Teen Mood Swings

Mood swings in teens are as common as a swing in ones backyard. Unfortunately teen mood swings are not as exhilarating as swinging high in the air with your legs dangling below with each pumping action. If you are a parent of a teen experiencing frequent mood swings, there is hope. Researchers have proven that there is a legitimate reason teens act out in dramatic ways.

Teen Brain Development

Scientists have learned that the human brain is 90% developed by the time the child reaches the age of 6 years old. Further studies have shown that the last part of the brain development occurs during adolescence in the prefrontal cortex which uses are for self control, making plans, and judgments. Studies such as this support the idea that teens may not have the capabilities to control their emotions resulting in changes in their moods. Teens are well known for their extreme emotions and passions.

It’s almost as if a teen sees a problem or situation through a magnifying glass. Where a solution to a problem seems quite simple to an adult, it can be quite terrifying for a teen. This can be partially attributed to the brain development. As parents understand this developmental process, it can help them be more patient with their teen and suggest ways to help them through this traumatic time in their life. Teens and parents need to understand that mood swings are a normal part of growing up. Some teens may be more affected by emotional break outs. For example, girls are 50% more likely to have mood swings than boys but all will experience some sort of mood change throughout their teen years.

Coping With Mood Swings

Once a teen recognizes they are not alone or crazy, they can step back and take time out from the situation that caused the mood swing. Talking things through to a friend or parent can help find resolution to release the feelings of anger or hopelessness. Change of scenery may also help by getting a teens mind on other things which in turn would help them forget the initial problem at hand. Exercise is a big help for teens dealing with emotional distress. It can build more beta-endorphins which is a hormone designed to help with stress and enhance mood.

Crying can be a great way to release hormones that may cause mood swings as well. There is nothing wrong with a good cry to make a person feel better about things. However, persistent crying could be a symptom of depression and should be addressed by a doctor. Getting enough sleep is a vital role in balancing the teen’s mood. Sleep deprivation can lead to extreme cases of irritability and irrational behavior. It’s hard for teens to keep a regular sleep schedule but allowing time for adequate sleep can be very important. The best thing a parent or teen can do when dealing with mood swings is be patient. Wait it out. Things are always better in the morning or with a little time. Overreact and become irritable at minor annoyances. Breaking the magnifying glass the teen sees through will allow them to step back and see the bigger picture which isn’t quite as bad as it seems.

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