how to deal with a moody teenager

How to Deal with a Moody Teenager

Most teenagers experience mood swings and emotional changes, perhaps attempting to isolate themselves in their rooms, refusing to do activities with family and peers, or being irritable for no reason. Here’s a brief guide to dealing with your teen’s moodiness and determining whether it is a symptom of depression.

Understanding Why Teens Feel Moody

During the development stages, such as adolescence and young adulthood, someone may experience confusion in how they function, behave, or socialize. The first step to dealing with mood swings in teenagers is to understand why it happens to them.
Developing Adolescent Brains
The brain’s structure continues to develop during puberty. The brain’s prefrontal cortex is the part that changes the most during this stage, and it is responsible for regulating behavior. Furthermore, the “white matter” increases in the frontal and parietal lobes of the teenage brain, making it more difficult for teens to logically control their behaviors, decisions, feelings, emotions, and impulses.
Changes in Teen's Hormones
Hormones can highly influence a teenager’s mood. Sex hormones, such as estrogen and testosterone, are often the root causes of moodiness. Cases of severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can also affect mood. In addition, THP — or allopregnanolone — is a hormone produced when stressed, and it has a relaxing effect on adults. However, THP has the opposite effect on teenagers. As teenagers reach adulthood, their sensitivity to THP begins to fade, potentially leading to lower chances of moodiness during stressful periods. Anyone who has spent time with an anxious teenager knows that they seem impatient, nervous, or moody. If your teen appears to be anxious, they may be more irritable or grumpy than a typical adult.

Differentiating Moodiness from Depression

Moodiness may be normal for teens, especially when they are experiencing difficulties in school activities, house chores, friends, and romantic relationships. Although it is something that comes and goes, it may still affect their daily routines. Parents sometimes wonder what separates typical moody teen behavior from a concerning issue, such as depression. If your child went through a stressful night and is cranky but feels fine for the rest of the week, it might just be a phase. However, if the negative feelings linger, it is worth consulting your child’s pediatrician or school counselor. They can assist you in identifying the signs of depression. Moreover, they can help you look for depression treatments and therapies appropriate for teenagers.

Parenting Tips on How to Deal with Teen's Moodiness

Parenting is a challenging task, and it can get a lot more draining during the child’s teenage years. This stage may cause unpleasant behaviors such as anger, defiance, and isolation. Here are some parenting tips on how you can handle your teen’s moodiness.
Educate yourself about emotional development in teens.
The teenage brain is much more different from the adult brain, and so are their behaviors. Teens rely more on their emotions than on logical thinking. The first step in dealing with teenage behaviors is understanding what is going on inside their minds. You may research online or seek help from mental health professionals to find out more about the teenage brain’s concepts.
When your child is angry, back off and let them cool down.
As the saying goes, “Do not add fuel to the fire.” If your teen’s emotions are at the highest point, let them be, as long as they do not hurt themselves or others. Trying to calm them down might make them angrier and distant instead. Let the raging emotions pass, then talk when they cool down.
Encourage your teen to follow a healthy lifestyle.
Exercising and eating fruits and nuts can prevent depression and improve the brain’s functioning. Serve these healthy foods for your teens, especially when they are stressed with school work.
Discuss your expectations and boundaries clearly and reasonably.
Communicate your expectations with your child and ensure that you are on the same page with them. If you have a set of house rules, explain everything to them all the whats, whys, and hows to avoid any misunderstandings.
Limit their screen time.
One of the primary causes of moodiness in teenagers is the excessive use of technology, especially social media and video games. Cyberbullying and online arguments can severely affect your child’s behavior. Furthermore, playing video games for many hours a day can impact their brain functions. Teens tend to immerse in the game world, so they might become desensitized to violence and aggression.
Help your teen find a hobby.
A teen’s mood improves when they are encouraged to spend their time doing what they like, instead of being forced to do something they do not enjoy. Pay attention to what makes them happy and support their hobby. You may also allocate your free time doing such activities with them.
Spend quality time with your child.
Try to match your child’s free time with yours. Sharing a meal or some snacks is a good idea because food boosts energy and improves mood. Also, if your child likes to spend time outdoors, such as country driving, hiking, and swimming, join them.
Be your teen's role model.
Avoid unnecessary arguments at home, especially your child is around. They may think that shouting is acceptable behavior. Strive to control your emotions and urges if you want your child to emulate your behavior.
The best way of parenting a child is by supporting them and letting them know that they can trust you whenever they have problems. If things are getting out of hand, you may seek professional help to learn how to deal with their feelings.

Wilderness Therapy in Los Angeles for Moody Teens with Anger Issues

Wilderness therapy programs use outdoor activities and resources to help teens grow and heal from moodiness and depression. According to studies, outdoor settings promote mental health benefits. Here are some reasons why wilderness therapy in Los Angeles helps moody teens:
  • Wilderness adventure therapy sessions help promote healthy habits These sessions provide avenues for teens to improve their decision-making and problem-solving skills. Teens are also encouraged to maintain regular exercise schedules, balanced nutrition, and healthy sleep patterns. Through wilderness therapy, moody teens can improve their minds and body, making them more receptive to new ideas.
  • Wilderness therapy improves social skills in teens Some teens feel misunderstood if they cannot handle their emotions. In a wilderness program, a team of therapists, counselors, and other mental health professionals support and care for your teen. They teach them healthy coping strategies to deal with trouble in school or at home. They are also professionally trained to understand your child’s issues, which means they can offer them the precise tools and resources they need.
  • Wilderness therapy educates teens about the cause and effect of negative behavior Therapists help teens understand why they feel angry for no reason or why they suddenly feel sad. They also allow them to see, feel, and experience the consequences of their actions and eventually learn how to take responsibility.
  • Wilderness therapy improves self-confidence Teens are encouraged to participate in adventures like hiking and biking, which improve positive thinking skills. Your child will feel more comfortable and confident when making significant life decisions. Also, therapy decreases their tendencies to feel stressed and depressed from minor inconveniences.


Mood changes are perfectly normal, but they should not last long. Otherwise, it can be a symptom of an underlying mental health condition like depression. Fortunately, there are treatment methods available in Los Angeles for teens going through moodiness and depression.
If you believe that wilderness treatment is the best way to deal with your child’s issues, we suggest you reach out to us as soon as possible. Key Healthcare is a teen drug rehab center which can provide your teen with the kind of treatment they need to recover and significantly improve their daily life.