Why Your Teenager Might Be Moody And How You Can Help

Parents will often mention how moody their teenagers are and while this is a painful experience, it is one that is part and parcel of them growing up.

That’s not to say every teenager will be moody, but it's safe to assume that most will go through a moody phase at some point. It is also, often misunderstood with parents thinking their teenager is just being “difficult” or “annoying” but there is a lot more to it than simple misbehaviour.

Here are a few things to consider:

Teenage brains change rapidly once puberty hits and these changes (as expected) influence their moods. Due to this, simple things like chatting, seeing friends and family life can impact their moods without it being your teen's fault.

When your teenager was a child, their brain was more stable and while they had spurts of moody behaviour (toddlers, anyone?) it tends to be a response to not getting what they want when they want it.

For teenagers, this isn’t the case (yes, if a teen doesn’t get what they want, they will be moody), but teenagers tend to be moody for no reason at all.

This confuses parents, but the fact is, parents aren’t the cause of it and nor are the teenagers. It is a complicated mix of what is going on in their brain and how their bodies are changing faster than they can manage or control. 

Teenagers have brains that are learning to control certain processes, including reasoning and impulsiveness. Therefore, when your teenager has a cross word with you, they are sometimes unable to control their emotions and they let their moodiness take over.

Boy walking in the middle of the road.
Generally, teenagers can have stressful lives with study, school and home life.

As adults, we learn to control our feelings and manage them better so the good news is, your teenager will not be like this forever!

Then we have those pesky hormones that are playing havoc with your teenagers’ mood. Hormones can affect teens brains and cause a spike or ‘ups and downs’ in good humour or bad humour.

Generally, teenagers can have stressful lives with study, school and home life so they will find themselves moody at times because they are responding to life around them.

This is something everyone does, and it is hard to be mad at a teenager for it but then, if your teenager talks to you about it, you’ll be more understanding. 

Tips for parents:

Keep track of your teenager’s mood. If it is down all the time and getting worse you may need to consider talking to them and a family doctor about it. Usually, moodiness doesn’t last long but if you are worried about your teenager, have a chat with them directly before talking to a doctor. 

Give your teenager space. If your teen isn’t in good form, you can’t tickle them out of it like when they were kids. Give them some time and check in on them again later. Usually, they’ll find their own way out of their bad mood. 

Keep a good relationship with your teenager. We know it is hard to have good relationships when your teenager may not be easy to deal with but try your best. Include them in family days and events, invite them to dinner or to a coffee shop for a chat or do something you both like together. 

Finally, sit it out! It passes and though that’s hard to manage you will get to the point where your teenager is not as moody, and the cause of worry will disappear. 

Emma Hayes

Emma Hayes is a busy mum to two girls aged 17 and 11 and is married to her childhood sweetheart.

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