Coping with Change: Helping Teens Understand and Manage Their Mood Swings

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Teenagers face a lot at school and in the community. They must perform well in school and sports, participate in extra-curricular activities, and navigate the social pressures of making friends and dating while dealing with the many changes in their bodies and emotions. It is no wonder why they go from one extreme to the next. Sometimes, they are happy and bubbly; other times, they are sad and helpless.

Signs of Mood Swings

It might seem as if your teen is on an emotional rollercoaster. Their emotions may suddenly range from happiness to sadness. There may be outbursts of anger. These teenage temper tantrums could be startling to you as a parent. You may also notice your teen withdrawing from you or being irritable. They may complain of headaches and fatigue. They may have difficulty falling asleep or sleeping excessively. There may be changes in their eating patterns, either overeating or loss of appetite. They may have difficulty concentrating, impacting academic performance and overall productivity. They may find it challenging to cope with daily stress. You must understand these signs so you can help your teen get support.

Strategies for Managing Mood Swings in Adolescence

Teenagers are often unable to manage mood swings on their own and need guidance. It may appear that your child is having a teenage temper tantrum. As a parent, you can encourage your teen to open up and share their honest feelings. Show interest and empathy. Listen without judgment. Ask questions for clarification. Encourage your teen to express themselves in other ways, like through art or journaling.

Create a nurturing environment in the home so your teen feels safe and knows their feelings are valid. Help them to see and accept themselves as who they are. Encourage a positive mindset and self-esteem. Teach them techniques for managing their extreme emotions. You can teach your teen problem-solving and critical thinking skills so they can evaluate and analyze when problems arise without reacting impulsively. Share strategies on how to cope when faced with challenges. Be patient, as they will not get it right the first time.

A healthy diet with nutrient-rich foods will help your teen improve their overall well-being. Regular exercise releases endorphins, boosting their mood. Good, consistent sleep hygiene reduces irritability and makes them feel more rested. Decreasing screen time can reduce stress.

Rely on your support network. Engage your family in supporting your teen. Liaise with teachers and counselors in the education system. There are numerous resources that they can provide to support your teen.

If mood swings persist and interfere with daily life, it might be time to seek the support of a trained therapist. Teen therapy provides a safe space to share their feelings and practical solutions to help them work through their emotions.

Teen Therapy in New York

At Creative Arts Therapy, we provide teen therapy that is creative, empathetic, and transformative.

We believe creative expression goes beyond words and gives teens a place to tell us how they feel, even if they don’t fully understand it.

While art therapy is a powerful tool for allowing teens to express their emotions creatively, our approach to teen therapy is multi-faceted. Sessions may include methods such as talk therapy, mindfulness techniques, and psycho-education to help them gain a deeper understanding of what’s going on inside.

This flexible approach makes therapy a personalized path to self-understanding rather than a formula. When teens feel comfortable in a space that matches their pace and preferences, they are likelier to open up, engage, and find well-being and confidence.

We help your teen tell their story.