Got a moody teenager?
If you haven’t experienced it yet, you will. One day your precious child will wake up and not like you–AT ALL.
You make think you have experienced some hard times parenting a five-year-old, but you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. In fact, there is a big difference when your 5-year-old is moody, and when your 16-year-old is moody.
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I don’t doubt a 5-year-old can act badly, but a 16-year-old can conjure up the force of nature and create a whirlwind. It is a sight to see…
Unfortunately, I have experienced this problem a few times (or more) in my parenting journey.
In this post, I am going to tell you how to deal with a moody teenager. But first, let’s look at some of the big mood swings you may have to experience.
Is It Normal For a Teenager to Be Angry All the Time?
For the most part, teens are moody. Many times they get angry at you because “you don’t understand.” If the anger comes and goes, it is probably normal.
What is not normal are destructive teenage behaviors such as cutting, isolation, drug and alcohol use, anxiety, or violence. Get help before it gets out of control.
Here are some things your moody teen may do:
1. Door slamming
This is a favorite of a moody teenager. It’s loud and gets to the point. I suggest you go back and have your teen open and close the door correctly a few times. Maybe 10x first offense, and 20x for the next offense.
If the door slamming doesn’t stop, there is the remove-the-door-completely-until- further-notice option. That works.
First, were you yelling? Don’t yell. Chances are if you keep your voice down, your teen will too. Second, if your teen does start to yell then stop. Say nothing. Stare at him for a few seconds and let things cool off. Then talk in a very quiet voice.
If your teen won’t calm down, state that you will continue the conversation when he can talk in a regular voice. Don’t allow yelling at your house. Period. It is not a good form of communication with your spouse or your kids. (Unless there is a fire or a snake.)
This option is for those moody teenagers who know they can’t yell at you, so they do the crying-hysterically-loud-scream-cry. It makes the regular ugly cry look like a drop of water.
I recommend you leave the room and not give into the dramatics. Staying in the room to watch gives your teen an audience. You are the audience…lucky you.
Let the preteen/teen cry it out, and then talk about it later that day when things have calmed down. Consequently, you might mention that she will never get what is wanted with a tantrum.
4. Silent treatment
This one is a doozy. Let there be a cooling-off period. Not hearing from your teen for an hour or two is ok. Actually, it’s wonderful but eventually, it has to stop.
The “silent treatment” isn’t a good way to deal with problems. If you give the silent treatment to your spouse or to your kids, then you know where they learned it. You. Ouch
First, work on eliminating that behavior from your own life. Secondly, work on your moody teenager. In times of non-conflict, discuss the “silent treatment.”
Define what it is, and suggest other tools for dealing with conflict. Furthermore, admit you do it and are going to stop if that is the case. You must expect your children to be courteous to everyone in the household.
If that is not possible, tell your teenager to go back to her room until she can be nice to everyone.
5. Destroying things
If your moody teenager kicks a hole in the wall or destroys something, it has gone to a new level. The teen needs to pay for the item in full and help repair it. He can work off the cost by doing chores around the house.
Repair the destroyed item a day or two later together when things are calmed down. This will give you a chance to talk about the situation in full while you are working. If you have to hire out, your teen needs to help the repairman fix it.
If it happens again, I suggest getting a punching bag, hitting a pillow with a tennis racquet, or screaming into a pillow. I have even seen kids carry a squeeze ball around to deal with the anger.
You need to emphasize destroying things is not appropriate. See if your child will talk with you and your spouse or a counselor. There is definitely a problem.
*If a parent is destroying things in anger, then it will be hard to have your teenager stop. You have to be willing to act appropriately so you can model the same good behavior to kids.
How Do You Deal With a Moody Teenager? 5-Ways to Help
If you are knee-deep in the tween and teen years, you will probably have a few days when your teenager hates you and loves you within the same hour. You need to step out of yourself and realize this is a phase. You will get through this. It doesn’t last forever.
Here are some tips to help you deal with a moody teenager:
1. Acknowledge the pain
It hurts when your teenager says mean things to you. If you feel it was inappropriate, ask for an apology.
Remember: You are not your teen’s best friend. It is important to develop good mom friends.
They are your friends. Not your child. You have to be the parent right now. There will be a day when you will be great friends, just not today.
2. Consider why you have a moody teenager
There could be lots of reasons your teen is temperamental. Perhaps he is tired, stressed, experienced a breakup, social media issues, homework, sports, friends, etc.
Did you realize this generation has more pressure than any other generation socially, academically, and athletically? It is a lot to handle day after day, year after year.
Talk with your teen and see if you can work together to navigate through the problems. Encourage and love him when he is down. If he won’t talk, see if he will talk with the other parent, family friend, or youth minister.
3. Stay appropriate
You need to stay appropriate even when your teenager is not acting nicely. I know, I know…it’s REALLY hard. I have lost it a few times. When you do lose your temper, you need to apologize even when your teen doesn’t want to apologize.
Teach your teenager how to act, so he can get what he wants in an appropriate way. The goal is to reasonably talk through a situation. Not escalate the situation with your bad behavior too.
4. Refuse to let rejection define you
It’s easy to think everyone hates you because your teen really dislikes you right now. It is not true.
Your teen is becoming a person outside of you. Moreover, know who you are in Christ, and keep coming back to that identity. Not the identity your teen has decided about you.
5. Make changes, if needed
Ask your teenager how you can help. You may need to make some changes in your parenting. Perhaps you need to spend more time listening to your teen, doing things together, or get him to bed earlier. Try to find the root problem so you can resolve the issue.
If your teenager is depressed, start with social media. This is one of the most destructive things your teen will probably experience. Start limiting the time he spends with technology.
If you can’t figure it out, start praying. Even fast. Fasting and prayer are your greatest weapons in parenting.
At What Age Do Teenage Mood Swings Stop?
For those teens who lean to the dramatics, it may take a few years to reinforce that bad behavior is not going to work. Furthermore, it is your job to show nothing is gained by being irritable or rude. That means you need to adhere to this too.
Above all, you CANNOT give in when your teen acts this way. Do not reward bad behavior.
To sum it up, your teen needs you to be the parent despite all the dramatics. Don’t get distracted from the real goal which is to help your child get through the teen years successfully.
I hate to say it, but some of this goes away when they get older. Like over 21… You are going to have to be patient and wait it out. Stay strong. You will survive. One day they will be normal again.
Ivana from Find Your Mom Tribe can also help you with your difficult teenager. Check out this blog post Rebellious Child? 6 Parental Strategies To Handle Rebellion. She had great biblical wisdom for parents who want to raise their kids God’s way.
How do you deal with your moody teenager? Comment below.
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