One of the most frustrating things that parents deal with is mood swings in kids. I hate the feeling that I must walk on eggshells around one of them because they’re in a bad mood or that I must consistently give them space because they just don’t feel like talking.
How many of you have felt this after your child plays a bad game? Or after they lose? Or after a discouraging practice?
This is obviously an issue that gets more challenging as kids get older. Moody teens and even young 20-somethings are often frustrating to be around. It’s hard to always be wondering if your child is in a good or bad mood and whether you should try to talk to them or just keep quiet. It gets discouraging when you try to talk and get shut down.
I wish there was an easy solution for this, but unfortunately, it’s one of those immature characteristics that we must learn to love and hopefully we can love them right out of it!
Here’s what I’ve learned after 31 years of being a mom:
It’s important to stay true to who you are. Don’t let a bad attitude squash you. If your child only growls in the morning, say a cheerful good morning and leave it at that. No need to clam up or growl back.
Don’t declare war on their moodiness. Sometimes a joke or a hug can cure your child’s moodiness, and sometimes it can’t. If you can’t lighten the mood with a simple attempt, then let it go. Declaring war on moodiness in an attempt to eradicate or punish your child for their blues is a losing battle. It only digs the hole deeper.
Don’t take their moodiness as a personal assault. This one is really hard for me. When my 25-year-old, who lives with us, is introverting and doesn’t want to chat, I tend to take it personally and I let it get to me.
Your child’s mood is usually not because of you, it’s because of what’s going on in their head.
Give your child some space. If your child is not in a talkative mood, nothing you say or do will pull a sincere conversation out of them. Let it go. Forcing it will only make matters worse.
Be honest with your child about your feelings. There will be a time for honest conversation and that time is usually when your child is receptive and feels like talking. At that point, it’s okay to share that their moodiness affects you and that when they ignore you or don’t want to talk, it makes you sad. Kids need to know that how they act does affect others.
Be Patient. Hopefully, this moodiness a phase that they will soon outgrow. But it is a slow process and I want to warn you that it can last into their 20s. Millennials have their own set of issues and the parenting/child relationship changes shape, but it’s still there. The most important thing is that your kids know you love them, no matter what.
Moodiness in athletes can be attached to a whole host of issues: playing time battles, conflicts with the coach, teammate skirmishes, or performance frustrations. When your child climbs out of the bad mood, look for opportunities to help your child get to the heart of the matter and learn to deal with the issue that set off their bad mood in the first place.
Parents need coaches too! If you are struggling with a moody child and need help, please schedule a free 30-minute introductory coaching session here.