“Why can’t you just be happy?”
I’m sure many parents have uttered these words to their teen after more than a few teenage mood swings. At times, parenting a teen can seem like an impossible task, especially if you don’t know how to make things easier for your child and family. According to a new study, it turns out happiness and depression are linked to the same genes, meaning being happy is largely shaped on your environment. PsyBlog recently published an article discussing the details of the study and what they mean.
Happiness more than genes
While genes do play a large role in whether an individual’s teenage mood swings are mild or extreme, their environment plays an even larger role–according to researchers from the University of Oxford.
Because the gene is linked to both happy biases and negative biases, the researchers think it completely depends on what type of environment you grow up in. A positive, supportive environment will more than likely lead to a happy disposition and better coping methods for teenage mood swings; a negative, neglectful environment will lead to the opposite. So, your environment determines your “lens” or bias that you look through in situations.
The researchers believe that a negative bias or “lens” makes a person much more likely to develop mental health issues than someone with a positive bias. While the researchers are sure of the evidence, critics think more studies need to be done in order to truly identify whether an individual’s environment shapes them as much as the study suggests.
According to one article, hormones may be to blame for teenage mood swings. To further explain, when puberty hits, an array of new hormones such as adrenal androgens, gonadotropins, and sex steroids also hit. However, there are also non-biological factors that appear to be important in moderating the role of hormones in adolescent moods and behavior. So through genetic hormonal changes and environmental mutagens, mood swings are bound to occur.
What you can do for teenage mood swings
David Elkind, the author of the book A Sympathetic Understanding of the Child Six to Sixteen , redirects the attention to the parent. And although Elkind does not advocate the abolition of adult authority, he does propose that adults ought to seek to understand their children, while maintaining their role as parent. So perhaps you can start with simply asking your teen about what is upsetting them; their answer will reveal a lot.
As a parent, you can only do so much. You alone can provide unwavering love, support, and guidance. If that doesn’t seem to be enough and your child’s teenage mood swings are getting in the way of daily life, it may be time to seek out further help. A professional can steer you and your family in the best direction that has the highest possibility of helping your child overcome their issues.
blueFire Wilderness can help
blueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 11 to 17. Our students often grapple with coping with depression, anxiety, ADHD, and other emotional or behavioral problems. At blueFire, we strive to help each client succeed.
For more information about how blueFire Wilderness treats issues relating to teenage mood swings, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today!