I'm sure it's no secret that Anna and I are experiencing some definite mom vs. pre-teen friction these days. Last night, we had a standoff of epic proportions over her taking her phone to bed with her and she ended up getting so upset with me, she hyperventilated and I had to have her breathing into a paper bag to calm herself down. We had a good long talk afterward, and she really unloaded on me about some of the things that are bothering her. Most of it was general school and girl drama, and for most of it, she was making vast mountain ranges out of tiny little molehills.
I know a lot of that is just part and parcel to her being flooded with hormones and growing up and all the baggage that goes with it. Still, it's been worrying me, so I did some research. It turns out that young women handle their parents' divorce very differently than their brothers do. Most boys show an immediate effect, lashing out, misbehaving or isolating themselves. Girls tend to seem like they're handling it better, until....
Until they start growing up, and learning about relationships and making decisions about people they're going to have relationships with.I found an article about a really interesting study done back in the late 80's by Dr. Judith Wallerstein that focused on the after-effects of divorce on children. The study found the "sleeper effect" in 66 percent of the young women in the study, and more than half of those girls were seriously compromised by it. The study went on to conclude:
The sleeper effect occurs at a time when these young women are making decisions with long-term implications for their lives. Faced with issues of commitment, love and sex in an adult context, they are aware that the game is serious. If they tie in with the wrong man, have children too soon, or choose harmful life styles, the effects can be tragic. Overcome by fears and anxieties, they begin to make connections between these feelings and their parents' divorce....Our study strongly indicates, for the first time, that girls experience serious effects of divorce at the time they are entering young adulthood.
It makes perfect, if heartbreaking sense. Anna is just now starting to really talk to boys at school as more than just buddies. She's venturing into the scary world of potential relationships. I'm wondering how much of this chaos at home is hormones, how much is fallout, or maybe it's a combination of both. Have any of you with pre-teen and teen daughters experienced a delayed effect in your daughter?
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