The teenage years can be a challenging time for both parents and teenagers. Mood swings, irritability, and emotional ups and downs are common during this period of life. However, understanding why a teenager is moody is the first step in helping them manage their emotions and navigate this difficult time. On this podcast episode, Maria discusses her checklist for dealing with moody teenagers, and provides insights into how parents can support their teenager during this time.
Maria recommends starting with food, sleep, physical health, and stressors in their life. Food is a big thing, especially for girls, especially when we get into the teen years because food can become a tricky thing. Parents should ask questions like when was the last time their teenager ate, what did they eat, what's the quality of the food they ate, and if they are getting enough protein and fiber with their meals. Sleep is also crucial, and teenagers need a lot of sleep. Parents should help their teenagers figure out how they can get good quality sleep, and if there are any big stressors going on in their life.
Anticipation of big events or changes, hormones, relationships, and ruminating over things are also important factors to consider. Parents should be aware of big events and changes in their teenager's life, and understand that it can lead to stress, anxiety, and mood swings.
Hormones can also affect teenagers, and it is normal for them to be a little tired and cranky before they get their period. Parents can track their teenager's menstrual cycle and help them balance their hormones by providing them with the support and care they need.
Relationships with friends, peers, and partners can also affect teenagers, and parents should be aware of any issues in their teenager's relationships. Parents should approach their teenager from a place of love and compassion and ask them what they need. By building trust and supporting them through these little moments, parents can create a relationship where their teenager will come to them for help with big moments in their life.
In addition to the above factors, parents should also be aware of their own emotional state and how it affects their teenager. By taking care of their own mental health and regulating their emotions, parents can better support their teenager during this time. Parents should also take the time to understand their teenager's personality and how they perceive the world. This can help them better understand their teenager's behavior and mood swings.
Dealing with moody teenagers can be challenging, but by using Maria’s checklist, parents can help their teenager navigate this difficult time in their life. By being aware of their teenager's physical health, stressors in their life, hormones, relationships, and ruminating over things, parents can help their teenager find the support and care they need to manage their mood swings. By building trust and supporting them through these little moments, parents can create a relationship where their teenager will come to them for help with big moments in their life. This approach can help parents and teenagers navigate the teenage years together, and emerge from this period of life with a stronger relationship and a deeper understanding of each other.
Here are some suggested action items to consider when dealing with a moody teenager:
- Check if the teenager has eaten recently and if they are eating properly: Food can have a significant impact on mood, especially for girls going through hormonal changes. It's important to ensure that your teenager is eating enough and getting the proper nutrients to fuel their body. Consider checking the quality of the food they are eating and if they are eating enough protein and fiber. If necessary, offer to help plan and prepare meals to ensure your teenager is getting the nutrition they need.
- Ensure the teenager is getting enough quality sleep: Teenagers need a lot of sleep, but with school, homework, and extracurricular activities, they often do not get enough. Help your teenager establish a healthy sleep routine and consider setting boundaries around cell phone use in the bedroom. Ensure they are getting enough rest to support their physical and emotional well-being.
- Consider if the teenager is burnt out and needs a break: Teenagers can become overwhelmed with schoolwork, sports, and other activities. Burnout can have a significant impact on mood and emotional well-being. Consider helping your teenager take a break from their routine and recharge. This could involve taking a day off from activities or reducing their responsibilities at home.
- Check if there are any big stressors or changes happening in the teenager's life: Big changes, like moving, starting a new school, or going through a breakup, can significantly impact a teenager's mood. Check-in with your teenager to see if there are any significant stressors in their life and offer support.
- Consider if the teenager is ruminating over things: Some teenagers tend to ruminate over things, replaying events in their head over and over. This can lead to negative emotions and moodiness. Help your teenager break the cycle of rumination by encouraging them to talk about their feelings and find ways to move forward.
- Consider if the teenager is struggling in school and needs support: School can be a significant source of stress for teenagers. If you notice your teenager is struggling in school, consider offering support, like helping them study or advocating for them with teachers.
- Check if there are any issues in the teenager's relationships that may be affecting their mood: Relationships with friends, peers, or partners can significantly impact a teenager's mood. Check-in with your teenager to see if there are any conflicts or issues that need to be addressed.
- Consider if the teenager is anticipating a big event or change that may be causing stress: Anticipation of significant changes, like going off to college or starting a new job, can cause stress and anxiety. Help your teenager prepare for these changes and offer support during the transition.
- Ask the teenager what they need and provide support without judgment or expectations: Finally, it's essential to listen to and support your teenager without judgment. Ask them what they need and offer support without placing expectations on them. By providing a safe and supportive space for them to express their feelings and needs, you can help them navigate their emotions and improve their mood.
Remember, dealing with a moody teenager takes patience, empathy, and understanding. These action items can help you support your teenager's emotional well-being and build a strong relationship with them.