Dear Rabbi Ross,
My 11-year-old son is a normal fun-loving child, until he gets into a bad mood. He’s not especially physical, but he gets everyone in a bad mood. He snaps at his siblings, challenges my authority, and really ruins the whole atmosphere. It’s come to the point that I walk on eggshells around him to try and keep him happy. Any ideas? PS – We love the e-mails! Tamara– Brooklyn
Your son is one of many that have this problem. This is truly one of the hardest parts of being a parent; trying to prevent the moody kid from affecting the easy-going ones and overall atmosphere in the home. I don’t need to tell you how frustrating it can be, both to the parents and the siblings.
Most importantly I will tell you “This too shall pass.” I’m sure you feel like you’re losing it, but he will mature and you’ll be able to breathe a sigh of relief. It won’t happen overnight, but the incidents will become less frequent as time passes. There are many tricks you can try, but the fact remains that it’s really a waiting game. You’ll have to wait for him to mature, after which he’ll be able to understand himself and his moods better.
I can easily spend a page or two commiserating with you, (as can many other parents.) Although there is no easy fix, there are a few things that can make dealing with him a little more bearable.
On a side note, I would like to point out one thing that I’ve heard from many parents. Although electronics (iPad, tablet, etc.) might seem great for calming your son down and distracting him, it can actually have the reverse effect. Something to think about.
Rabbi Yitzie Ross is a Rebbe and has been working with parents and kids for many years. You can read more about him in the "about" section.