How to Deal with a Tween Mood Swing

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Tween temper tantrums are just as real as the toddler ones.  In my opinion they’re caused by hunger, lack of sleep, changing friendships, stress from school, the changing seasons, the placement of the moon in the relation to the earth, the number of dust particles in the air…almost anything seems to trigger a tween temper tantrum.  And, there’s a reason for this.   As puberty gets closer, tweens are beginning to experience hormone changes that send their moods plummeting in an instant.

The challenge for us parents of tweens is understanding how to deal with these mood swings.  A few tips:

Take a time out.  Just like when tweens were toddlers, its important to allow them to decompress.  I send my tween to her room until she is able to control her emotions and have a conversation.  She doesn’t have a television and I confiscate all of her electronics so her room is a good place for her to find peace.  This quiet time of reflection is not only beneficial to the my tween but also me, the parent.  It allows me to think about the next question.

What’s the cause?   Is this just a mood swing or is there a real underlying reason?  Is he or she feeling stressed, in need of more attention or being bullied?  We have a great article on Los Tweens from a psychologist on recognizing the signs of bullying and sudden mood swings is one of the signs.  When you’re tween has calmed down have a discussion.

Don’t judge.   What may seem like a trivial issue to us as parents isn’t always one to our tweens.  Tweens are still learning about relationships, dealing with responsibility and figuring out how to handle their feelings.  The same way we patiently held their hands and followed them around as they learned how to walk, we need to hold their emotional hands as they learn how to become adults (cringe at the thought but that is what we’re working towards!).

What’s the solution?  If there is a reason, talk about ways to fix it and follow through.  I can often trace the cause of my tween’s temper tantrum to her desire for attention, the same reason from when she was a toddler!  But, now she is old enough to verbalize what she is feeling and we can find solutions together.

Tween temper tantrums and mood swings can be challenging for parents but it’s key to view them as a learning experience for both parties involved.  As a parent, we’re learning how to communicate and manage our tweens as they enter into the even more challenging teen years.  As tweens,  they’re learning how to verbalize and handle their frustrations – big lessons that some adults haven’t yet mastered!

Do you have any tips on managing tween mood swings?  Please share!  


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