What Causes Mood Swings in Puberty? 10 Ways to Help Teens!


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As your child enters their teenage, they go through a massive change in their lives! Some days, they radiate cheerfulness and excitement, while others may feel low, flat, or simply sad. 

During this same time, they start wanting more time alone. These mood swings in puberty happen more often and can be more intense. The good news? 

We know that these hormone-fueled mood swings don’t stick around forever. As your child grows, their hormones and moods will settle down. But in the meantime, there are things you can actively do to support your child through their moody teenage phase.

Think of this guide as a toolbox that you can use to get through this phase and build healthy relationships with your child, where there is mutual respect between you and your teen! 

What Are The Reasons For Mood Changes In Puberty​?

Before we dive into the signs and strategies that you can use to help your teen during their mood swings, it first important to know why this happens in the first place. 

Around 90% of your child’s brain is already developed by the age of 5, setting the stage for the intricate changes to come. 

mood swings in puberty
What Causes Mood Swings in Puberty? 10 Ways to Help Teens!

As your child grows, their brain undergoes ‘pruning,’ refining neural connections. This process strengthens certain connections, enhancing the efficiency of thought processes. The brain matures in a specific order, with motion control, mobility, and senses taking the lead. 

Followed by language and orientation, and finally, the intricate processes involving complex thinking and self-control. The prefrontal cortex, responsible for planning and decision-making, is the last to mature.

Understanding this delayed development is crucial in deciphering teenage behavior. 

Read More: 7 Early Signs of Childhood Mood Disorders and Ways To Treat

Some other reasons for mood swings in puberty include: 

1. Identity Exploration

Teens are on a quest to discover who they are. This exploration can trigger feelings of confusion, self-doubt, and mood swings as they grapple with evolving self-perceptions.

2. Social Pressures

Peer relationships become more complex during puberty. The desire to fit in and be accepted can create stress, impacting emotions. Social dynamics and peer pressure play a significant role in mood changes.

3. Body Image Concerns

Physical changes during puberty can lead to body image insecurities. These concerns about appearance, combined with societal expectations, contribute to mood fluctuations.

mood swings in puberty
What Causes Mood Swings in Puberty? 10 Ways to Help Teens!

While the brain catches up, teens might seem quick to act, a bit wild, or even a little angry. It’s not on purpose – it’s just the brain working its way up.

Understanding this process is key to supporting your teen through the maze of adolescence with empathy and patience.

Read More: Body Image Issues: 9 Signs, Causes, And Mental Health Impact

What Does Mood Swings In Puberty Look Like?

When your kid goes through puberty, they can blow hot and cold. Here’s a simple example of how mood swings might manifest:

1. Emotional Rollercoaster

One moment they will be happy as larks and in another they will seem down, flat, or sad. These changes can be rapid and much more extreme than normal. Just remember that this is normal and sometimes you need to give them some comfort!

2. Sensitive Reactions

What if your teenager’s reactions became more sensitive? Something that was no big deal before may now elicit a strong emotional response. Criticism or slights he/she thinks they perceive might affect them harder.

3. Seeking Solitude

Imagine your teen needing even more time alone.

What Causes Mood Swings in Puberty? 10 Ways to Help Teens!
What Causes Mood Swings in Puberty? 10 Ways to Help Teens!

This is a common reaction to the inner turmoil of mood swings in teenagers, whether it means withdrawing into their rooms or looking for privacy elsewhere.

4. Irritable Moments

Picture your teenager getting even more irritable lately. Everyday annoyances might create stronger responses while their stress tolerance drops.

5. Dabble in Risk-Taking

Imagine your teenager experimenting with riskier behaviors. This could include impulsiveness, being unconcerned about consequences, and wanting to try new things.

6. Sleep Struggles

Consider the changes in sleep patterns one experiences during adolescence. Puberty may interrupt his/her usual sleep routine by making it hard for him/her to fall asleep or by causing him/her to sleep longer than normal.

Read More: Is Your Child Suffering From Childhood Insomnia? Exploring The Causes And Treatment

7. Social Shadows

Imagine if your child started withdrawing from social circles. Their changing moods can come with an urge to isolate themselves from friends or cut back on their active involvement in social activities.

8. Verbalizing Overwhelm

Listen to your teen expressing feelings of being overwhelmed by lots of things at once They may say they are confused or struggling with managing these overwhelming emotions that come hand in hand with puberty.

parenting tips for teens
What Causes Mood Swings in Puberty? 10 Ways to Help Teens!

