If you encounter moody children throwing tantrums and brooding in the corner, know that this is a common occurrence in children. Despite the common perception that only adults tend to have mood swings, child development experts suggest that being moodier is prevalent among children. Children, particularly young ones, are prone to becoming moody and gloomy; however, some children tend to have more mood swings than others.
This behavior in children may be attributed to their inability to express intense emotions, such as disappointment and dissatisfaction. While dealing with a moody child might be unpleasant, you have no choice but to manage your child (1).
In most situations, you can resolve the issues related to your child’s mood swings at home. However, in extreme cases, when you see that being moodier and grumpy is becoming a part of your child’s personality, you may certainly bring it up with your doctor.
This post discusses some of the factors that can cause mood swings in children and how to deal with them.
Parenting Moody Children
1. Nurture Your Child:
How you bring up your child makes a lot of difference.
No matter how busy you are, it is important to spend quality time with your child.
Children feel secured with parental attention. Ideally, both the parents should spend quality time with him.
2. Allow Them To Express Himself:
Your home should be the place where your child can express himself without any fear. Sometimes children get moody, as they do not know what to do. Children adopt passive behavior to showcase their displeasure.
3. Encourage Positive Behavior:
It is important that both of you, mother and father, sit together to come up with methods of expression for your child. You can bring to his attention that instead of sulking, they can communicate the problem with their parents.
Let them know clearly that you or your partner will not respond to their negative behavior.
4. Stay Calm:
Make sure you do not overreact when your child is being moody. This will only give them more power to show bad behavior.
The best thing you can do is let them express their dissatisfaction and validate, rather than ignoring them. Validation helps you and them, and you can suggest some solutions.
5. Keep Stress Level Low At Home:
As a parent, you should keep stress at a minimum at home. Children get affected the most in stressful situations. When they are affected due to a stressful time at home, children become moody and anxious.
Anger stresses out children very easily. Make sure you avoid anger even when you dealing with your moody child.
6. Ensure Proper Nutrition:
You need to ensure your child is in proper health. It is better if you plan a balanced meal for them that includes all nutrients, instead of relying on supplements.
7. Schedule Time To Complain:
Allot a special time just for complaining. Tell your young one that during this time, he can talk about things that bother him. If the time is over, ask him to continue with his complaint list the next day. When there is a complaining slot, your son will have to think of the things they want to complain about. The method, eventually, will reduce their habit of complaining and whining.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is my child so moody?
Certain amounts of mood swings are common in growing children. However, if they are irritable most of the time, they might have a condition known as disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD). It indicates that these children cannot manage their emotions in an age-appropriate way (4). On the other hand, if children act sad and sullen and stop socializing or enjoying activities, it may indicate depression (5).
2. Is my child moody or bipolar?
Mood disorders can only be diagnosed by a doctor or pediatric psychiatrist. Clinicians have different opinions about the possible existence of bipolar disorder in children due to overlapping symptoms with ADHD and depression. Nevertheless, the symptoms of bipolar illness in children differ from those in adults. In children, mixed states of mania and depression and mood swings are more common than distinct episodes of each (as in adults) (6).
3. Is it normal for my 10-year-old to be moody?
Yes, it is normal for a 10-year-old to be moody sometimes. Puberty may start setting in at this age, triggering hormonal changes that may result in mood swings in children (7).
4. At what age can my child control their emotions?
Children start learning to manage their emotions between 3 to 5 years of age. Parents need to help their children learn self-control by validating their emotions and having realistic expectations (8).
5. How do I discipline a child who doesn’t care?
Some of the best ways to discipline an indifferent child are by clearly expressing your expectations, appreciating what they are doing correctly, telling them what they are doing wrong without being overly critical, and avoiding harsh punishment (9) (10).
6. Why is my child fussy all the time?
There can be several reasons why your child is fussy. Speak to your child to understand the underlying causes. You may also check for situations beyond the child’s control that may lead to fussiness, such as hunger, lack of sleep, illness, and stress or issues at home or school.
If you are panicking about your child’s moody behavior and tantrums, do know that your child is not the only one. Grumpy, gloomy, and bad mood is not exclusive to adults, and children may face similar experiences too. A tired, hungry, sleepy, or sick child may show temperamental behavior. As parents, it may get difficult for you to deal with your moody children all the time. Some tips such as leading by example, encouraging them to use their words instead of actions, sticking to their schedule, feeding them high-calorie foods, etc., are some ways you can try to tackle your child’s mood swings.
- Raising a Moody Child: How to Cope with Depression and Bipolar Disorder.
- Moody kids.
- Childhood Mental Disorders and Illnesses.
- DMDD: Extreme Tantrums and Irritability.
- Moody or Depressed?
- Pediatric Bipolar Disorder.
- Growth & Development: 6 to 12 Years (School Age).
- Understanding the Stages of Emotional Development in Children.
- Discipline Shouldn’t be Punishing – for the Child or the Parent.
- Discipline: Top Do’s and Don’ts When Your Kids Won’t Listen.
Dr. Sadhvi Mythili(MBBS, Psychiatrist)
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