How can I deal with moody parents?

A teenager unable to talk to her moody mother

It might seem confusing when a parent sometimes is in a good mood and other times their tempers flare uncontrollably. Life may seem like walking in a minefield anxiety rushes through your body constantly as you are unaware what the next moment will give birth too."

Why do parent behavior this way at times? There are many reasons why your parents can be moody, but let me just list the common ones:

(a) Work related problems

Although they may not mention this to you, the stress from the demanding work schedules compacted with insecurity of job loss can indeed be emotionally draining them.

Thus, when they feel that you are not complimenting their efforts and therefore making their life a little bit harder, they can be very irritable.

(b) Money related problems

Usually at the end of the month there are many bills that need to be paid, yet sometimes there might not be sufficient money to pay them all.

This unpleasant situation usually heightens the anxiety levels in your parents, who are trying to keep up with these demands.

(c) Relationship related problems

When your parents are not relating well with each other or even with you personally, then communication within the family can quickly be very fluid and touchy.

All that is needed is for a single matchstick to be lit and there will be a consuming inferno of emotions.

(d) Health related problems

Mood swings can also be a symptom of an illness either physical or psychological.

For example, their irritability may be deep rooted in their bad childhood upbringing, thus they may not be aware that they are exhibiting such behavior.

(e) Drug abuse problems

Parents with alcohol or drug addiction problems usually have mood problems.

From the above list, one can see that your parents are also human, they also have their weakness.

Since you cannot control the circumstances that affect them, how can you adapt to cope with their moody behavior?

Here are some recommendations that can help you:

1. Learn to identify warning signs

Learning to identify the warning signs can help you make better decisions on what say or to do in order to minimize disagreements.

Some of signals are like, not saying hello when they arrive, unusually quiet, unresponsive, wants not to be disturb etc.

When you detect such signals then it would best to avoid antagonizing them further with remarks that can incite them to anger.

Furthermore, it is also advisable to be aware if there any actions on your part that are contributing in eliciting your parents moody feelings so as to avoid repeating them again.

2. Learn to be emphatic

Understanding the pressures of life that your parents are experiencing can also give you the empathy needed to deal with your parent’s moodiness.

In order to gain such insight, you can discreetly choose a convenient time to draw their feels out. You can ask questions like, how was your day? Is there something wrong?

Your concern for their welfare will demonstrate to them that you care about them and their efforts are not in vain.

When they feel appreciated this will empower them to bear with the strains of rising of you and less prone to moodiness.

3. Show affection

R.L. LaFevers in her book Theodosia and the Last Pharaoh said:

I have found it is surprisingly difficult to remain sad when a cat is doing its level best to sandpaper one's cheeks."

Indeed affection can be a very effective mood changer. You don't have to be cat in order to effect such a change.

For example, when you parents seem exhausted you would be surprised how a hug can lighten their mood or expressions like ‘love you mom ’, ‘thanks dad’.

However, this expressions should be sincere, not a pretense to hoodwink your parents from being mad with your bad behavior.

In fact when caught in the wrong, it would be more advisable to express remorse and show willingness to make amends as this will lessen their temper.

4. Help out with chores

When you are the first to arrive, take the initiative to help out with some chores before your parents arrive from work e.g., removing the garbage, washing dishes or preparing some tea.

How uplifting it will be to your parents to find out that you were considerate enough to do those tasks. It will make to them look forward to coming home from work, thus making them less grouchy.

5. Act prudently

At times you may implement the above suggestions and only be meet with resistances and anger, especially if they are under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Under such circumstances, it is prudent to lay low and avoid saying or doing anything that may heighten the mood.

Find someone else who you can pour your feelings to and is in a better position to offer you assistance if need be. I would suggest someone close to the family like grandparents, uncles or aunts.

They may encourage you parent tactfully to seek professional help in order to deal with major depression, alcohol or drug addiction, or any other serious physical and emotional ailments.