As a parent or caregiver, one of your primary responsibilities is shaping your child’s mood and behavior to enhance their emotional well-being. While completing such a task will enable you to raise happy and well-adjusted kids, we understand it can also be challenging.
Today we live in a fast-paced world where children are often exposed to a load of external information and experiences that can make them struggle with their mood and behavior.
It’s even more difficult for them because kids are vulnerable to external experiences due to their underdeveloped sense of judgment—they can’t control how they react to situations.
One minute, they may seem all happy and cheerful; the next minute, they are keeping a straight face or looking all gloomy.
So, in this guide, we’ll discuss some aspects of child psychology and behavioral issues and explore practical ways to improve children’s emotional well-being and behavior.
By equipping yourself with the practical knowledge in this guide, you can create a positive environment that nurtures your children’s mental and emotional growth. You can also help them develop self-regulation skills and a healthy outlook on life.
What are Mood Swings In Childhood
Childhood mood swings are abrupt changes in emotional states. Within minutes, a child could swing from joyful to depressed to furious to worn out. When mood swings are a problem, they may happen frequently throughout the day.
You might think that your child’s rage goes from 0 to 60 in a matter of seconds. Your child may go into orbit if the slightest thing goes wrong. Your child’s disposition can quickly change from being playful and happy one minute to being too angry or depressed the next.
It is typical for kids and teenagers to have mood swings occasionally. There are moments during childhood when a child’s mood may change. However, some children have a very difficult time controlling their emotions.
They could feel imprisoned by their quickly shifting moods. They may develop a pattern where one day, they feel wonderful, like they can take on the world, but the next day they are incredibly depressed.
Being a parent of a child with these difficulties can be challenging. Families may feel confined in their homes and fear their kids in the most severe situations.
Causes of Mood Swings & Behavioral Issues in Children
We can only discuss enhancing children’s moods by understanding what causes these mood and behavioral issues. Below are some reasons for mood swings in children.
An Emotional Phase Of Child Development
Mood changes in young toddlers are common. You could observe that a toddler or preschooler’s moods change abruptly and without warning.
Children at this age are becoming more independent, emotionally aware, and capable of managing. A young child’s mood may alter in response to sleep, feeding, scheduling, and interest modifications.
Your child may go through new periods where they are momentarily moody due to a developmental change. Children may become irritable for a while as they approach puberty or go through a significant shift, like starting a new school.
The crucial point is that mood changes are controllable. Your house and family are not in disarray due to your child’s mood swings at this level; it’s just an expected phase in their development as kids.
Children’s depression might sometimes manifest as irritability. Parents should be on the lookout for children who exhibit persistent sadness and irritability. These young people could feel like the end is near.
It appears as though nothing is ever entirely right. Children with these difficulties don’t seem to be directly responding to recent events; instead, they exhibit pervasive grief regardless of what is happening in their environment.
A youngster who has suffered a substantial loss or tragedy may exhibit excessive worry and melancholy, which can cause mood swings.
Big T traumas (Significant Trauma Experiences) seriously risk a child’s safety or sense of self-worth. The brain may shut down, detach, or react violently in response to trauma.
The emotional portion of the brain has the potential to “hijack” the reasoning portion. The “wizard brain” (the thinking brain) and the “lizard brain” (the feeling brain) are two names for these various structures.
It is impossible to handle life situations without a lot of changing emotions when your child is in their lizard brain. It is crucial to show youngsters who might be going through this kind of hardship empathy and assistance.
It might be challenging to distinguish between impulsive conduct in kids and natural mood swings. It’s crucial to ensure that your child’s reckless decisions do not continue if they put them into problems.
A child might occasionally make a poor decision, but you should consult a specialist if it becomes a pattern. Look more closely to determine whether your youngster acted impulsively.
Both impulsive and unpredictable behavior is expected in children with mood disorders and ADHD. In each scenario, these problems need clinical attention.
Parents should know their children’s propensity for depression or other mood conditions. It is significant to remember that childhood bipolar disorder is uncommon.
If your child exhibits these mood swings, there is usually a history of mood problems in the family. These conditions are frequently passed down via families.
A professional might be helpful if you notice signs of significant mood swings in a child and know that a parent or grandparent suffers from a mood condition.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
Extreme behavior in kids can be ascribed to their emotions. And it can either be a behavior disorder or a mood disorder.
The difference is that in behavior disorder, the child might misbehave (such as punching other kids) to achieve their goals (such as moving to the front of the line or obtaining a specific object).
It may also be a behavior disorder if the child engages in actions to achieve a specific goal and becomes highly disruptive to daily living.
But on the other hand, it may be more indicative of a mood disorder, sadness, or anxiety when irrational and unpredictable behaviors seem to appear out of nowhere.
An individual’s mood may abruptly change from one extreme emotion to another if they suffer from a bipolar type of mood illness.
A mood illness comprises abrupt changes to an ecstatic or manic mood, whereas depression usually implies a depressed and irritated mood.
