Tips for Dealing with Mood Swings
One of the biggest challenges of parenting an ASD teen (any teenager really) is dealing with constant mood swings. One minute they can be happy and joking away, the next they are ready to bite your head off. While these mood swings are mostly caused by fluctuating hormone levels, it’s still challenging to say the least.
If you’re struggling with your ASD teen’s mood swings, here are some great tips you can follow.
Remember What It Was Like for You
It’s really easy to forget what being a teen was like. Mood swings can be just as tough to deal with for your ASD teen as they are for you. Remembering what it was like to go through adolescence helps to have a little more empathy with what they are going through. Reminiscing how hard it was for you as a teen can help in how you deal with your ASD teen’s mood swings when they occur.
Teach Them How to Control Their Emotions
Depending on where your ASD teen is on the spectrum, teaching them how to control their emotions may be a bit tricky. This is especially true if you ASD teen has not had any behavioral therapy in life skills and etiquette training in social situations. So, you may have to teach them yourself (day by day). This will be challenging and need an extreme amount of patience, unconditional love and stamina. Now obviously, if you have your own problem controlling your emotions you may find it hard to get your ASD teen to listen to you. However, there are things you can teach them that they will thank you for later on in life.
ASD Teens generally don’t know how to identify and avoid triggers for their moods. So, teaching them how to recognize a bad mood and the coping skills they can use to stop it in its tracks. Teach them breathing exercises and the power going for a walk has on the mind.
Ensure They Are Getting Enough Sleep
Are they getting plenty of sleep? If not, it isn’t going to help their mood. Think about when you are tired and haven’t been sleeping properly. Are you calm, happy and rational? Not having enough sleep can have a negative impact on mental health and lead to a lot more mood swings.
So, try to help them get into a better sleeping pattern. This includes getting them to go to bed at the same time every night and avoiding technology before bed.
Give Them Plenty of Breathing Room
Above all else, when teenagers are in a bad mood, they like to be left alone. It is important to give them plenty of breathing space to work through their emotions. However, they also need to know that they can come to you if they do want to talk.
So, let them spend time on their own for a while after an argument or an outburst. Attempt to talk to them a little later and if they aren’t interested, don’t push it. Once they have had time to cool off, you’ll find the bad mood has disappeared.
It can be a minefield trying to avoid and eliminate your ASD teen’s mood swings. However, the above are some of the best tips you can follow to better deal with them. Some days are going to be harder than others, but over time it is possible to teach them how to handle their mood swings in a healthier way.