Five Unique and Important Ways to Cope With Your Moody Teenager

Adolescence is a complicated time in a parent/child relationship. Parents often go to sleep with a teenager who is happy and content and wake up to the same teenager being a cranky, angry monster. The happy-go-lucky child you spent years raising has transformed into a moody, mercurial teenager. It’s completely ordinary to wonder if you’ll survive this time with your sanity intact. Here are some new and easy tips to deal with the emotional highs and lows of your teen.

-          Give them space. Your teenager is growing into their own independent life away from the family. They need time to process through their thoughts and experiences. Allow them time away from you to relax and reflect. When you find yourself involved in an unproductive discussion with your teenager, give them time and an area to cool off.

-          Give them a healthy environment. Provide your teenager with enough nutritious food to nourish their growing body. Make sure they are getting enough sleep by keeping a firm bedtime and curfew. Encourage your teenager to get in some type of physical exercise every day, whether it is through team sports, solo athletic activities or spending time at a local gym. You are setting the pattern and pace of their adult life. Make sure it’s a healthy one.

-          Give them time away from screens. Television screens, computer screens and phone screens have become a legitimate addiction to today’s teenagers. Limit their screen time, giving their growing brains time to relax and reset. Social media and electronic communication often provide an extra layer of stress and distraction from their academic responsibilities and personal responsibilities. Make dinner a time where no one brings any electronic devices to the table. Have a curfew for your teenager’s phone. Plan vacations where teenagers have extended time away from the Internet. Prove to them there is life away from the Internet.

-          Give them a safe place to talk. Help your teenager to communicate their emotions by taking the time to really listen to them. Put away any and all distractions, look them in the eyes and actively listen. If your teenager is not comfortable confiding in you, help to provide them with other adults like teachers, coaches, older family members and ministers where they will be able to share their feelings and receive wisdom and support.

-          Give them help. Sometimes a teenager needs professional help with their mood swings. This is completely normal! Find a doctor or a therapist who is willing to listen and help your teenager.  Look for a teen summer camp or teen Christian program where your teenager can find peers and advisors to help them navigate their emotions.