I found myself constantly asking: Why is my 10 year old daughter so moody? Does my moody child have anger issues or is this negative behavior normal? Is there a way to help my moody teen cope? Learn 10 reasons why your child may be in a bad mood and how you can support them.
All I could do was stare blankly out the car window.
I felt like if I as much as blinked it could trigger my not so little girl.
Three minutes ago, she screamed that I was a “terrible mother” and she hated me. I think because I turned the heat on in the car. Or, maybe it was because I asked if she brushed her teeth before we left. Then again, I suppose it could be because I breathed wrong in her direction.
Forty seconds after that, she told me that I looked pretty with my hair down and asked me to turn up the radio – like she didn’t just verbally assault me not even a minute prior.
As the preteen years were making a bold entrance, I realized that I had to understand why my 10 year old daughter was so moody and how I could help her cope before it got too late.
Understanding the Preteen and Teen Brain
I realized the best way to help my daughter was to first better understand more about what was going on in that mind of hers.
Research shows that adults think with the rational part of the brain (called the prefrontal cortex). That is why most adults are able to respond to situations with good judgment and an awareness of long-term consequences.
Teens, like young children, process information with the emotional part of the brain first – called the amygdala.
New research also suggests that the teen brain is very resilient. Different situations that occur during the teenage years can have a huge impact on their development.
This highlights the importance of understanding your child’s behavior (why they are in a bad mood), and how to support them during difficult times.
Related: Top Signs of Anger Issues in Teens
10 Reasons Your Daughter is So Moody
The best thing you can do for your child during angry outbursts, teen mood swings, or verbally abusing attitude is to try to understand what they need.
Here are the 10 reasons your daughter may be feeling the urge to assault you or anyone else who crosses her path:
1) Biological Factors at Play
As mentioned earlier, your child is used to thinking with the emotional portion of their brains. They are still learning to navigate the world using both emotions and facts.
While there is a lot of beauty to this, it basically clouds any filter they are developing. They aren’t always thinking of consequences (including hurting YOUR feelings).
What you can do: make sure you make consequences very clear. When you set boundaries or rules, make sure they know the “why” behind them.
2) Lack of Sleep
Your moody or seemingly lazy child may not be getting enough sleep.
Research shows that the body’s “sleep hormone”, called melatonin, are naturally higher later at night and drop later in the morning in teens compared to children and adults. This may explain why many teens stay up late and struggle with getting up in the morning. If your child or teen is not getting enough sleep, it can result in irritability, moodiness, and difficulty paying attention.
What you can do: make sure your teens get enough sleep. Teens should get about 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night.
3) Too Much Social Media
Starting around age 10, children’s brains undergo a biological change that propels them to seek social rewards, specifically from their peer group.
Social media platforms expose kids and teens to cyberbullying, impaired body image, and other similar concerns.
Further, studies have linked social media platforms have been increasingly linked to mental health problems, including anxiety, depressive symptoms, and body image concerns.
Learn more about exactly why social media is harmful for growing preteens here.
What you can do: limit screen time, specifically social media, in your home. While every family is different, restricting social media through preteen years is essential.
Print a social media safety and accountability contract here.
4) Peer Pressure
Bad behavior is sometimes the result of peer pressure, and roughly 90% of teens admit to experiencing peer pressure.
What you can do: get involved in your daughter’s social groups. Invite her friends over and give them the chance to interact with family members. Allowing friends to feel comfortable in your home will help you gain your daughter’s trust.
Related: Raise Kids who Come to You with Problems, not Hide From You
5) Physical Changes
Along with growths spurts, you can expect many other body changes including body odor, acne and puberty.
You’ve been a teen, and you surely remember the awkward transformation your body takes into adulthood.
What you can do: talk openly what your daughter can expect. Encourage proper nutrition and physical activity to help them feel healthy and confident during these changes.
6) Emotional Changes
There is a whole host of emotional changes your daughter goes through during these teen and preteen years.
While strong emotions are an expected and normal part of growing up, it doesn’t make it any easier.
What you can do: have open conversations with your daughter about how them feel. Encourage them to use “I statements”. Learn more about that here.
Did you know girls confidence takes a nosedive starting at age 8? Learn how to Raise Confident Girls here.
7) Overwhelmed by School Work and other Duties
Sometime around middle school, a lot of the home and school responsibilities shifts to the child.
Your child may be struggling with staying organized, managing their time, and keeping up with their mounting to-do lists.
What you can do: help your child learn to set achievable goals. Bullet journals are a great way to do this.
Click here for free printable bullet journals.
8) Issues with Friends
As your daughter learns more about her interests her personality develops, there may be changes with her friend group.
Additionally, moody behavior can stem from troubles brewing with her friends that she most likely isn’t telling you about. She could be having a hard time getting along with a with best friend or stuck in a ring of gossip.
What you can do: while your daughter may not come to you about friend issues, if you notice moodier than normal behavior, ask her if everything is okay socially.
9) Need for quality time
Your daughter may not even realize it, but she may be screaming for quality time with you.
Strong, loving relationships with family members are needed for proper development. In fact, research shows that when teens spend more time with their parents, they are less likely to get in trouble at school or with the law.
What you can do: schedule a specific mother-daughter “date”. Go to lunch, see a movie, go on a walk, get your nails done. These simple 1:1 activities will make her feel notably special and help with moody behavior.
10) Mental Health Problems
If you are noticing intense emotions, extreme mood swings, or isolating behavior, reach out for professional help. Trust your gut instinct!.
What you can do: If you think your child is struggling with mental health issues, see a clinical psychologist, pediatrician, or even start with a kids helpline (like Child Helpline International) right away.
Click here for 5 Ways to Help with Teen Anxiety and Insecurities.
Final Thoughts and Why my 10 year old Daughter is So Moody
Overwhelmed? Take a deep breath. The good news is
While you can’t prevent a moody teenager, you can develop trust with your preteen girls during those crazy youth and tween years and teach them valuable coping skills.
Now, I would really appreciate it if you wish me luck as my middle daughter enters her teen years.
You may also find helpful: 10 Signs of Spoiled Teen