Having a moody child, especially a teenager, can be one of the most trying challenges a parent can face. Every day is like a battle field in the house, they won’t eat, sleep or talk and you might be at wits end on how to handle them.
While sometimes this phase can gradually pass as they transition into adulthood, other times your child could be suffering from anxiety or social deprivations. If you are having a problem connecting with your teenager, here are some ways you can handle the situation:
Accept your child’s growth
It can be depressing to lose your once sweet child now turning into a prickly adult. However, hormones can play a big part in their mood changes. Your children might be struggling to break away and gain independence but you won’t let them.
While the urge to treat them like babies is always there, it is important to understand they are now able to start making some decisions. Small steps such as choosing their friends, what to wear is a big step in getting them to trust and open up to you.
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Don’t judge them
You are probably thinking your child is being outrageous with their mood swings but try and remember how the transition was for you. Were you any better or easier?
Teenagers are at a vital stage where they are transitioning from child to adult, it will take time to adjust and come back to you.
Do not be a nag or start making comparisons to your teenage years. Remember social setups and needs have changed and how they perceive growth has also been affected.
Create a safe space
Once you notice your child is having a hard time coping with the changes, be calm and approachable. Create a safe space for them to talk to you about anything.
Sometimes your teenager might reveal something you find difficult to accept or condone, however it is important to listen without judgement and anger. Talk about the issue and let them know the consequences and where you stand.
When you unfairly reprimand your child after they trust you with an issue, they will be hesitant to open up to you again. Having an open channel of communication with your teenager will discourage them from having toxic people advising them.
Set clear boundaries on communication
Since this phase can be depressing for both parent and child, in order to avoid numerous confrontations, set clear boundaries through your communication. Make it clear to them that they cannot miss meal times or sit out on game nights.
It is important to spend family time together no matter what they are going through, it may help in the long run when they are feeling disconnected. At the end of the day you are still in charge and they should not be carried away by their emotions into thinking they can boss you.
Set them up with someone they love
Sometimes it takes a third party for your child to open up, it might be hard but if your child is not free with you this might be an option. Set them up with their favourite aunt, uncle or even a family friend they love and look up to that can easily get information from them and advise them.
However, once your messenger reports back to you, do not reinforce what they said or confront your child. You will only burn the bridge your ‘messenger’ has to your child. So long as your child is okay wait until they are ready to talk to you. They always come back ultimately.
Tip: When you suspect your child may be suffering from stress, seek help from a professional to help them through the transition.