How to Deal with Moody Daughter

Updated on April 20, 2019
C.T. asks from Red River, NM
7 answers

My tween daughter went from being a happy little girl to being an extremely sensitive and moody tween. It's amazing how much her personality has changed! She's often unhappy about something. She's often mad about something or frustrated. I know it is all the process of growing up and I know it's hormones, but it's still so hard! If she is tearful and can't even say why and I try to sit with her and give her support she gets very annoyed. She will be bored and can't find something to do and it's the end of the world!!! Or there is some injustice at school and she can't fall asleep because she is so upset for another kid. Or she didn't do her dance steps properly in class and she HATES HERSELF. Or whatever. I know this is common with many kids this age. I feel like I go back and forth between trying to not make a big deal or downplay the situation to trying to empathize and help her (which ends up being frustrating). I got her a great book Celebrate Your Body!. She read it and afterwards she seemed to make a BIGGER deal about things. Its like reading about puberty and hormones and changes gave her permission to act even more dramatic. I'm not dramatic and really dislike the huge mood swings. I want to help ease her pain but I find myself feeling very annoyed. I think I'm pretty good at hiding my annoyance though. Did anyone else have a daughter whose personality seemed to drastically change and what are the best ways to deal with the moods and drama? I'd love to get some tips. Thanks!

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Don't worry - we have rules and don't accept rudeness! She has chores and she helps around the house. She has been helping me get all the gardens started lately for example.
Second, I work 30 hours a week and have my own life! I'm a scientist and an artist. I also hike and enjoy doing things with friends. No worries about that! I'm not a parent who hovers over the kids.
She is 9 years old and suddenly is very moody and dramatic. Hormones are coming in. Did your kid BAM! have a hard time with hormones hitting suddenly like this? I do not try to solve her problems and much of the time I give her space, but I'd love other advice if anyone has ways to deal with sadness, crying, and general moodiness that hit suddenly!

More Answers


answers from Washington DC on

i think the best response is a low key response. you don't want to feed into it by doing the dance with her, and it sounds as if you're not. but you also want to make her feel heard, appreciated, acknowledged. and it sounds as if you are.

i get the annoyance and i'd feel the same way. but some kids are more moody and dramatic than others, and this may just be a phase while she gets her hormones sorted out.

i'd give yourself an internal time frame in which to listen and make noncommital sympathetic noises, and when time's up, you give yourself permission to extricate yourself from the conversation. if she's just working herself up into a tizzy of resentment and blaming, you're not helping anyway. while you're in it, mirroring statements and open-ended questions, but don't offer solutions (they won't be appreciated) and don't let yourself be maneuvered into a target position. mostly you want to be quiet, with an attentive expression and lots of hmmms and nods.

when time is up, or she's starting to re-direct the anger at you, disengage. 'sounds like a pickle, honey. it's a good thing you're a problem solver. i'm sure you'll figure out a way to (find something not boring to do, practice her dance steps, handle friendship blowups, get her homework done) once you've thought about it for a while. let me know if there's anything i can do. i'm going to get dinner started.'

and offer (low key!) praise when she does sort it out herself.

S. (who is glad she had relatively low drama boys)

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

This isn't just about hormones making her crazy. It's partly about this being a very difficult age where everyone is just trying to fit in. It's normal for her to spend a lot of energy trying to look like she fits in and wondering if she's really fooling anyone. Sometimes doing that takes so much energy that when they come home (to their safe place) they just let it all out ... on us ... the people they feel safest with.

Some people really are more dramatic than others, so that's probably part of it too. You can't relate to how she is handling this. That's not crazy. There are definitely times when my husband can't relate to me or our son because of how we deal with things.

I agree with others that some of the behavior needs to be curbed. Sometimes I have to tell our son that what he's feeling is completely ok, but he needs to take a deep breath and try to calm down. If he's having trouble doing that, he can go in his room for a bit or walk around outside. But he needs to recognize that his behavior affects other people.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you can't fix this for her, you can only listen. She doesn't need or want you to fix things or make her feel ok about everything. She needs to learn how to deal with whatever in her own way. She may need a sounding board and once in awhile a small bit of advice. But she doesn't want you to solve her problems and reading a book isn't going to magically save her from living through what we all have to live through - the middle school years. Thank God I don't have to live through those again. But they did help to make me who I am, and that's just part of becoming an adult ... living through those more difficult years.

You can't do this for her, but you can be there for her.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

First, don't "license" her to act any old way she wants - just because. This is the beginning of what could be a great teaching opportunity or the start of raising a bratty, entitled, snotty brat who think that she can act however moody she wants because it was always allowed. I get that hormones are raging - but she needs some skills to cope with them rather than sitting and empathizing with something that likely can't be changed.

Set some boundaries on what behaviors are acceptable and what isn't. My kids could act all extra, but not in front of me and the family. Off to their room if they were going to play the drama queen (or king for that matter). I wanted to teach my kids to really sit down and verbalize what issues were, even if it meant sitting down and saying "I really feel bad but I don't even know why." I also did a lot of "ignoring" of what I considered to be behavior that I didn't feel it was appropriate to call a kid out on. For example, if a kid was being mopey - fine. That really didn't affect me if I didn't let it. I would ask the normal questions: anything I can do? want to talk? etc. If that didn't work, I just would state that I am here to listen and let the moping commence for however long they wanted to do it for. Whining, fit throwing, excessive complaining, etc. Not allowed. I had teenagers living in my house for nearly 20 years non-stop. I would have jumped off my own roof if I would have allowed the constant drama simply because of hormones (or break ups, or break outs, or any of a number of the 9 million issues that can set a teenager spiraling).

