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Oh, Those Mood Swings

PostedAugust 10, 2016

“As long as you are under my roof you will stick to my rules, you’re grounded!” Sounds too familiar?

Teens know how to push your buttons, right? No, it’s not easy when your former easy-going kid turns from an angel into T-Rex Maximus in three seconds!

Instinctively they come up with an arsenal of tools to get what they want, avoid doing what you want and, on top of all that, has the ability to make you feel like the worst parent ever. Yeah, teenagers will test you, come on, it’s their job!

So, before your home becomes a battleground with constant power battles and high emotion, try a few of these strategies to cope with your teen’s mood swings:

  • Focus on what you love about your child. Try to separate the behaviour from the person, show him that you appreciate him and keep in mind that “This too shall pass.”
  • Be loving, contrary to what it may seem, even if they push you away; they need you!
  • Be reassuring. A lot of teens are scared by the feelings they’re experiencing and new responsibilities they have to take on. Reassure them that they’re not going mad and will cope.
  • Be consistent. Set clear and consistent boundaries. Also, respect their boundaries. Discuss the rationale behind your rules – remember they’re learning from you how to be and think like an adult.
  • Don’t take away their pillar of self-esteem. Taking away participation in an activity, e.g. sports or a special interest, that nourishes good feelings about themselves, is destructive, not corrective.
  • Be gentle, emotions are very fragile; handle with care.
  • Encourage exercise and healthy eating habits.
  • Be honest; tell your teen how you feel. Each time you do so, you’re showing him it’s ok not to be perfect and it’s ok not to have all the answers.
  • Forgive and forget, not so easy! Be prepared to manage the conflict, repair your relationship and move on.
  • Get help. Talk to someone who won’t judge or criticise you. Take time out to vent rather than letting it rip at home.

But, what if they don’t play by the rules? What if you do feel like grounding him for the rest of his natural life? (Oops … slipping back into that anger stage?!)

According to family psychologist David Swanson, teens have plenty of reasons to manipulate their parents. They do it to garner love and attention, to cover their butts and to get what they want. And the main reason they do it, is because it works!

Long term grounding loses its effectiveness because there’s typically little incentive for teens to behave well. Also, with long periods of grounding parents often give in and when this happens, teens learn that parents don’t follow through.

Be careful not to strip your adolescent of every freedom and resource, as this might just liberate him because he has nothing to lose. So, rather give a clear, specific punishment message: “We disagree with the choice you made, and in consequence, this is what’s going to happen.”

“Modified grounding” involves brief and intense grounding, but the teen is allowed the opportunity to earn his way off grounding by completing a job assignment. E.g. cleaning out the garage could involve removing cobwebs, sweeping, hosing, and replacing objects in a neat fashion. Your teen will be grounded until that job has been completed to your satisfaction.

So, mom and dad, hang in there! It is normal for teens to drift away from and even reject their parents. But, it is also normal for them to come back and develop a meaningful relationship that will last the rest of your lives.

Source: www.psychologytoday.com, www.radicalparenting.com, www.circleofmoms.com, www.onlineparenting.com, www.webmd.com, www.popsugar.com, www.webmd.boots.com, www.relate.org.uk, www.aha-now.com, www.blogher.com, www.family-stress-relief-guide.com, www.wikihow.com

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.