Are you getting tired of the constant eye-rolling, back-talking, and door slamming coming from your moody tween? Here are some helpful tips to learn how to deal with your moody preteen and why they’re acting that way in the first place!
Living with a Moody Preteen is NOT Easy
My daughter was no saint when she was a toddler. She is what people refer to as a ‘strong-willed child’ or ‘spirited kid‘. AKA she was a lot to handle and very stubborn!
But none of that prepared me for the moody preteen years. When all of a sudden emotions were all over the place.
As any mother of a young girl, I knew the teenage years would be rough and I was already dreading them (let’s not even get into what I was like as a teenager!).
But nobody… and I mean NOBODY… told me that the emotional rollercoaster of puberty would start when she was around 10 years old.
I mean, maybe she’s just getting it out of her system early and she’s going to be an angel as a teenager, right? (A mom can dream, can’t she?)
A Few Things To Remember About your Moody Tween
It’s around the age of 9-11 that kid hormones start emerging. So a lot of what they are going through is not always their fault.
You may notice other signs of raging hormones taking over your preteen child. some of these signs include:
- Worrying about their appearance more than usual
- Eating more
- Sleeping more
- Being forgetful
- Becoming less organized and messier
- Fighting with Friends
- Loss of interest in previous activities
- and eye-rolling…. lots and lots of eye-rolling!
5th grade was a big turning point for my daughter and her appearance. She went from wanting to look nice and having me braid her hair, to worrying about what brand of jeans she had and what the other kids were wearing.
I went from buying cute clothes in the Target kids section to scouting for sales at Abercrombie and Nike.
She also started having issues with her friends. When I used to pick her up from school, we would talk about what she ate for lunch or what she dis that day. But as she became more of a moody tween, she’d be complaining about what friend she fought with or what boy annoyed her that day.
As frustrating as all this is, I HAD to remember that negative feelings are normal for preteens and this was a result of the overflow of hormones in her body. NOT that she was a bad kid or that I was not raising her right.
Tips For Dealing With Your Moody Tween
You can survive this! It’s not gonna be easy. A preteen kid is going to test the heck out of you. But with enough patience and understanding (and a bit of wine), you will get through these tween years and come out with a close bond between you and your child.
Here are some tips to get you through the rough preteen years.
1 – Get Enough Sleep
This goes for both you and your child. Nothing sparks moodiness and negative behavior like lack of sleep.
The part that will really test you is that your tween will be begging to stay up later. They think they are getting older and can handle it. But resist the urge! this is actually when they need sleep the most.
And please make sure you are getting enough sleep too. It’s especially during these preteen years that you need to keep your calm and be patient. And the best way for you to do that is to make sure you are well rested too.
2 – Stay Non-Judgmental
The older they get, the more opinions they will have. And trust me, they will NOT be the same opinions you have. Their taste in clothing will be weird. The way they want to decorate their room will seem odd. This is when you start to be the mom who “just doesn’t understand!”.
Get used to it.
The best thing you can do during this period is to stay as non-judgmental as you can. Nod and smile a lot. And let them do their thing. Constantly remind yourself that they are expressing themselves and they are not harming anyone.
3 – Stick To Consequences When Appropriate
When your kid hits that preteen age, the ATTITUDE come out full force. And you will be tempted to yell at them and punish them for every eye-roll or door slam that comes with it.
Try not to.
The best thing you can do when dealing with your moody tween is distinguishing between what is normal moody behavior and what is disrespectful and should not be tolerated.
For example: My daughter came home from on overnight field trip. They spent 6 hours on a bus and got home late at night. I KNEW going into it she was going to be moody when she got home.
Boy was I right!
The second she got off the bus, she had an attitude the size of Mount Rushmore.
She was snappy with me, moody, short-tempered, etc. She complained about her friends, the food, and the uncomfortable bus.
It was really tempting to yell at her and tell her not to speak to me that way. But I also knew that this wasn’t her being disrespectful to ME. This was HER going through those mood changes.
I took her home, tucked her into bed, gave her a kiss… and basically ignored everything she said. She was moody and tired and needed rest. And wouldn’t you know… she was a cheerful kid the next morning telling me how much she LOVED the trip.
When you need to intervene: If your preteen starts back-talking you or saying mean things about or to you directly, then it’s OK to put your foot down and be assertive.
They need to follow the rules and still show respect. But you also need to learn when that it versus when they are just being cranky babies.
4 – Teach Them About Their Changing Bodies
I love this book for girls going through puberty! Its fun and doenst resemble the old medical books I had to read when I was going through puberty.
But the important thing here is remember that your preteen really has no idea what their Cody is going through. they may know about growing body parts. But do they really know what’s going to happen to them? The hair, the smells, etc?
Educating your kid on exactly what is going to happen to their changing body is critical for them at this age.
