Sometimes it is hard to tell if your child is just going through a temporary mood swing or if the problems they are having are more serious. It can be normal for them to be moody or want privacy.
The table below is from a national survey on adolescent health.
One reason for this confusion is that mood disorders like depression and bipolar (orange squares) don’t start showing up until an adolescent is around 12 or 13. Issues with anxiety (yellow circles) show up much earlier – things like school phobia or being too scared or worried to go to school. Many kids with anxiety grow up and show signs of depression later on. Behavior problems like ADHD (blue triangles) are in the middle.
This is why follow-up with a doctor is so important. Your child’s doctor can be the perfect listener – they have heard hundreds of stories about adolescents and can help give some guidance to you and your child about what the next best steps can be. Its tough as a parent to take on making all the decisions yourself and problem-solving everything on your own. When it comes to how your child feels, don’t be shy to get a professional opinion. Once you get it – then you and your child can decide what to do next. And sometimes it can take time and watching your child grow with help from professionals to understand what their life course will be.
Are there things you learned about your child’s mood as time went on? Share below!