But that doesn't mean it's easy to live with a child who is pleasant one moment, and grumpy the next. Getting through the day (and the next few years) with a moody tween is a challenge for any parent. Here's how to help your tween manage her mood swings.
Be UnderstandingIt's no secret that tweens have a variety of challenges facing them. Puberty, middle school, social problems, homework, and scores more. In addition, your tween's body and brain are growing at a rapid pace, and that can be confusing to a child whose not ready for change, or unsure about what all those changes mean. Be understanding when your tween's mood swings surface, and try to remember how difficult things were for you when you were going through your own tween years.
Lighten Her LoadTween schedules are loaded with responsibilities. From school work to extra-curricular activities, many tweens run from one commitment to another without a break. If your tween's schedule seems unusually busy, or if she complains about having too much to do, it might be time to remove an activity or two from her schedule. See if a lighter load of commitments helps her adjust her mood and balance her day. You might find that her mood swings disappear when she has more free time to herself.
Offer Nutritious FoodsTween bodies are changing by the day, and they need nourishment to fuel those changes. Make sure you offer plenty of nutritious snacks (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, high-calcium foods) and make a point of having a family dinner together at least twice a week. Chuck junk foods or any other foods that don't provide your child with the nourishment she needs. If you're concerned about your tween's diet, discuss the situation with her pediatrician, and ask if she needs vitamin supplements.
Sometimes mood swings occur when children experience low-blood sugar. In fact, mood swings may often be a sign that your child isn't getting the nutrition she needs.
Give Her a BreakDoes your tween have time everyday to relax and enjoy the day? Does she take the time to read, journal, or hang-out with you or other family members? Tweens, like adults, need time to "chillax." Schedule her down time into the family calendar, just as you would her soccer time or her piano lessons.
Let Her Chill with FriendsFriendships are very important to tweens, and tweens need their own social circle outside the family. Sometimes mood swings can be stopped or prevented by a simple visit or a phone call from a friend.
It's important for tweens to feel accepted by their peers and to have the security of knowing that they have friends at school, on athletic teams, and in other important areas of their lives. Make sure your tween is developing good friendships and has time to hangout with her friends frequently. Sleepovers are a great way for tweens to bond with their friends, and make new ones. If your child is too busy to find time to spend with friends, it might be time to rearrange her schedule.