Dealing with the Mood Swings of Your Child

Say hello to the ride of a lifetime! Irrational and unexpected behavior is typical among children between 7 and 8. Pre-tweens are more concerned about schoolwork and friendships. Even if you haven’t experienced any bodily changes, the hormones are only getting started. Check out these suggestions for calming her down.

Mourning and Pessimism

The tone in which he responds to your question about his day at school tells you everything you need to know about his mood. Your follow-up queries get the same snippy response from him. If your child is being teased by their peers or is having difficulty in school, it’s not uncommon for them to become more reserved as they get older. Her advice is to avoid pushing them if they’re being cranky. Speak in the alternative like this: “You don’t appear to be in the mood to converse. I’m sorry, but I’m always available if you need anything.” Before going to sleep, inquire if he has any thoughts or feelings he would like to share in the evening. Another option is to bring up the subject while you and your child are engaged in relaxing weekend activities. Kids this age are more likely to bring up complex issues while distracted.

The Attitude: Extremely Sensitive and Emotional

Your daughter has a skinned knee from a fall at the family gathering. Even though you know it hurts, she’s acting as if it’s a crisis of epic proportions. To sum up, you state, “I’ve had enough. It’s all right.” She screams back, “I’m not okay!” and continues wailing. Refrain from pointing out that she reacted excessively in the future. Instead, pay attention to how she feels and try to empathize with her. “I know that your scrape must hurt,” or something will suffice. Then kiss her and refocus her attention on something else. Remove her from the scene by saying, “Let’s go for a walk,” if other people are there.

The Feeling: Extreme Rage

Be prepared for him to throw a toddler-like tantrum if, for example, his younger brother accidentally ruined his prized Lego construction or you are running late to pick him up from an activity. Experts believe that even the tiniest slight can set off a temper tantrum in some toddlers. You have one task: Maintain a level-headed demeanor. A power battle could ensue if you become enraged. In the throes of a meltdown, it’s never a good idea to teach your child anything, so say, “Looks like you’re angry.” So, instead of telling him to practice deep breathing, you might recommend it as an option. As soon as appropriate, demonstrate to your child how he can decompress. Assemble a beanbag chair in his room to retreat to when he’s feeling overwhelmed. Show him how to relax by having him take up a book or his iPod and listen to his favorite music. He’ll benefit from the lessons you educate him today for the rest of his life.

Feeling Angry and Opinionated

She doesn’t want to attend soccer practice since she “hates” it. The family’s invitation to an anniversary party is “so boring.” She may be like my daughter, who refuses to do anything you ask of her. When children begin to push the boundaries of their parental authority, they will have strong opinions and even resist your wishes. Don’t fall for your child’s “dumb” or “boring” accusations. Let her know you’re sorry, and then move on with your life. If you set clear expectations and punishments for your children when fulfilling their chores, homework, and other demands, you can avoid a battle in the future.