Parents need to recognize the visual signs of mood swings in puberty and use that understanding to provide them with the required support, empathy, and patience. The key to all of these emotions is communication, as a result.

So what can you do? Let’s see!

Essential Parenting Tips for Tweens For Positive Bonding

Puberty introduces a floodgate of emotions and knowing how to manage the mood swings of your adolescent is important. Here is a simple guide with tips:

1. Realize What Is Happening

Before rushing into punishment, accept the fact that your adolescent is not just misbehaving. It’s part of teenage-hood. Accept that dealing with these new and strong feelings is something they are learning.

2. Talk It Out

Encourage open conversations with your teen. Help them find and recognize their new emotions. Assure them it’s okay for them not to have all the answers and these moods will go away. Tell them they are among others who take this ride.

3. Teach Them How To Cope

Understanding emotions develops over time as a skill. Engage in role-play when everything is calm between you and your teenager. Teach them some simple techniques like counting backwards or doing something positive such as walking or listening to music. Letting your teenager watch you do this will be teaching by example during your hard times.

4. Support Healthy Living

Ensure that you make healthy choices at home too to create an enabling environment for all members of your household.

What Causes Mood Swings in Puberty? 10 Ways to Help Teens!
What Causes Mood Swings in Puberty? 10 Ways to Help Teens!

That way, you can set a good example yourself. Encourage eating right, drinking enough fluids, and getting enough sleep by everyone in the family unit because these basic things help elevate moods overall.

Read More: What Is Good Mental Health? 11 Signs And Tips To Achieve It

5. Find Positive Distractions

Help your teen find healthy distractions for themselves; Be it artistic pursuits or engaging in hobbies that interest him or her; Hobbies are more than just pastimes but coping skills, resilience builders, and negative energy outlets.

6. Give Them Their Space

Respecting their space while they’re going through mood swings is what you should always remember to do for your teenagers; Sometimes they may want solitude.. Communicate silently that you are available if needed for conversation with him/her by saying nothing at all about his/her situation. In this way, you can provide them with that sense of comfort and understanding that you are there for them.

7. Encourage Journaling

Suggest journaling as a tool for self-expression. When your teen puts down their thoughts and feelings on paper they can therapeutically process their emotions and gain insights into their own experiences.

Read More: 50 Best Journaling Prompts You Will Ever Read Or Need

8. Come Up With a Safe Word or Signal

Come up with a safe word or signal that allows your teenager to take a break when they feel overwhelmed or need some privacy; This gives them an alternative way to let others know of their mood without necessarily using words.

9. Make A Relaxation Space

Create a cool space in your home where your son can go anytime he needs to chill out; Just fill it with comforting things and let him know it is okay for him to stay there relaxedly thinking about his matters.

10. Celebrate the Little Victories

Acknowledge and celebrate small victories. Your teen may be more confident and resilient with positive reinforcement, which will go a long way in helping him/her maneuver through obstacles.

Parents should remember these tips not only for surviving the storms of teenage mood swings but also for building loving relationships with teens during their stormy sea of adolescence.

Read More: How To Be A Great Parent To Your Child?

A Word From Mind Family

Most adolescents experience a lot of emotional changes during the teenage period and this is quite normal. Pre-teens and teenagers’ lives are like roller coaster rides with them taking on experiences as adults do but in more intensified ways.

The reasoning behind why moods morph from complications in brain development to problems related to self-identity gives us a reason to be gentle at such times.

Remember you are not alone; Mind Family is your parenting partner guiding you through adolescence.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. What causes mood swings in puberty? 

The mood swings that accompany puberty are a result of hormonal changes and brain development, with the last part of the brain to mature being the prefrontal cortex which ‘prunes’. At the same time, concerns connected with body image, social pressures, and identity explorations also play a big role.

2. What are the signs of mood changes in puberty?

Signs include emotional rollercoasters, increased sensitivity, withdrawal, irritability, risk-taking behavior, sleep pattern changes, social withdrawal, and expressing overwhelm.

3. What are some parenting tips for teens?

Parenting tips include recognizing normal behavior, having open communication, teaching coping mechanisms, supporting a healthy lifestyle, finding good distractions, giving space, encouraging journaling, establishing non-verbal signs, creating relaxation spaces and celebrating small wins.

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