5 – Educate Them About Their Emotional Development
Don’t just stop at the physical changes of their body. Their bodies go through a lot of emotional changes too. It’s important for them to know that lot of these negative thoughts and behaviors are because of something they cannot control.
While our teens and tweens may seem moody and difficult to deal with, it may surprise you to know they feel this way inside too and don’t know why.
I can’t tell you how many times I would just find my daughter crying and saying she knows she’s a bad kid, she knows she’s being mean and she doesn’t know why and she can’t stop.
Let them know that a lot of their moodiness is not their fault. There are ways they can help the negative thoughts but there will never be a way for them to disappear completly.
And that having moodiness as a preteen is normal. There is nothing wrong with them.
Use your positive parenting skills now more than ever. Your tween needs to feel loved and supported no matter what.
6 – Don’t Take the Bait
They will test you. They will come
Learn when to move on versus when to engage.
Just like dealing with any difficult person, the best thing you can do is walk away and do not engage with their negative words and actions.
Shouldn’t it be different with your kids?
Well, sometimes. Let me explain.
While it is important to be there for your moody tween, there will be a line you should not cross when it comes to their moodiness.
Being there, listening to them, comforting them… are all beneficial things you should be doing.
But when they start taking their anger out on you or other family members, you do not need to stick around. Learn when they are taking things too far and when it’s best to walk away. Be there for their
Because its OK to be going through these changes but its not ok to be bringing down everyone around you. Teaching kids ways to deal with their emotions will be more beneficial for them when they are older.
7 – Push Healthy Habits
Preteens and tweens need healthy habits now more than ever. It’s time to start teaching them about self-care and listening to what their bodies needs.
They may feel hungry all time but that doesnt mean they should stuffing their faces with hostess Twinkies all day long. Start teaching them healthy habits that they can take into adulthood. That yes, Twinkies taste awesome, but they won’t make you feel good. They will leave you sluggish and tired.
Teach them the importance of rest and exercise. Show them that the human body needs things that will stimulate them as much as entertain them.
These are valuable tools for any preteen or tween to make them act and feel their best. But these are also essential tools any child needs to learn before becoming an adult.
8 – Just Listen (Don’t Fix!)
When my daughter was little, I would give her the best advice I could about everything. And she swallowed it up little an eager beaver.
But the older she got and the more those preteen years started to creep into our lives, she wanted my opinion less and less.
Until we even got to the point where she didn’t want to hear anything I had to say. Because you know, I didn’t understand, or I didn’t get it, or things where different when I was a kid.
Ok… sure. Whatever.
At first, this would really frustrate me. But then I learned that like most adults, we don’t often need advice. We just need someone to LISTEN.
When I would pick her up from school, she would be so angry at something some friend did that day. I tried so hard to give her advice to deal with it. And that made her more mad. Until the two of US were fighting.
So I took a different approach.
I let her get into the car after school and vent about her friends. And I just sat there and listened. I even tried my hardest to sound like a therapist. I would say things like:
- “That must have been awful”
- “And how did that make you feel?”
- “What did you do next?”
- “I’m so sorry that happened”
Even during those times I thought she was in the wrong and probably wasn’t nice to her friends, I didn’t judge and I didn’t advise her. I just listened to her.
And low and behold IT WORKED! She would vent about her mean friends and then be done. She even started to ask me about my day.
So lesson learned. No matter how strong of an opinion you have, keep it to yourself. JUST LISTEN! That’s all they need.
9 – Take Care Of Yourself Too
Mama… if you are going to have the patience required to raise a preteen, then you need to be in the condition to do so!
Find ways to reduce your stress. Get enough rest. Eat well. Exercise. anything you can do to get your mind and body feeling great.
What saved me is learning to meditate. When I start to really feel overwhelmed, I close my eyes and take several VERY deep breathes. I envision breathing in good thoughts and exhaling bad thoughts right out of my body.
It’s worked wonders for keeping me patient and level-headed.
When Raising a Moody Tween…
It’s really easy to get fed up with your moody tween. And it’s easy to feel like you’re doing everything wrong.
Remember to go easy on yourself. Raising a preteen is not easy for anybody. If your kid is sad, worried, negative, moody, and even rude sometimes… these are normal symptoms of someone going through puberty.
You are not doing a bad job as a parent. Dealing with your moody tween is a heck of a lot easier if you go easy on yourself first.
And more importantly, remember that they act their worse around you because it’s with YOU that they feel safest. They feel safe and loved with you and that’s why they they let you see them at their worse (even if they don’t realize it).
You Might Also Be Interested In:
- 15 Life Skills Any Girl Should Know Before She Becomes An Adult
- Easy Ways To Bond With Your Kids
- This is What REAL Self-Care Looks Like
- Raise Happier Kids By Creating a More Positive Home
- 12 Tips For Raising Confident Kids