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If you're in your 40s or 50s and you have kids in the house, you're probably familiar with what I like to call "dueling hormones." I've also seen this referred to as a "hormone house" or, my favorite, "mother nature's practical joke."

This is that ever-so-special time when Mom is going through perimenopause and menopause, and her kids are going through puberty, all under the same roof. Who just had a meltdown and locked themselves in their bedroom? Was it daughter, son, or Mom? With all these hormonal fluctuations happening at once, things can get more than a little hectic!

Fortunately, amidst the chaos (which will often peak during the holidays or other high-stress times like the start of a new school year), there is a real opportunity to take these challenges and turn them into a time of growth and connection. Often, the anger or outbreaks that come with hormonal fluctuations are really just an overflow or projection of the same anger and frustration that we might harbor against ourselves. Working on yourself and your own personal growth, knowing your body to be prepared for perimenopause and menopause will help ease the super tense dynamics that can develop with the people closest to you.

One of the most difficult aspects of puberty for a parent to deal with is the oh so common communication shutdown. Many kids just stop talking to their parents. They don't want to hear anything from you, and they don't want to share anything with you! Your teenager is trying to find his or her own independence and confidence, so this kind of pushback is common and normal at this age. However, when you're going through perimenopause and menopause, and you're already feeling emotionally shaky yourself, it can be hard not to take this radio silence personally.

In a recent article, psychologist Bruce Fischer spoke of how to deal with the opposite side of silence, outbursts. For everyone in the family, "the first step is learning to recognize when you're being emotionally over the top. ... The moms are just worn out, and you have this collision of issues. When [your children] are in those intense emotional states, either leave them alone or just listen until they de-escalate. Ignore the content, which can often be illogical. Focus on what they're feeling, and remember that kids at this age sometimes need to win a conflict, or at least tie."  

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