Hormones and Mood Swings

Because puberty starts with the pituitary gland producing hormones to stimulate the ovaries to secrete more estrogen, the resulting physical changes and the process can cause mood swings in your daughter. You can see them for yourself: One day she is her usual self, the next you feel like a stranger has taken over her body. Suddenly she is sullen and uncommunicative and acts as if she doesn't know you. Nor does she appreciate all you have done for her. Be happy about this development, and grin and bear it. It shows that her body and brain are working as they are supposed to.

Moods Matter

Do allow your girl to blame her moodiness on raging hormones, but do not allow her to take her moods out on you or other people in your home. Be aware that, as a preadolescent, she is doing a most important job every day — growing and separating from you — and expect a pendulum effect in her emotions. At this time also, some girls get even more overly emotional, especially if from early on they exhibited the trait of becoming upset by trivial things.


In literature, Scarlett O'Hara, the protagonist of the award-winning book and movie Gone with the Wind, is considered the ultimate drama queen. That means she had a strong tendency to overreact in minor matters and was prone to major outbursts.

But be sure to teach your daughter to get a grip on her emotions and moodiness, and to apologize for any rude behavior resulting from it. Remind her to excuse herself politely from the rest of society when she feels a mood attack coming on. Soon she will be able to predict her cycle of sadness or irritability and be prepared.

PMS Stress

Some girls feel different before they get their periods, sometimes as early as two weeks before their periods start. They find themselves changing emotionally, crying easily, being grumpy, or wanting to be left alone. They can also have sore breasts, feel puffy, or crave sweets or other foods. This is just another diagnosis for your daughter, if needed, not an alibi. Tell her to look at the calendar and predict when she might experience another episode of premenstrual syndrome, and you might cut her a little slack.

Ventilation Time

What can help your girl most is letting her tell you how she feels without rushing her. Or letting her write it all down in her journal or personal off-line log, or venting her feelings by chatting with her friends, or texting up a storm. Tell her to think of emotions as ocean waves. Sometimes all you can do is just stand still and let them wash over you. Allow your daughter some time and space to find her own way back to being the sweet, kind, and caring girl she is. Even the loveliest rose has a thorn or two.

Your girl can also elevate her mood by:

  • Reading her favorite book or listening to her music

  • Taking a nap with her pet

  • Being by herself and doing absolutely nothing for as long as she wants

  • In short, your daughter needs to acquire her own set of tools for dealing with potential mood swings that can plague some women for decades. Embracing the fact that girls are more influenced by hormones than boys can make your daughter feel special — and it will, with your support.

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