Your actions and what you allow now will set the stage for what her teenage years look like.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

First - establish some boundaries.
Hormonal or not she's a human being and she needs to be respectful.
If she over steps or mouths off she can spend some time in her room.

Although my moms method was to have us do yard work -
summer = mowing/gardening, washing car inside and out,
fall = raking leaves,
winter = shoveling snow,
spring = digging up a garden bed.
Sweating doing physical labor, getting filthy, having some alone time gives you a chance to burn the hormones off a bit.
Plus it feels so good when you are exhausted and the yard looks great.

Second - you can't solve this for her.
Too much 'honey I know you feel bad - I just want to help' makes teens want to barf.
I know you don't mean to but that action tells them they are incapable of solving their own problems and it enrages them even more.
It also makes you a focus for their bad mood and who needs that? Not you!

They push you away so they can establish their own personalities and grow up a bit.
They need to figure it out themselves.
They center so much on themselves for a few years - from their point of view they really are the center of their universe - and it takes awhile for them to discover that they are not nearly as important as they think they are.
A few dance steps out of place? the world does not come crashing down, it spins on and the sun comes up tomorrow just like it always has and always will.

Third - it's important you have a life that's outside your daughters.
You have friends, hobbies, you do things you enjoy and it models what she needs to do.
It really helps you especially when she finally goes off to college because that empty nest feeling is really awful.

My sister and I were certainly older when we hit this stage - 9 yrs old is on the young side for it.
7th grade was horrible.
Our son wasn't too bad - he had his moments - for him this was also in middle school.
Fortunately he'd get over it fairly quickly.
When he'd go off the deep end sometimes I'd tell him he has 15 min in his room to throw a pity party and feel sorry for himself and after that he'd better be over it.
Just once I had to tell him to drop the attitude because I could out attitude him with both hands tied behind my back and 'You REALLY do NOT want to go there!'.
It worked well for him - but he's never been really dramatic.

Really - at 9 yrs old this is just premature.
When she goes off send her to her room to cool off and collect herself.
Get a handle on it now because 13 it could be a whole lot worse.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I think the best "action" tip is just a variant on advice for parenting a younger child: remove the "toy" (the thing) that is causing an issue.

Dramatic sleeplessness over something silly? Earlier to bed and earlier to rise.

"Ugh I'm sooooooo bored" (especially lovely when said while you are breaking your back working/cooking/cleaning to support her lifestyle)? She has five - exactly five - minutes to straighten up and find something to do or you will find something for her.

She is 9, not 13. This is very early. Set the path now before the next ten years go way off the rails.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Haha, sounds like my daughter, who is a month away from officially entering teenagedom. It's the teenage years indeed. She will come to me whining about some problem, and she just wants me to nod along and listen. Sometimes I will offer advice and if she refuses or thinks it's silly, we just move on from it and change the subject, but I know she is thinking about what I said and trying to figure out if it's the best course of action. Sometimes she will sit and sulk, hoping someone will ask her why so she can open up. Other times she cries and does not know why. It usually happens around her period. In the past year or so, I have noticed myself becoming more anxious, restless and distressed around that time of the month too. I just try to not take things she says too seriously, offer a listening ear, advice, and if she wants to take it fine, if not, she can sort it out as she wishes. More often than not, kids just want someone to talk to who will listen, even if they don't necessarily always follow your advice. Once we talk and I offer suggestions, I change the topic and we move on. She doesn't keep obsessing over it all day long and I don't keep enabling the drama by going on about it or asking her about it. I keep her busy and it helps. She usually will end up telling me about the "resolution" to her issue and many times admits it wasn't a big a deal as she thought it was at the time.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

It’s possible that she is really depressed, nothing to do with her age. The amount of crying and degree of moodiness you describe sounds like she might benefit from counseling.

How is her life going in general? I understand she is a bit of a drama queen (and kudos for you for recognizing your own dislike for drama), but does she have friends, is she doing well in school, does she have siblings, and if so, how is her relationship with them? If she is doing well in general, then you could wait on the counseling, and try continuing to empathize when you can, and when you start to feel annoyed, I think it’s fair to set some boundaries around what you can do. With or without getting outside help, I think this might help.

Include her in that discussion. Let her know that learning how to cope with frustration is part of growing up. You don’t have to say “I find you really annoying”, but you can ask her if she feels better when she complains about things or if she’d like some help coming up with ideas to feel better. I don’t think you have to completely hide your annoyance, just make your feelings about you, not her. Like if you’ve tried talking and empathizing with her, and she’s still being especially dramatic, you can share that you’re not sure how to help her anymore, and you are starting to feel frustrated because you’d like to see her try something you’ve suggested, or find something else to do.

You don’t have to engage with her always, but try to see this as an opportunity to help her better regulate negative feelings. Don’t we all have moments where we just want to complain about something and just have someone listen, not necessarily fix it? Help her develop strategies for coping with boredom, with school injustice, with whatever is bothering her. You can empathize first, but then ask her if she just wants a listening mom or a helping mom. Maybe try humor too, can she ever laugh at herself or at you? If she becomes annoyed at you, you can say “yup, you are stuck with the most annoying mom ever!!!! How are you going to survive?”

If she continues to be frequently tearful and annoyed, then get her some help.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions