 2011 and an active Girl Scout Troop leader, Cristy realized there was a need to develop bilingual digital content and foster a community facing the challenges of raising kids after first grade. That year she founded and remains co-Publisher of Los Tweens & Teens, to support multicultural parents and mentors with content related to raising Gen Z- tweens & teens ages 7-18. Through the Los Tweens & Teens LIVE events such as Teens & Me – the growing team aims to provide our community with essential resources from chats with therapists to battle anxiety and bullying, to understanding social media and technology.
A New Jersey native of Cuban decent, Cristy is a board member of Amigos For Kids – a non-profit organization dedicated to preventing child abuse in the South Florida community. She is a teenage cancer survivor and speaks nationally at conferences and volunteers with cancer-awareness organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of South Florida.