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Parenting Teens: Helping Your Teen to Cope With the Hormone Influx.
Helping your Teen to Cope With the Hormone Influx
Your teen could be experiencing severe mood swings and emotional outbursts, partly due to the dipping and rising of hormonal levels in their bodies . While you as a parent may feel helpless during this time, there are definite steps that you can take to help your teen through this developmental stage.
Tips to help your teen deal with moodiness and emotional outbursts:
Spend some time alone. If they are feeling irritable, it is a good idea for them to excuse themselves from the family room to retreat to their bedroom, for a while (monitor this though, you do not want your teen to alienate themselves from the family, and spend all their time on their own in their bedrooms).
Do something creative. While alone, encourage them to listen to music that will help calm them down, write in a journal, draw, or read a book. I do not encourage computer or Internet use, when they are feeling down. A depressed teen and the Internet is not the healthiest combination.
Encourage exercise. The release of endorphins after exercise will lift the spirits. Let them join a gym, if you have the means. If you are not able to join the gym, and worry about your teen's safety while exercising, you can organise a group that they can run, cycle, swim or walk with. If you are sporty, offer to throw a ball around with them, or go for a walk together.
Talk it out. Gently encourage your teen to talk about their feelings. Do not push them to talk, but rather let them know that you are there for them should they need someone to talk to. If they open up to you, just listen and reassure. Unless they ask for your advice do not offer it. They quite often just need a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.
Sort things out. If they have had a tantrum or lost their temper, it is important that they learn to apologise to the 'victims' of their angry outburst. If they broke a family rule, like hurling abuse or displaying physical aggression, they must face the consequences. It is important that they learn that while you are sympathetic to what they are going through, you will not accept out-of-control behaviour.
Spoil them - just a little bit. If you see that your teen is having a really bad day, make them their favourite supper, or surprise them with a tray of hot chocolate and some biscuits. Just knowing that you noticed, and cared enough to offer them a 'care package', will make the world of difference to them.
Helping your teen understand the changes that they are going through are very normal, will help to reduce the stress and moodiness in your teen. Being there for your teen when they are down will help strengthen family ties and your relationship with your teen.
An Interesting Fact:
Interestingly, new research has shown that a hormone called THP (or allopregnanolone), which is released into our bodies during moments of stress, has an opposite effect in adults than it has in teens. THP tends to calm adults down in stressful situations, but it makes teens feel even more anxious, nervous and fretful. Anxiety tends to increase the moodiness in your teen. If your teen is stressed, he/she will more than likely be crankier or more irritable than the average adult. This reaction to the THP hormone tends to go away as teens get closer to adulthood. As your teen gets older you will notice that there will be fewer episodes of moodiness during times of stress.
Is Your Teen Moody Or Are They Depressed?
Parents have often asked me what is normal moody teen behavior, and at what point should they start getting concerned. Sometimes it can feel that your teen is always moody and irritable, but this may not be necessarily true. Make sure to monitor the times your child displays moody behavior, if the moodiness doesn’t last long then it’s probably normal. So for example, if your teen has a bad day and is cranky and drives the whole family crazy for 24 hours, but then is their normal happy self by the next day, it is temporary moodiness. However, if their moodiness lasts for two to three days at a time, and they withdraw from the family at an increasing rate, then it is something that I would begin to take seriously, and have checked out.
I always believe in being rather safe than sorry, so if you are concerned about your teen’s behavior, it is always worth a call to a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, pediatrician or family physician. A medical professional can help you to sort out what is normal and what is a problem, and then help you find a solution to the problem.
If your teen is moody, don’t worry – it isn’t permanent. As your teen’s brain matures, the moodiness will fade. Hang in there; while the four to five years that they suffer from these ups and downs may feel like forty to fifty years, it is only a small amount of time in the greater scheme of things.