What a feeling right? Expresses just about anything. You know what I’m talking about if you’ve experienced mood swings. You’re probably here because you’re now seeing it unfold in your child. If they go from happy to sleepy to mad to “I’m going to burst” in a span of two minutes, I need you to know this is normal. Being a 17-year-old myself, I understand that these new emotions are hard to manage. Your child is going to discover a whole new side of themselves, be it getting annoyed or frustrated by some specific behaviour or feeling attracted to others. The unfortunate part in all this is that there is a 50% chance that they will have to deal with the consequences — from fights with you to rejections from their crushes. So…what can you do as parents?
Firstly, you should understand that the natural changes in our body cause these mood swings, and we all go through it, in some way or another. During puberty, we have sex hormones, or chemical messengers, called Progesterone and Estrogen (in females) and Testosterone (in males) running around our body. These hormones are responsible for physical changes like growth of pubic hair, acne and development of breasts. In the process of making these changes, natural imbalances in the hormones can affect our mood, causing rapid fluctuations we call mood swings.
I’m no expert, just a fellow struggling teen, so all the things I recommend now are just what have worked for me and other people I’ve spoken to. I cannot speak from the perspective of a parent, so for a second, pretend I’m asking you to do all this as your daughter.
Multiple studies have shown that stress can heighten the emotions we feel, so it’s important that you tell your child to chill and be a little easier on themselves. School will only get tougher with time, but they need to make that clear distinction between healthy and toxic levels of stress. As personal advice from a senior, they shouldn’t lose their sleep or sanity over all these academic demands. Trust me, it’s not worth it.
- Share feelings:
Ask them to express how they feel. This isn’t going to be easy all the time. Chances are you’ll be faced with a lot of hesitance from their side, but take that extra step to become their confidant. Maybe you could make the first step by sharing your feelings, it will only make puberty an easier rollercoaster for the both of you.
Recommend journaling their feelings. I know writing seems like a big task to some of you (I myself don’t enjoy writing) but tell them to make an effort to write those 4-5 lines, reflecting on their day. This will help them track their emotions and habits, and know themselves better.
- Get moving:
Shh, my parents can’t see this! I can’t believe I’m actually recommending this — I’m the laziest person you’d probably ever meet! But seriously, get up. Get moving.
If they enjoy working out, great! But if they’re like me, just motivate them to do something that’ll get them on their feet. It’s dancing for me, but it could be something as simple as taking a walk around the house for them. It acts as a good break from the toxicity of our real world, while releasing happy hormones called endorphins.
I’m going to remind you once again: THIS IS NORMAL. WE ALL GO THROUGH IT.
When your child is going through something like this, they need you to be understanding, so go speak to them!
Consider this advice to be a tighter seat belt on your emotional rollercoaster. It’s not going to make puberty easier, you’ll still have to sit through all those twists and turns with your child, but it’s going to hold you both tight, so that you don’t fly off your seats!
That’s all for now!
Until next week,
Siya (from the REDefine Team)
Featured artwork by Anaanya Poddar