Monday, August 24, 2009

Danger! Teenage Mood Swings Ahead!

We all have our days where we want nothing more than to just repeatedly bash our heads into a large concrete wall. We all have our days where we want nothing more than to just pull the blankets over our head and sob our eyes out. That's life. But when someone you love is feeling like this, you can't help but want to make them feel better. But, as teenagers, we are bound to the creed of believing everything our parents do is uncool. So, when we're upset, we don't necessarily want your help. But of course you want to help, but you don't know how to talk to her when she's upset without immediately getting kicked out. So, may I present The Steps to Approaching Your Teenage Daughter when She's Upset.

Step One: Wait Ten Minutes.
That's right. Finish watching your show. Pet the cat. Get a snack. Check your e-mail. Do not approach the teenager.

Step Two: Peace Offering
Whether it's a bar of chocolate to lift her spirits, a glass of water to keep her from getting dehydrated, or a bowl of her favorite comfort food, this will definitely keep you from getting kicked out immediately.

Step Three: If She Don't Wanna Talk, She Ain't Gonna Talk
Talking does make everything seem better or less significant or just easier to bear. But if she doesn't want to talk about it, nothing you can say will get her to talk. Just say "Ok, I'll be [insert location here] if you need something." The only time you should force her to talk, is if you seriously think she is going to harm herself or someone else.

Step Four A: If She's Talking... Listen Up!
Don't interject your little comments. Don't lecture her. And if the boyfriend broke up with her, do not under pain of death use any of the following statements: "You deserve better", "He was a jerk", "It's not you, it's him" "There's plenty of fish in the sea". She probably still has feelings for the boy so insulting him isn't going to help. And chances are, she still wants him so it won't matter if a whale floats by looking for attention. Stay calm and collected. Limit one hug given by you. If she wants another hug, go for it. But don't invade her space too much. Let her talk. Let her vent. She won't want a lecture or to hear about your escapades as a teen after she's done. Ask her if she feels better now, if she wants you to stay, or if she needs anything. If not, leave. Sometimes it's better for us to figure things out by ourselves.

Step Four B: If She's Not Talking... Stay Calm
She may not want to talk to you, but that's alright. Often times we need someone who sees exactly what happens at school or with friends to understand us. Sometimes we just want to cry into the pillow and hug the cat. So let us. She'll come out of her room eventually. Go on about your day, leave dinner by the bedroom door, and find some way to occupy yourself. You may never know what upset her. You'll have to deal with that fact and move on. The best thing you can do is be mindful of our needs (As in, food, water, love) and be available should we need you.

Step Five: Love... Love is All You Need
Love your daughter or son. Even if you don't understand a thing about them. Love will make you so much more approachable. And be reasonable. This goes for all things. Your daughter wants to go to a movie with her friends Saturday night? Don't immediately nix the idea, mull it over, find out who's going, how and when she's going to be home, and then decide. And remember, we screw up sometimes. But you gotta let us. That's how we learn. Remember. Calm, collected, reasonable, and loving. Your teen will thank you for it.


  1. (I found your blog from one of my teacher friends.) What a great post this is! I'm a parent of 3 teenagers, and I have to admit, I wish I would have followed your advice on more than one occasion. It's really hard to see your child in pain, even if it's for those normal teenage things. Moms are so used to being able to scoop you up and fix everything. That's just part of who you are. Here's my advice to a teenager: Remember that your Mom and Dad love you more than life itself and when we make those mistakes on your list, it's because it's very hard to break those habits of demonstrating our love in the same way we did just a few short years ago. Don't blame us completely - try to be sympethetic to our plight. Your struggles are our struggles, only magnified by the fact that we can't fix them for you anymore.

  2. I sooo remember feeling the exact same way when I was a teenager! Crazy, that when we become parents, we forget how we felt through all those experiences. Thanks for keeping us in check! Pretty sure, boys are very similar to girls, at least in my daily trials with my 15 son. Stick with it. This is great stuff. :)

  3. I'm really enjoying reading your thoughts and insights. As the parent of a soon-to-be teen, I truly appreciate your sharing them with us. Keep on writing, I'll keep reading!


  4. Great advice from the teen perspective! I'm finally learning how NOT to approach my teens when they're moody.