Parenting is all about patience. From waiting nine months for them to be born, to patiently staying up with them through the night when they’re a baby, helping them through the tumultuous potty training months, and as they struggle with homework. From the day you decide to become a parent, you’ve decided to take on a lifetime of attempting to be patient with your child. This can feel like a huge burden, and while you always put your best foot forward and try to remain as level-headed as you possible can be, there will be times that test your faith and cause you to lose your patience.

Struggling to find her identity

Your daughter will seem to know what she loves and what she loves to do, when she’s in her younger years. She’ll love the color pink and anything with glitter on it, while her favorite game is princess dressup. Or she’ll refuse to change out of the same stinky t shirt for days on end, choosing to spend her days in your backyard, gleefully destroying your garden with her plastic shovel. Somewhere in her early teen years, however, she may start to question who she is. This is a natural process, as she tries to figure out who she is and what she loves to do, as she grows from the child you knew, into a woman.

Embrace the transition

During this transitional time during puberty, it’s possible that your daughter will “try on” different identities. She’ll try to be more like her friends, whether you like them or not. You may be surprised when she comes out of the bathroom in the morning with thick black eyeliner hiding her beautiful blue eyes. You’ll be surprised when she decides to drastically change her wardrobe, no longer caring what the clothes look like, but what the label says. It can be hard to be patient with your daughter as she figures out who she is. You love your daughter, and you feel like you know who she is, but it’s important to not project your expectations onto her. Let her find out who she is for herself. It’s possible she’ll come full circle, and go back to acting the way she always did, and you just need to be patient.

Be wary of signs of depression

You want your daughter to be able to express herself however she feels is necessary, but during this transitional time of her life is when she’s most likely to start displaying signs of atypical depression. Watch out for a sudden drop in grades, frequent fights with you or her peers, seemingly persistent sadness or agitation/anxiety, and drastic changes in her behavior, such as going from a very extroverted individual to wanting constant isolation. If you suspect something more serious is going on, don’t hesitate to get help, to help her feel stable.