Emotional Changes: Tenth Grade

Tenth Grade • Things probably seem to be settling down at home - fewer slammed doors or screaming arguments - but don't be surprised if she unexpectedly regresses to the sort of behavior she was displaying two or three years ago. It's not unlike early childhood: Just when you think she's fully potty-trained, she goes and has an accident on your Persian rug.

• If she's not talking much, experts say, she could be contemplating something very important: Don't assume that her silence indicates boredom or lack of interest in her surroundings. She's probably preoccupied with something she feels unsure about. Teenagers often think they're heroes at the center of a dramatic story. She could see herself as the great hope for professional women's soccer, or the heroine of some dark morality tale, where she will show by her example that everyone around her is corrupt and hypocritical. This sort of fable-making can do two things: It will either cause her to be idealistic and strive for success, or it will falsely lead her to believe that she, the lead character in an ongoing drama, cannot get pregnant, cannot get addicted to drugs and cannot die.

• This lack of belief in her own mortality unfortunately coincides with a period of high experimentation: She's still trying on different self-images and constantly testing the boundaries around her. What can she get away with? How hard can she push? These are questions she needs answered. Try not to overreact in either direction, by allowing her too much leeway or coming down too hard on her for minor infractions just to prove that you're still in charge.


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