Without much warning and often little provocation, the beast awakens. You brace yourself. A little fear even flashes in your eyes. With eye rolling, snarky comments, snapping, and yelling, your teenager unleashes their attitude. Like a ferocious and unpredictable monster, they tear into everything and everyone around them.
At least… that’s how you may perceive the whole matter.
Is your perception a little exaggerated? Certainly.
But sometimes the intensity of their mood swings makes you truly feel like you have to don the armor and get ready for battling the dragon.
How can you survive and, at the same time, not make your teen a casualty in this conflict?
The Keys – Perception, Empathy, and Understanding
Teenagers are not monsters. They’re just struggling with their emotions and inadequacies. Considering everything that is going on with their bodies and brains, it’s no wonder.
During the teenage years, human bodies undergo drastic changes. There is a surge of hormones that leads to major developments. That often means growth spurts, pimples, voice changes, or the emerging of other adult features. These physical changes can leave your teen feeling awkward, uncomfortable, and insecure.
Hormones are also responsible for reorganizing your teen’s brain during this stage to make it more efficient and prepared for adulthood. The part of their brain that handles planning, judgment, and self-control is the last one to get this upgrade. For that reason, your teen may have very strong passions and convictions but lack the ability to manage their emotions.
This advanced brain development takes time. It’s a journey that will help them to become more independent and to form their own identity apart from their parents, but it can also cause confusion and frustration. The result: major mood swings.
So, while it may be frustrating for you as well to see your adorable child turn into an unstable and moody teenager, keep in mind the amazing work their bodies are performing at the time. And try to remember how it was when you were a teen and show compassion.
The Remedies – Support, Balance, and Encouragement
Consider some things that you can do to help your teen and yourself deal with the situation.
- Let them know they’re not alone in this – Help them feel that they’re not abnormal. Share some of your teenage experiences and tell them that they can talk to you about anything that bothers them at any time.
- Encourage them to be creative – Creativity, like painting, drawing, building, cooking, writing, and more, can help them express their emotions in a healthy way.
- Give them love and attention – Show them that they’re loved and noticed. When they get moody, stay calm, listen without being judgmental, and be supportive.
- Give them space – Be mindful of their emotions and let them have their privacy when they need it. Should emotions run high, teach them to step back, look at the situation from another angle, and let the mood pass.
- Assure that they get plenty of rest – Their body and brain are working overtime. It’s imperative they get regular and sufficient sleep each night. It will make a big difference in their ability to control their emotions and will increase their confidence.
- Motivate them to exercise – Exercise makes the body release feel-good chemicals. Your teen may be playing in a sports team, but make sure they get plenty of exercise in the off-seasons as well.
- See to it that they eat consistent meals – Although most teenagers eat healthier today than in times past, they also need to eat regularly. Their body and brain need consistent fuel to carry out the massive rebuilding work they’re doing.
Remember, if you put forth the effort to help your teen’s mood go from unpredictable and scary to manageable, it’s a win-win situation for everyone!