Q Dear Pearl, I have a problem with my 12-year-old daughter.
Her rubbish father left us more than 10 years ago and we were alone until I got engaged two years ago.
I know what Auntie thinks, but her problem is not with the new man in my life, they get along well.
Then a month ago we told her that she is going to have a little sister. Yes, I am pregnant.
Now she is moody and onbeskof and doesn’t want to talk.
It’s like she always wants to find something for us to fight about.
Ons huis klink soos ‘n malhuis from the screaming and her slamming doors.
Of course we tell her that a baby will not change our love for her and that she will like having a sister, but any mention of this and she gets opgewerk.
Sometimes she is such a little brat that I want to slap her.
She never used to be like this. What can I do?
A Ag shame, hartjie, this is supposed to be one of the happiest times of your life and now you feel like it is being ruined.
It must feel as if your daughter is being so unreasonable and so unfair.
But here’s the thing: Your daughter is young and heading into her teenage years, a time of change for her and often a difficult one for kids!
Think back to when you were her age.
She will soon be a teenager and we all know how difficult and confusing this time it was.
She’s growing up and that’s not all she has to deal with.
She’s already having to accept a new “daddy” and now a new child.
Yoh, Auntie can understand why she is acting out a bit!
Remember, emotions are something a person can’t help having, but you can control what you do about them.
This can be difficult for an adult, wat nog te sê van ‘n kind.
For 12 years she was the centre of her mammie’s world.
Now in a short time, she not only has to deal with a new man in your life, but a new child as well.
Any child that age could feel a little unwanted, abandoned, second-best, or rejected in such a scenario.
It might sound ridiculous, but for a single child growing up with no father, and who is now 12 years old, that’s just the way things could look.
Of course she’s upset and scared. I mean, how many more surprises are you going to spring on her, she must be wondering.
So, what are you going to do about it?
Auntie suggests you start by acknowledging her feelings.
Tell her you can see she is angry and hurt and scared.
You and your fiancé are going to have to help her face her anger.
Don’t tell her not to have the feelings, just get her to cope with them.
It’s like Auntie said: She can’t help having emotions, but you can help her with how to handle them.
Meanwhile, make sure you give her what she needs love, attention and respect.
She is going to need special time with you, before and after the baby arrives.
Show her that she can trust you to always love her and be there for her.
Jemna, it’s gonna be a tough time for you all and you are going to have to put in some effort.
But Auntie knows you can do it. Good luck.