The Reasons Your Tween Gets Very Moody

I have an 8-year-old, I don’t know if he counts as being a tween but I do feel that he is definitely slowly turning into a breed I haven’t encountered before. There are loads and loads of mention of the baby years, toddler years and pre-schooling years out there so parents like you and I more or less know what to expect while we raise our little human beings. But there’s very little mention of the tween years i.e. 8-12 years old. I don’t really know what to expect. I don’t think I understand what they’re all about, their inner thoughts, how they relate to us parents and what their expectations are.

I’ve been noticing some changes in my eldest son these past few months and I realise that sometimes I don’t understand him and he might actually feel that i don’t get him. That almost makes me feel like I’ve failed as his mother.

So what are some of the transformations that I’ve noticed in my beginner tween?

  • a decreased interest in toys
    – he finds train tracks, LEGO, blocks, etc boring.
    – he rarely joins us in board games like Monopoly, card games, etc
  • ability to spend time alone at longer stretches of time (e.g. read, etc)
  • being genuinely caring towards his younger siblings (sometimes)
  • it takes more for them to agree with our points or listen to us
  • gradually playing more with friends than with parents
    – but he does still love it when we play catch with him and his brothers
  • moody

Oh man, that word – moody – I don’t even know where to start. To give him some credit, it doesn’t happen all day long, but he does get moody, something that wasn’t in his personality prior to his tween year. Sometimes I ask myself if he’s depressed. I try to look for signs of depression in him, like was he sad, withdrawn, did he have a loss in appetite, etc. Whereas he does have problems staying asleep throughout the night, which has been in him since he was young, he does not express other signs of depression. So his mood swings must have other origins?

Read more: What makes a happy child?

It’s been in my mind for a few months now, thinking about what I did wrong that made my sweet angel so easily moody. So I finally came to some conclusion:

1. It’s a Cry for More Love
You know how it is. We have unlimited love but we have limited energy and time. So when our kids are independent, we let them be. We focus on the littler ones who still need us to do everyday things. But along the way, we forget that our bigger kids also need us. They no longer need us to tie their shoelaces, give them a shower or pour their cereal. But they need us on another level now. And most parents fail to realise that. They need us to be emotionally available. They need us to show that we still love them despite not spending all our waking hours helping them do daily tasks anymore. They need us to give them surprise hugs, tell them how much we love them, ask them about their favourite computer games instead of just asking whether they have completed their homework. They need to feel loved in a different way. It’s no longer about keeping them fed and clothed but more about recognising the individual they’re becoming.

2. It’s Partly Hormonal
I guess this is the only thing about the tween years that almost all of us have heard about. Hormonal changes contribute to the mood swings and emotional sensitivity during these years and into the early teens. One minute your tween is mild and courteous, the next he seems frustrated and upset over something so insignificant (to you).

Hormones – while it is a very valid point from a  biological point of view, we can’t let it be an excuse for ourselves to let our children act out. We can allow them to have their mood swings but we still need to let them know that it is not acceptable behaviour to talk back, roll their eyes or argue with an adult. If unaddressed, it could become part of their personality as they move onto their teenage years and adulthood.

3. And Partly Attitude
You know how they think they’re no longer babies. They feel that they know more now, that they understand the world a lot better, that we’re not right all the time. This kind of realisation could make them think too highly of themselves. They might even think they’re smarter than us in certain aspects. It’s them trying to show to us that they are smarter and bigger now. They show frustration when they realise we’re the right one. They show frustration when we don’t agree with them. It is our job to teach them to have patience when relating to the people around them, that not everyone can think in the same way they think.

4. Your Tween Is Equally as Clueless as You Are, If Not More
And finally, I’m sure our tweens do not feel good showing their attitude or mood swings. But they can’t control themselves well enough to prevent it from happening in the first place, much like toddlers and their tantrums. Except this time they know how to regret their words and actions. When that happens, they get even angrier that they had acted in a certain way or that why we even allowed things to escalate.

It is difficult to understand how your daughter can discuss world politics with you one moment and have a full blown tantrum the next because you won’t allow her to have ice cream for lunch. Perhaps your son seems socially savvy, engaging in conversations with adults like a pro, “then why”, you wonder, “does he struggle to get his homework completed on time and/or prepare his own school bag?”

Our tweens are still growing and finding themselves. They’re still learning how to be a human being in today’s society and culture. Give them more love, guide them and most importantly, give them some time to find their way.

Till next week,

Lili is a wife and a mum to 3 boys. An aspiring writer. Adores creativity, art and beautiful creations. Dog lover. Gentle-parenting follower. Follow her parenting journey at http://www.happywehappyfamily.com where she writes about family happiness and how to stay connected to our spouse and kids.

