2 min read
Umm Muhammed Umar
It’s easy to view our kids moody or sullen behaviours, snarky remarks or irritability, as a personal attack, and a serious ploy to weigh us down to our last nerve, but so much can be blamed on their hormones. Their bodies are going through massive changes and growth, which has a way of intensifying their emotions. Radio Islam spoke to teen life coach and parent partner, Sister Zarina David’s.
Sister Zarina said that teenagers being moody to the point of being grumpy, was a problem that all parents experience at some stage. She explained that moodiness witnessed in teens, whilst often interpreted by adults as disrespect, was simply a common part of teenage development. Sister Zarina said, “We have significant hormonal shifts that occur during puberty and this can definitely affect the mood as teens, they are developing their independence and this is a key part of growing up. You know, this is something that they cannot handle and control, and they don’t understand it.” She added, “So it’s all a part of your child’s development and them expressing and testing independent ideas and values. So, there will be time when we disagree with him.”
Regarding how parents should deal with these changes in their child, Sister Zarina said that as adults in the situation, parents needed to stay calm. She said, “If your child reacts with attitude to a discussion, being the adult in the situation, stop, take a deep breath, and continue calmly with what you wanted to say to them.” She advised parents to use humour where possible. She said, “You share a laugh with them, maybe that can break the stalemate. It can bring maybe a new perspective and lighten the tone and it takes the heat out of a situation.” She also advised parents to never react with sarcasm: “The worst thing we can do is to put them down and be sarcastic.” Sister Zarina warned parents to make sure they understood clearly what their teen was saying, to avoid misunderstandings. She said, “Sometimes we don’t understand it the way they mean it. I don’t think they mean to be disrespectful and rude.” She added, “We as adults should clarify and take charge of the situation. I think we need to be honest; we should not take everything so personally. Be honest and say to them that their comment came across to you as pretty offensive.” She recommended that when teens were communicating in positive ways, acknowledge that with praise, for them having been understanding or mature.
As to differentiating between moodiness, and a greater issue, such as depression, Sister Zarina said that parents were sometimes left in a quandary, and that the situation was, was, indeed, sometimes misdiagnosed. She urged parents of teens to take note of whether a deterioration of mood or behaviour persists for a longer period of time than normal, such as a few weeks, without any noticeable break. She said that this could be a cause for concern. She said, “Basic symptoms that parents should take the note of is excessive anger, sadness, and irritability – most of the times these mood swings would seem out of proportion to the circumstance…….where you as the adult would think why are you reacting in such a way for something small.” She cautioned parents not to dismiss physical ailments, which were very real, “They would complain of headaches, abdominal cramps, and then also take note of shortness of breath.” She said, “When your child expresses feelings of loneliness, feelings of insecurity, and if you notice low self-esteem and a lack of confidence, hopelessness, worthlessness, thoughts of suicide, fatigue, loss of enthusiasm, and then also the other thing is a very poor school performance; in most severe cases, you will find them seeing and hearing things, delusional thinking, and visual and auditory hallucinations.” These were all, according to Sister Zarina, symptoms of depression, and not just a passing mood. professional help should be sought.
Sister Zarina said that one of the best gifts one could give one’s teen was to be in the moment with them. She said, “When you consistently show up, even a moody teen will know they can count on you for moral support.”