Parents often ask me how to get along with their suddenly volatile preteen daughter. It’s a shock when your previously sweet little girl starts throwing tantrums again. Twelve year old girls can be moody, overdramatic, self-centered, focused almost solely on friends, close-mouthed, surly, back-talking and condescending to parents. They can, of course, also be mature, affectionate and delightful, but at their worst they’re a cross between the most challenging aspects of toddlers and teens.
The bad news is that your tween’s developing body is flooded by hormones; her need to discover herself and her place in the world takes priority over the other things she values (like her family and schoolwork), and she probably can’t acknowledge how much she still loves and needs you, because she’s working hard to feel “grown up” and independent. The good news is that if you can accept this new situation and adjust your parenting accordingly, the tween years are the perfect time to solidify your relationship, before she heads into the teen years.