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My First Favourite Video of 2018 – MUST WATCH!!!

I’ve been a parent for almost 8 years and I still dare not say I know what I’m doing. Coz the truth is I don’t! Parenting is a constant trial and error process until they leave home! God knows, we will still trial and error with our grandkids…

We parent different ways, but it’s becoming more and more common that we’re setting our kids up for tough competition in the “real world”. Most parents want their children to have the best opportunities presented to them, be selected by top universities and land a good-paying job. The problem is that it’s every parent’s dream, which in turn, makes the competition even tougher. Everyone is grooming their kids, I should too! That’s the mentality in the developed world these days. And who is taking the brunt of all this? You got that right. The kids. Our kids.

I came across this video last night and I immediately thought of you guys! I know you are always on your toes, wanting to do your best for your child. Julie Lythcott-Haims, an academic and author of How to Raise an Adult just rocked my world last night. I kept asking myself why I hadn’t seen this video sooner! Why hasn’t this talk received millions of views? She definitely deserves to be heard! So here I am, sharing my first best 15 minutes of 2018 with you. I hope you liked the video as much as I did.

So what were my favourite parts?

We expect our kids to perform at a level of perfection we were never asked to perform at ourselves.

This, up there, I can’t agree more. Spot on!

And in the check-listed childhood, we say we just want them to be happy,but when they come home from school,what we ask about all too often first is their homework and their grades.And they see in our faces that our approval, that our love,that their very worth,comes from A’s.

And she ended her talk with a powerful bang.

 But I’ve come to realize, after working with thousands of other people’s kids — and raising two kids of my own, my kids aren’t bonsai trees. They’re wildflowers of an unknown genus and species — and it’s my job to provide a nourishing environment, to strengthen them through chores and to love them so they can love others and receive love and the college, the major, the career, that’s up to them. My job is not to make them become what I would have them become, but to support them in becoming their glorious selves.

Parents, I can’t tell you how much I love this lady’s talk. It is such a good reminder for me as I raise my own 3 boys that they need other things in their lives such as love, play and responsibilities and not only academic results.

What was your favourite part of this talk? Share in the comment section and let’s talk!

What Makes A Happy Child

How do you know you have a happy child? When you give in to every demand? No, that’s not a happy child. That’s simply a spoilt child.

We all don’t want a spoilt child, but sometimes we subconsciously equate giving them what they want to making them happy.

So, again, how do you know you have a happy child? I don’t claim to have happy children 100% of the time but each child of mine has gone through what I would call different mood phases that sometimes last a few weeks or months. Sometimes it is just obvious that they’re not happy little kids and sometimes it just shows in everything they do that they’re contented little kids.

From my humble experience, here are some of the noticeable characteristics of a happy child vs unhappy child:

The characteristics of an unhappy child are often mistaken as their personalities, but they’re not. I know this firsthand because my children can go from one “personality” to another.

Thus, we can conclude that their behaviour does not always reflect their personality, but rather their overall mood.

So how do we help our children be happy little people? Here are my top 5 suggestions:

Instil good sleeping habits

A well-rested child equals a happy little child. It’s common knowledge. Ensuring your child gets enough sleep, however, is not only about getting them to bed early every night. Children who can truly have good sleep are ones that go to bed at the same time everyday, ones that can fall asleep on their own and sleep throughout the night with little waking up.As long as your child has disturbed sleep, looking for you in the middle of the night, she’s losing the benefits of a good night’s sleep. And that often translates into more crankiness throughout the day and if it happens for a prolonged period of time, children deprived of good nights’ sleep may develop symptoms of minor depression.

Provide a balanced diet (ditch the junk food)

You are what you eat. I will add also that you feel what you eat. Children who eat nutritious food are happier little people as compared to those who binge on snacks and sweets. So wean them off junk food.

Model positivity

Children learn from what they see better than from what they’re told. There’s little use in telling them to “look on the bright side” if everyday you and your spouse complain about life, work or certain people. Instead, make it a habit to talk about the upside of unfortunate events and talk about what you’re grateful for each day.

Teach them self-regulation

The term “self-regulation” is used to refer to a range of characteristics and abilities. A child with self-regulatory skills is able to focus his attention, control his emotions and manage his thinking, behaviour and feelings.

A child that has good self-regulation is better able to accept rejections, conflicts and disappointments. As they do not dwell on the negative emotions for too long, they can return to their happiness baseline on their own.

Train them to combat boredom

A child that does not rely on external stimulation for happiness is a happy child. It’s best if parents can reduce structured activity timings for their children and allow them to have free unstructured, unsupervised time. This way, they learn how to entertain themselves and not rely on gadgets or planned activities to have fun.

What are some of the ways you ensure that your child is a happy child? Share your secrets with our readers in the comments below!