Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again—my Savior and my God! Psalm 42:5-6a
This verses addresses a very common issue that we humans have: letting our emotions and moods get the best of us.
One of the most frustrating things that parents deal with is mood swings in kids. I hate the feeling that I must walk on egg shells around one of them because they’re in a bad mood or that I must consistently give them space because they just don’t feel like talking.
How do you handle a moody child?
This is obviously an issue that gets more challenging as kids get older. Moody teens and even young 20-somethings are frustrating. It’s hard to always temper your conversation because you might set someone off or because you might get shut down if you just feel like talking.
There’s no magic pill for this, but here’s what I’ve learned:
1. Just be yourself. Don’t let a bad attitude squash you. If your child only growls in the morning, say a cheerful good morning and leave it at that. No need to clam up or growl back.
2. Don’t take it personally. This one is really hard for me. When my 24-year-old, who is living with us, is introverting and doesn’t want to chat, I tend to take it personally and I let it get to me. The mood is usually not because of you, it’s because of what’s going on in your child’s head.
3. Give them space. If your child is not in a talking mood, nothing you say or do will pull a sincere conversation out of him or her. Let it go. Forcing it will only make matters worse.
4. Let them know how you feel. There will be a time for honest conversation and that time is usually when your child is receptive and feels like talking. At that point, it’s okay to share that their moodiness affects you and that when they ignore you or don’t want to talk, it makes you sad. Kids need to know that how they act affects others.
5. Be Patient. Hopefully, this is a phase that they will soon outgrow. I will warn you that it can last into their 20s because the honest truth is that millenials have their own set of issues and the parenting/child relationship changes shape, but it’s still there. The most important thing is that your kids know you love them, no matter what.
If you are struggling to deal with the moodiness in your home and need help, email me at email@example.com.