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How Do I Talk to My Daughter About Mood Swings?

Have you noticed it? One minute she’s as happy as a lark, and in a matter of seconds she can become enraged with anger or defeated in tears with no explanation at all. Nothing welcomes a tween to puberty quite like mood swings. Before you get frustrated, remember what it was like, Mom. You were there once too.

Hormones. They can make girls feel as though they are riding an emotional roller coaster through puberty. (Others living with a moody tween might find themselves clinging to the roller coaster for dear life!) Your daughter will either learn to control her emotions and feelings, or she will become controlled by them.

In addition to praying for extra grace and patience with your daughter, here are some tips for communicating with and encouraging your moody girl:

1. You have a choice. Remind your daughter God not only equipped her body with hormones, he equipped her spirit with self-control. God-given and more powerful than any hormone, self-control is a choice she must make. (Galatians 5:22-23a) Place the ball in her court and remind her that she can choose to respond to her emotions by exercising God’s gift of self-control.

2. Take a moment. Encourage her to live by truth – she knows God desires us to be loving, respectful and kind to one another. When the mood swing sweeps her off her feet, have her take a moment before she reacts/responds to the situation that has pushed her button. Maybe it’s a few deep breaths and counting to ten, going for walk or run, calmly going to her room to cool off and even have a good cry. Honor her need for space and privacy and encourage her to take it if and when she needs space. Mom, use this time to hit your knees in prayer for your girl. Fight for her and ask God for a special does of wisdom, discernment and patience.

3. Process and pray. No one can handle her emotions like God can. Rather than exploding on a parent, sibling or friend, have your daughter express her frustrations to God. Whether she’s angry, sad, lonely, frustrated, defeated or just plain grumpy, help her find ways to communicate her emotions to the Lord. Maybe it’s journaling, listening to worship music, drawing, or going on a hike and speaking out loud to him. He is big enough – he can handle her moods without taking offense.

4. Right the wrong. When a mood swing strikes, typically girls respond with hurtful words. Proverbs 12:18 says “The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” If in her moodiness she has lashed out, show her how to make right the pain she may have caused another; support her as she exercises humility and takes responsibility for her actions.

5. Focus on others. In the midst of a mood swing, our focus is usually on ourself; how we feel, how we were wronged, how we think things should be… There’s no better way to dispel a mood swing than by focusing on someone else. Establish a project she can return to when she’s feeling a little hot-headed. Maybe she would enjoy crafting fleece blankets for the local animal shelter, writing notes of encouragement to the community police officers & firemen, baking goodies for the nurses at the hospital or making photo collages for friends. By choosing to focus on others, she takes quick control of her heart, mind and emotions and operates with Jesus’ servant heart.

6. You need to respect her. Yes, mom. Respect her. She doesn’t understand her mood swings any more than you do at the moment. If you desire your tween to act respectfully toward you, you need to extend the same respect to her. Don’t fly off the handle or resort to yelling (or participating in the tantrum with her). Your girl’s body is changing and her brain is undergoing serious re-wiring; either of which can make her extremely volatile at times. By no means should you tolerate her tantrum; give her time to pull herself together before you discuss the situation. Ask if she wants you to stay or be alone while she calms down. When she’s ready to talk, listen – listen deeply to what she has to say. Even if you disagree with her position, beliefs or current struggle, seek to find a happy middle. Acknowledge your girl’s perspective. Hug her – hold her if she’ll let you – and express to her how much she is loved. Pray with her about the situation that has upset her and ask that God teach her how to exercise self-control. Let her know that you’ve been in her shoes before. Remember what it was like for you… draw that grace from your toes if you need to!

Parenting through the tween years can make you feel like you’re the one swinging off your rocker! Avoid the temptation to steer clear of your moody tween. This is when she needs your love, affirmation and acceptance the most.

What methods have you found helpful when coping with your tween’s mood swings? 

 

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Laura Chin - May 27, 2014

Vitamin B-6. 50mg twice a day. Start about 2 weeks before her cycle, even if she’s not menstruating yet. It has made an enormous difference!
2 years before my daughter actually started menstruating she had a hormonal cycle we could track on a calender.
Now, we’re a year into actual menstruation, if she’s taking the B-6 the difference is noticeable. *check with your doctor and all that.

    Dawn - April 20, 2015

    Wow. Thanks for this. My girl is 10 and I swear she has PMS once a month, even tho she hasn’t started her period! Makes sense. B-6 is worth a try!

dawn - May 27, 2014

I love this. My daughter just turned 13 and started her menstrual and she is very moody. I am trying to help her out with this. And it is very hard. This will help alot. Thank you

Patricia - May 27, 2014

Our church has a special sunday school class with girls ages 9-12. It’s wonderful to have and they recently made notebooks for mothers day. The notebook is a safe place for my daughter (age 11) to write her thoughts and comments and just a place for her to vent to me without being face to face. Sometimes they need to express themselves but dont know how we mom’s will react. When she writes in it she places it on my dresser for me to read. When I want to write to her then I place the notebook on her bedside table. So far we have used it twice and had wonderful results.

    Dawn - April 20, 2015

    I adore this idea! Thank you SO much. My daughter loves to write. I think this is a fantastic tool.
    Also, this Sunday School class (love it, Im kinda jealous), is there a “curriculum” or scope and sequence they use? Tell me more.

Tammy - May 27, 2014

Trying to talk to her about that time of month is very difficult. She doesn’t want to talk about it at all. It’s already started but trying to get the right kind of products is a challenge. I’ve told her like it or not once it starts you’ll have to deal with it for the next 50 or so years of life. I don’t want to make it more difficult than it has to be. but I don’t want any embarrassing moments for her either. Still working on this mood swing’s and she’s no good at taking pills , tried that when she got sick a few months ago. she just says the whole thing is gross. I had to agree . that seemed to help a little.

    Paula - March 8, 2016

    I taught my daughter to take pills by putting them in a teaspoon of jelly. They go down smooth and you never notice 🙂 Try that.

uknown - July 9, 2014

that helps alot

Frances Brown - October 3, 2014

This would have been helpful for BOTH my kids – daughter AND son! Because sons go through a very similar transition as the move thru puberty (my son was actually much more dramatic than his sister). I am sharing this with my daughter , who is just in the very beginning of her motherhood journey. Thank you for blogging! God Bless!

Mom - April 27, 2015

In addition to the previous suggestions I would suggest inositol. It is a natural occurring carbohydrate. Initially it was classified as a B vitamin. I’m not sure how it is classified now. If you are having PMS-type symptoms it can resolve them in less than 10 minutes. If you need it, then it tastes sweet. If you don’t, it tastes more like chalk.
When someone is ready to cry for no apparent reason we have found that it is the first thing to try. It is quick-acting and easy-to-eat. We usually try it 1/4 t at a time until it doesn’t taste as sweet. It usually takes less than 1 t.
You should be able to buy it from any health food store.

Alida - May 22, 2015

Great article.

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