Why do teenagers' moods change?Your teen’s mood can whipsaw back and forth for many reasons. Remember, children and teens are dealing with issues we’ve long forgotten.
HormonesMood changes increase at the onset of puberty as the body transforms from adolescence to adulthood. Hormones play a prominent role in this behavior. The body is growing and changing rapidly and in a constant state of transformation. Hormones can be the root cause of a teenager's emotional roller coaster that disrupts the entire family dynamic.
Brain Development and Self-Awareness.Mood swings and emotional outbursts are often the results of increased self-awareness because the brain is changing. It is learning how to function in a world that’s suddenly expanded from a family-centered focus to gaining a new understanding that there is a world beyond the neighborhood and family. This increase in self-awareness has teens asking if they look okay, do others like them, do they like others. This increased awareness can cause anxiety, extreme emotional distress, and mood changes. A teen who has suffered from an emotionally traumatic event may move into a constant mode of anxiousness or anger. Many teenagers have not learned emotional coping skills and how to stay in control of themselves.
SleepLack of sleep increases mood changes in teens. The sleep cycle in teens is often disrupted as they grow. Adolescents need 8-10 hours of sleep every night but often obtain far less due to insomnia, electronics, or school schedules. Teenagers often find themselves in a cycle of sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep can cause more issues than mood swings. It can cause anxiety and depression.
StressHigh expectations, self-awareness, and sleep deprivation contribute to stress. This combination spells disaster when it comes to teens and mood swings. The outbursts can become extreme and stressful for any family.
NeurodiversityNeurodivergent adolescents struggle even more as their brains and bodies begin to change. They may practice avoidance when confronted. These emotional outbursts and mood changes are exhausting. The increased mood swings catch parents unaware, and your teen can end up in a frenzy of anger. Neurodivergent teens are more susceptible to anxiety and depression. They often struggle with coping skills that range from self-regulation to organization. These factors all contribute to mood changes and often to extremes.
What helps with teenage mood swings?What can you do right now to help your teen with his mood swings? Here are some things you can start today to help.
- A healthy diet and fitness regimen are proven to tame teen mood swings. Ensure your child is eating plenty of lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits and getting outside daily for fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. Even a 15-minute bike ride can have wonderful benefits.
- Remain cool and calm when your teen has a sudden outburst. It’s okay to say, “Let’s talk about this when things are calmer.”
- Quality Sleep – Encourage your teen to try various sleep strategies, like white noise or meditation to improve their sleep quality.
What helps to prevent teenage mood swings?The best thing you can do is stop the mood swings before they happen!
- Talk to your teenager about what’s happening and explain why they might feel the way they are.
- Teach your adolescent self-awareness and how to walk away from explosive moments.
- Seek outside help. There may be a bigger issue occurring. Seeing a therapist or psychologist may help pinpoint the problem.