The Jekyll and Hyde syndrome in teens

Last Updated 22 March 2013, 15:03 IST

Ever seen a teen who’s Jekyll one moment and Hyde the next? It’s not an uncommon circumstance, given that teenage is the period when kids feel stuck and hanging between childhood and adulthood, struggling with identity and self-image.

It is the period when social acceptance takes the frontseat and family time hits an all-time-low! It is the period when the individual wishes to be on their own and wants to make their own decisions but find it quite overwhelming and lonely at times. While usually people grow out of it, the process itself can be quite daunting, especially when teenage takes the individual on an emotional roller-coaster ride.

The inner confusion and conflict is much too high during teenage and therefore, mood swings occur quite often during this period. Biology too has a major hand in tormenting the teens with mood swings. Their bodies are undergoing puberty and needless to say, the sudden changes in their bodies too can leave them confused and the ups and downs that come with these changes can make them feel out of control.

Some reasons for mood swings in teenagers:

* A particular school scenario leading up to a feeling of restlessness and inadequacy in handling a situation, relating to the school curriculum or just peer pressure could be one reason. The best thing to do in such cases is to be patient and lend a keen ear. Parents need to gently encourage the child into communicating and expressing the problems at hand. Most of the times, once the stressor at the school is taken care of, the mood swings lessen in intensity.

* All through the teen age, the children are experiencing hormonal changes and trying to understand the feelings that come with it. Issues with respect to love and feelings towards someone from their peer group can also be a reason to alienate oneself and have mood swings. Communication is the key here; the parents need to make sure that they identify the stressor and gently guide the child towards ways to deal with it. Most often as soon as the child gets clarity on how to handle these issues the mood swings lessen.

*  Family drama is another leading reason for teenagers to feel anxiety. Families that are going through divorce or any other tension will definitely see the teen in the family with wide mood swings. The parents need to make sure that firstly, no episodes of aggressive behavior by the parents happen in front of the teenager and secondly, the teenager should be reassured of the love of the parents now and again so (s)he is secure, mentally stable, and calm.

Understanding that almost everyone goes through mood swings during their teen years might make them easier to handle. Parents need to provide a stable, secure, and happy home environment for children and inspire them to be happy and healthy for life.

(Published 22 March 2013, 14:58 IST)

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