Ask the Expert: Barb Steinberg on Growing Pains
These days we have so much information at our fingertips to help solve any parenting dilemma (admittedly, most of the times we may have too much). You could argue the Internet was both the best and worst thing to ever happen to parenting.
Despite the sometimes overwhelming amount of information, it’s still nice to consult a parenting expert once in a while to get some new ideas, advice and even a dose of perspective.
At LiveMom, we want to help answer your questions, and so we’ll be starting a regular feature called Ask the Expert. We’ll take on anything from potty training to car seats to dealing with kids and technology to anything in between. Then, we’ll find local and national experts to help guide us to make the best choices for our families.
Our first question is one that speaks to the bittersweet element of our kids growing up. The question is:
How do I maintain a close relationship with my daughter as she grows up?
Our expert is Barb Steinberg, LMSW. Barb’s bio on her website notes that she is a teen life coach and workshop facilitator who “transforms the lives of adolescent girls and the adults who care about them”. Barb is a licensed, masters-level social worker with over 20 years of experience working with teens and their families.
Barb is leading a few workshops for parents this spring, including one called My Daughter, My Self, which is taking place this Saturday, February 23rd from 9:30-11:30am at the Griffin School in north central Austin. Preregistration is required at barbsteinberg.com.
Here’s her answer on how to deal with growing pains that parents can experience:
When our daughters enter early adolescence, they begin the developmental task of separation and individuation – becoming a separate person from their parents and families. So, when we begin to see this, it can bring up sadness for us as parents: not wanting them to pull away, wanting to maintain the sweet moments of cuddling at bedtime, watching movies together or having them come home and tell you all about their day or their friends, for example. We see those moments happening less and less, and it is hard for us to accept the changes in our relationship. Sometimes, we push for it not to change.
By separating from us during adolescence, our girls discover who they are, what they want and don’t want and how they are different from their family members. They do this by branching out and creating intimate relationships outside of their family. To ease our resistance to this natural event, it can help us to have a mind shift – to feel the newfound distance and remind ourselves that this is supposed to happen – that this is a good thing for our girls. That she is right on track for growing into a strong, happy, independent person… In other words, to come from a place of allowing rather than resistance. Remind her with hugs, kisses, notes, smiles, laughter and your quiet presence, that you are here. Send her the message that you will always be here…even in the moments that she seems to not want you and in the moments when she very clearly needs you.
What do you do to stay close to your daughter as you feel her pulling away?