Mood Changes during Adolescence: The Causes and How to Deal with Them

12 October, 2018
Adolescence is considered one of the most high stress periods for parents because the mood swings are the consequence of profound transformations. Today we’ll examine the origin of this process and how you can deal with it

When children reach 10 or 11 years of age, they begin to undergo intense changes of all kinds. These include mood changes, and physical, affective, psychological, and social transformations, which ultimately influence how they develop. In this sense, mood swings during adolescence are not rare, bur rather a consequence of the above processes.

Most parents are afraid of this stage of emotional instability in their “young adult.” Indeed, adolescence is considered one of the stages with the highest level of stress for parents.

It can also be a fascinating experience for both parents and children, however, especially if they have the necessary tools with which to cope and understand it.

The causes of mood changes during adolescence

First of all, adolescence is a life phase during which the processes of physical, mental, and sexual maturation begin. Indeed, these changes give them a new view of their family and social environments, which can cause mood swings during this time.

However, we should clarify that although all of us went through this phase, there are many different ways to experience it as an adolescent.

In general, the changes cause wonder, anxiety, fear, or even anguish in young people. The process can be made easier if both children and their parents learn what they can about the challenges they’ll be faced with down the road.

Mood Changes
For that reason, today we’ll share some important points to remember when your family is going through this phase.

Physical changes

Ever since your conception, your body has been changing constantly, and this can lead to some complicated issues. During puberty, more body hair starts to form and the secondary sexual characteristics appear, among others.

Boys undergo a change in voice, the development of their testicles, and their first ejaculations. For girls, the breasts grow and they experience their first periods, among other things.

It is in this phase that bodily self awareness occurs, along with attraction and even sexual arousal. For that reason, physical appearance and self-image become very important issues to your children.

These can cause a lot of concern in young people. They can be taught to accept the changes, however, and learn to adapt to them.

Emotional changes

The emotions that an adolescent experiences are close to the surface. That’s why young people can go through happiness, anger, fear, anxiety, sadness, and irritability so quickly and suddenly. This variable emotional state is normal.

In addition, adolescents will have a greater need for privacy and will start to worry about their future. This is because they’re going through a deep personal transformation. They’re trying to reconcile their inner and outer worlds to find their own identity.

Cognitive changes

Cognitive changes

Another fundamental aspect of identity formation is the development of abstract thought, or the things that they cannot see or touch.

In fact, their ability to reason allows them to solve problems by considering multiple points of view and even anticipating the consequences of their actions and those of others.

This is very important, because reasoning helps them coexist with their parents and members of society in general. Reasoning also helps them better understand the social norms that they should play in every situation.

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Changes in behavior

The search for freedom is constant in adolescence.

While thinking like an adult but lacking their own experiences, however, they must still operate within certain limitations. This is precisely the point where conflict between parents and their children usually arises.

Changes in behavior
Children usually reflect their internal chaos by either not taking care of themselves or worrying too much about their appearance. In addition, they spend more hours asleep. This is due to the greater need for psychological rest after all the energy and hormonal expenditures. It’s important to be understanding of this.

Strengthen your bonds from early childhood

Adolescent children still need the same amount of your love and attention as before. That’s why it’s so important that you create a good relationship with them from childhood, so they know you can guide them.

It’s important to remember that the relationship you had with your child when they were young will never be the same. But this transformation can be very constructive and happy. So how can you play a good role as a parent when dealing with your child’s adolescence and mood swings?

How to help a teenage child

How to help a teenage child

Fortunately, there are some great parenting qualities that parents can use to successfully overcome their child’s teenage mood swings and all the repercussions.

Show them love

Parents form a very special bond as a loving figure with a genuine interest in their child. It is through your example that they learn to love and care for other people.

Remember that in spite of their indifference, harsh words, or criticism toward you or their teachers, young people need love, understanding, and acceptance. It will be easier to deal with their mood swings in this environment.

Give them support

One very important thing for teenagers is that they feel like they can count on their parents. They need you to acknowledge their efforts and achievements, but it’s more than that.

They also need to reinforce their identity. As a parent, you’ll be the best person to encourage them to believe in themselves and achieve their goals.

Set boundaries

Setting rules and standards is essential for your children to feel emotionally secure. These can also become an excellent tool to help supervise them and add structure to their lives.

Set boundaries
You should be careful not to become an authoritarian parent, however, by imposing rules that are either too strict or too lenient and permissive. It’s better to be balanced and set clear boundaries with good explanations.

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Set a good example

As we said above, during adolescence your child’s reasoning skills will flourish. They will observe what you say and do. Try to be consistent in your actions and with what you want to instill in your child. Remember that you’re their first reference in their search for an identity.

Show them respect

Everyone deserves respect – this is well known. Sometimes it’s easy to forget that children are also individuals, however, and need to be treated with respect.

Recognize their autonomy even though their preferences may not be the same as yours. Try to understand their points of view, along with their feelings and needs.

Some reflections

Mood swings, along with the physical, mental, and emotional changes, are definitely a challenge for both children and parents.

If you build a good relationship with your child from when they’re small that’s based on love, understanding, and respect, their adolescence will be an easier and more rewarding process for both of you.

  • Departamento de Educación de Estados Unidos. (2005). Cómo ayudar a sus hijos durante los primeros años de adolescencia.
  • Casas Rivero, JJ., Ceñal González Fierro. (2005).Desarrollo del adolescente. Aspectos físicos, psicológicos y sociales.