While a child with a mood condition is likely to engage in some undesirable activities, they may not be motivated by rewards since they feel out of control.
The child may feel confined and longing for her brain to quit doing this. A child who is experiencing these problems can claim that they imagine themselves to be in prison.
Most therapists and physicians thought that mood disorders like Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder could only be diagnosed in adults until around ten years ago.
The term “manic-depressive” has been replaced with “bipolar.” The terms “mania” and “depression” are still used to characterize the mood swings associated with this condition.
A manic episode, also known as a hypomanic condition, is characterized by feelings of euphoria, a “flight of ideas” (the rapid generation of several innovative ideas for changing the world and the energizing lecturing of others about them), dangerous behavior, excessive excitement, or excessive hyperactivity.
Your kid may speak quickly under pressure (intense, fast, frenetic, hurried, tangential speech), or they may embellish or talk about things that appear absurd.
Your child may have ‘grandiose’ thoughts about being able to do everything and anything or possessing magical abilities during a manic episode, exhibiting exaggerated self-esteem.
Irritability, sorrow, a loss of enjoyment in once-pleasurable activities, and problems sleeping or eating are all signs of depression.
In children, irritability is a common symptom of depression. As a result, even if your child does not cry or appear unhappy, bipolar disorder should still be considered if regular episodes of irritation alternate with manic episodes.
A fast-changing mood could potentially be the beginning of a depressive episode.
Your child may have phases of depression rather than bipolar disorder if they go from being neutral or joyful to depressed without exhibiting episodes of excessive giddiness, pressured speech, or dangerous behavior.
Effective Ways To Improve Your Child’s Mood And Behavior
The following tips will assist you in helping your child control their emotions and reach a more stable mood.
1. Be Understanding
The most crucial advice for parents is to understand where their children’s emotions are coming from and what motivates their conduct.
Despite their mood fluctuations, be understanding and supportive of them.
Ask them questions about their struggles, but don’t press them if they don’t want to discuss them with you. Simply let them know that you understand how they are feeling.
Additionally, rather than pressing them, say something like, “It seems like you aren’t in the mood to talk right now. I am available whenever you need me, but I entirely understand that.
Ask if something happened that he wants to talk about later, perhaps when you are playing with them or when you are watching TV.
If you do not press them, they are more likely to be prepared to speak, and when they are engaged in another activity, it is easier for them to bring up some difficult subjects.
2. Stick To Your Boundaries
You must respect your boundaries while still being understanding of others. Kids frequently try to push us to the limit to see how far they can go.
They can tell how we will react by how far we will let them go. You must be clear about the types of actions you will tolerate and be steadfast in your choices.
3. Stay Calm And Avoid Being Judgmental
You will want to remind your children that they are overreacting and that nothing terrible will happen while experiencing a mood swing.
Avoid criticizing them because doing so will make them turn their back on you. Additionally, if you lose your cool, it may turn into a power war. So make an effort to maintain your composure.
4. Don’t Give Up On Them
Remind yourself that you are not alone if your child’s temperament and violence occasionally fill you with dread.
Discuss your experiences with other parents. When you realize that other parents are going through the same thing, it will make you feel a lot better.
5. Play With Your Children
Encourage them to enjoy a fun game if they are feeling down. They can unwind and calm down as a result. Playing with your kids can also strengthen your relationship with them.
6. Make A Joyful Environment
Make a cheerful environment for your kids. A location where they can go if they’re upset. A basic chair in their room where they may read their favorite books or perhaps listen to music.
When they are moody, going to their happy place will quickly make them feel better. Children will benefit for the rest of their lives if you educate them on managing their emotions now.
7. Allow Them To Express Himself
Your house should be a place where your youngster feels free to express himself. Children can become grumpy when they are unsure about what to do. Children act passively to express their annoyance.
8. Encourage Positive Behavior
It’s crucial that father and mother get down together to brainstorm ways your child might express themselves.
You can tell him they should talk to their parents about the issue rather than pouting. Their communication skills will also improve as they explain problems.
9. Keep Stress Level Low At Home
You should minimize stress at home as a parent. Stressful circumstances mainly influence children.
Stressful home circumstances, such as a challenging family dynamic, can impact children’s mental health, leading to moodiness and anxiety.
10. Time For Complain
Set aside a specific period of time for whining. Tell your child he is welcome to express his concerns now. Ask him to finish his list of complaints the following day if the allotted time has passed.
Your youngster must consider what he wants to complain about before there is a complaining slot. They will ultimately stop moaning and whining thanks to this technique.
The journey to improving your children’s mood and behavior is one that requires patience, commitment, and a deep understanding of their emotional needs and behavioral patterns.
Remember that each step you take towards enhancing their mood or behavior contributes to their happiness, growth, and development, so it’s important to be intentional toward their dispositions.
As parents or caregivers, your words, actions, and support will lay the foundation upon which they will build their sense of self. So effective communication and active listening should be encouraged in order to enhance their emotional well-being. Good luck!