Tips for Parents on How to Deal with Teenage Mood Swings

Mood swings in teenage guys

The teenage years are often considered to be the best years of one’s life. Yet, it is also one of the rockiest years that one can go through understanding. An important aspect of parenting teenagers includes dealing with teenage mood swings. This can get frustrating and confusing for parents. Rolling eyes, slamming doors, bouts of crying, feeling cranky and irritable for no reason; rapidly changing moods without warning can get overwhelming for both parents and teenagers themselves. However, parents need to understand that mood swings are a normal part of adolescence and growing up.

The teenage years are a time in a teenager’s life when they go through an immense amount of physical, emotional, environmental and hormonal changes which can have a profound impact on their moods, behaviour and relationships. Hence, dealing with them requires parents to respond with patience, maturity and a high level of emotional intelligence.

In this blog post, we will share some tips for parents on how to deal with teenage mood swings to help them navigate this challenging time.

Respond and not react: The first step in dealing with teenage mood swings is for parents to understand the root cause of these mood swings.

Puberty and hormonal changes: Striking puberty brings with it emotional ups and downs which vary in their intensity depending on the environment and the situation your teenager is in. Research has shown that while teenage girls had far more intense mood swings, than teenage guys, they stabilised at a similar rate with age.

Pressure: Peer pressure, academic stress, and access to social media; teenagers in this day and age are under tremendous pressure to “fit in” and “be perfect” in whatever they do. Their fear of failing and being judged by their peers, parents, teachers and friends puts them in a space of emotional turbulence.

Transition from child to adult: Teenagers at this point in their lives are transitioning between childhood and adulthood. Moving from a stage of dependence to feeling the need to grow up and become independent adults can be frightening and overwhelming at the same time.

Considering all these factors, parents need to understand that their teenager is reacting to what is around them, based on what is happening inside of them. Hence, parents instead of reacting back need to be mindful and aware of their teenager’s challenges and respond empathetically to help them come to terms with their emotions.

Listen actively and communicate openly

Letting them know that you are there for them during this difficult phase will make it easier for your teenager to deal with their outbursts. It is important to listen to your teenager and give them a safe space emotionally, to let them express themselves. Judgemental or critical comments can make them defensive. Instead, try to have an open and honest dialogue with them.

Ask them questions about how they are feeling and what is causing them to behave in ways they are. Let them know that it is okay and normal to feel sad, angry or frustrated and that they will not be judged for feeling that way. Encourage them to express their emotions in a healthy way, such as talking to a friend, a confidante, a mentor or a parent, or even journaling it. If you are the lucky parent to whom your teenager opens up, ensure you remain neutral in your responses. Appreciate and genuinely compliment their strengths, talents and passions.

Set Boundaries

In dealing with your teenager’s mood swings, it is important to draw a line and set boundaries with them. Know that it is okay to let your teenager know when their behaviour is unacceptable or when they need to take responsibility for their actions. However, it is important to do this calmly and respectfully.

Demonstrate involvement

Build confidence in your teenagers about being there for them during such challenging times. Be present in their life without coming across as interfering. It helps to understand their perspective and gives them the freedom to make their own choices and make their own decisions. Be it academics or relationship challenges, offer your support to help them come up with a plan of action. Create meaningful rituals at home like regular dinner conversations or post-dinner walks to strengthen the bond with them. This will take them out of their pressure zones into a relaxed state of conversing about their emotions and what they are going through. Help them find resources, such as therapy or counselling if required.

Take care of yourself

Parenting a teenager can be an overwhelming experience making it imperative to take care of your own emotional and mental health. This can include taking breaks when needed, seeking support from friends or a therapist, and practising stress-reducing activities such as yoga or meditation. By taking care of yourself and your relationships you will be better equipped to handle your teenager’s mood swings as well as become a role model for them to emulate healthy coping strategies.

Conclusion

Dealing with teenage mood swings is not easy, but it is a normal part of adolescence. As a parent, it is important to be patient, empathetic and communicate openly with your teenager.

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