Temper tantrums and mood swings

Tantrums may start around 18 months and become less common at four. However, tantrums may later be replaced by mood swings once your child reaches puberty. It’s not all bad news, it’s just part of growing up and will pass.

Toddler tantrums often happen when a child is not able to express themselves as much as they want to and their frustration may come out as a tantrum. Tantrums are especially likely to happen if a child is tired, hungry or uncomfortable. They often happen in busy, public places, which can be highly embarrassing and add to the parents’ stress.

Mood swings during puberty normally pass with growing age and confidence, but can often be difficult to live with at the time. Hormones and changes in physical appearance are often to blame and they may go from being happy one minute to angry and depressed the next.

Stop

My ten year old has become moody, rude and seems depressed.

Think

They are probably going through the onset of puberty

Do

Talk to them about how they feel. Help them understand the changes their body is going through.

Toddler tantrums

Keep calm and consider whether your child needs food or rest. Give your child attention and if possible, find a quiet place or some way of distracting their attention.

Don’t give in, but do try to understand your child’s feelings. Praise your child for calming down afterwards.

Mood swings

It’s true that teenagers are especially prone to mood swings. This is often put down to the surge of hormones produced at the start of and during puberty, but there might be other reasons too. Their appearance is changing so they may feel more self-conscious than usual, be feeling under pressure at school or worrying about friendships. Therefore it can be perfectly normal to feel happy one minute, and depressed, angry or frustrated the next. Mood swings usually stabilise as they head towards their late teenage years, but if you are worried contact your Doctor.