Navigating surgical menopause while juggling home and work life can be challenging enough, add hormonal teens to the mix and things can quickly become explosive! It wasn’t until I sat my teenage daughters down to explain what menopause is, that some balance resumed.
Yes, at times I was met with a slightly disinterested, glazed over look but that was most likely caused by the volume of information I imparted - it was as though I’d opened Pandora’s Box, lifted the lid and everything I’d learned about menopause sprung out!
Thanks to the #MakeMenopauseMatter campaign, led by lovely Diane Danzebrink, Menopause has now been added to the sex and relationships curriculum (as of September 2020) which will provide secondary school age children with an insight into the menopause. This will not only prepare them for their own hormone journey, it will give them the tools to understand what could be going on with their mother/guardian/grandmother/sister/aunt. So how do you get the menopause conversation started with teenagers? I asked my teenage daughters for feedback and they’ve kindly shared some tips.
Share the facts
Apparently I have a tendency to “waffle on”. To keep your teens engaged, share facts and statistics.
Use Info graphics
My teens found it useful when I showed them info graphics. There are some excellent ones available on the BMS page.
Briefly explain how menopause symptoms are impacting you. If you’re struggling with fatigue, tell them. My teens have admitted they feared I was seriously ill as post-surgery I was so withdrawn, pale, tired and weak.
Put together an amended chores list.
It’ll no doubt be met with eye rolls and groans but it’s important to teach them that it’s okay to ask for help.
If you’re feeling really irritable, it’s best to tell them, otherwise they may think they’ve done something wrong.
When my HRT runs out, I always become really forgetful. To teens, this could come across as though you’re not listening. Explain why you’re forgetful and ask them to bear with you.
Don’t try and hide your symptoms
As parents we try and protect our children from the hard stuff but give them credit, they may seem disinterested or absorbed in their phones but they can tell when things aren’t right and as parents we often teach that honesty is the best policy.
By hiding your symptoms it can come across that hormone fluctuations and struggles are something that needs to be hidden or ashamed of, when instead we need to teach our teens that it’s okay to not be okay.
Explain what you’re doing to keep yourself well
Whether you’re exploring HRT options, going the natural route or having to put aside some time to relax or workout, let them know. It’s helpful to let them know that you’re trying your best to stay fit and healthy and offers them some reassurance.
Finally, ask them if they have any questions. Be prepared for questions like; how long does it last? Will it happen to me?