The Four Stages of Teenage Girls
I am the lucky mother of not one but two beautiful teenage daughters. When they were younger, they loved to spend time with me going to the grocery store or just being in my general orbit. They always called after me, “mama, can I come with you?” Then as they grew older, they dropped the “mama” along with wanting to spend even five seconds anywhere near my general vicinity. They referred to me as “mmmooooommmmm” only when they wanted something. These different phases are commonly seen in human development, especially in girls. Like the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into a butterfly, there are various stages of the life cycle. Here are the stages of the human teenage girl.
The Teen Commences Stage—Bye, Bye Barbie
The first stage of butterfly development is referred to as “egg” since they are growing inside the egg. For the human teenager, this begins at around age 10 or 11. The mother first observes that all of their princess garb has been donated to Goodwill—even the precious tiaras. And then these species will start referring to their once beloved Barbie dolls—that they owned enough of to populate an entire city—as toys meant for “babies.” The most challenging aspect of this phase for the mother is that they no longer want to spend their time going grocery shopping or any other activity. The mother will discover that their daughter is doing unusual behaviors like, “rolling their eyes” anytime they interact with them. And their daughter is suddenly using lots of statements like, “mom you’re so embarrassing” or “I’m bored” and there is frequent use of the word, “no.”
The Silent Stage—What?
The second stage of butterfly development is the “larva or caterpillar” when they are ferociously eating everything in sight. The teenage girl development is the opposite—they remain out of sight and cease all forms of communication with the mother with the exception of the word “no”. The use of eye-rolling increases significantly along with feelings of boredom and the number of times they are embarrassed by their mother. This phase is also marked by the use of noise-canceling headphones so that all forms of the mother’s voice are totally terminated or silenced. Often the mother will try to speak to the teenage girl only to receive a lack of any response since they can’t hear anything. On rare occasions, the mother might hear an annoyed utterance of the word, “What?!” when the mother is literally standing in front of them waving their hands and shouting, “How was school today?”
The Anger Stage—The Villain Emerges
The third stage of the butterfly life cycle is the “pup or chrysalis” when metamorphosis of the caterpillar to the butterfly begins. For the teenage girl, this is when she transitions from the princess into the villain. All of that silence in stage two has been brewing like a simmering volcano that is ready to erupt. Any attempt at communication is met with resistance and anger with phrases like, “Mom I don’t need your advice!” or “Stop asking me how my day at school was!” or “You are so embarrassing!” The eye-rolling is so frequent that the mother wonders if this is some sort of medical condition since it’s not physically possible to willingly roll your eyes that much. Plus, there is a hint of disgust mixed with anger that protrudes from the end of the roll.
The Adult Stage—The Teenage Girl Transformed
The fourth and final stage of the butterfly metamorphosis is the “adult butterfly” when the butterfly materializes from the chrysalis—with their colorful wings fluttering all around. In this stage, the teenage girl finally removes her noise-canceling headphones from her ears and articulates full sentences without a hint of anger. The eye-rolling has diminished significantly—almost to extinction. The teenage girl willingly wants to spend time with the mother and even accompanies her to the grocery store—a full circle of the life cycle. Some have even observed them wearing a tiara, but you have to watch unnoticed from afar.
Even though the first three stages can be tough on the mother, stage four is worth the wait. Some might even refer to the daughter as a social butterfly.
Cheryl Maguire holds a Master of Counseling Psychology degree. She is married and is the mother of twins and a daughter. Her writing has been published in The New York Times, National Geographic, Washington Post, Parents Magazine, AARP, Healthline, Your Teen Magazine and many other publications. She is a professional member of ASJA. You can find her at Twitter @CherylMaguire05