Preventative measures for tween mood swings

Learn about: Preventative measures for tween mood swings from Cara Natterson, MD,...
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Preventative measures for tween mood swings

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When I teach tweens about the body and brain development in puberty, I ask them how they feel about having mood swings. 100 percent of them tell me they don't like it. They don't want to snap at their little brother. They don't want to yell at their mother. They don't want to cry on a dime. They don't like how it feels. It feels out of control. One of the things I work on with parents and with kids is learning how to identify those mood swings just as they are starting. Then having strategies in place on how to handle them, so they don't escalate. When your child is having a great moment or a great day, sit down and come up with a plan. A plan should include a time out. A time out is no different for a tween than it was for a toddler, it's getting the kid out of the situation. If you start seeing the mood swing, there should be a time out. It could be, go in your room and write in a journal. Go in your room and play a musical instrument. I have kids who tell me that they like to throw themselves on their bed, put their head in a pillow, and scream. That's all they need. They just need a break and not go into that cycle of meltdown. If parents start to recognize early swinging moments, it can be aborted very quickly because you can give the child a time out. If it escalates and you haven't given a child a way out, it just ends up in a meltdown and fight of some sort. Make a plan for it.

Learn about: Preventative measures for tween mood swings from Cara Natterson, MD,...

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Cara Natterson, MD

Pediatrician & Author

Cara Natterson, MD has treated thousands of children and guided their parents as well. She was a partner at Tenth Street Pediatrics in Santa Monica, California, a large group practice serving infants, children and teenagers. She now runs Worry Proof Consulting, the first of its kind pediatric practice that offers parents open-ended time to review everything from medical questions and biology basics to child development and parenting issues. Cara is also the author of several books on parenting and child health. She has a unique ability to translate cutting edge research into understandable terms for parents and their kids. More recently, Cara’s consulting has extended beyond individual families to include fortune 500 companies seeking expert advice on safety issues, child health, and crisis management.

Cara has appeared on television, in print, and on the web. She is a graduate of Harvard College and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and she trained in pediatrics at the University of California at San Francisco. Cara is a Board certified pediatrician and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. And anyone who knows her knows that Cara is, by nature, one of the most risk-averse people on earth. She lives in California with her husband and two children.

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