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Handling family mood swings

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A wise person once said: “The necessity of seeing lies in the ability of seeing well.” I have come across many husbands, who do not even notice when their wives are unhappy or emotionally withdrawn. I have also seen wives who are oblivious of their husband’s mood swings.

As a spouse, you must be able to understand when your spouse is unhappy. By observing his/her mood, you can easily tell if he/she is bothered by something or if he/she is emotionally withdrawn.

Some spouses make the grave mistake of ignoring their partners that are emotionally distant. They assume their spouses will come out of their emotional withdrawal, when they are ready. This is a wrong attitude. Ignoring your spouse will further drive him/her away from you because he/she may feel you do not care.

At such moments, when your spouse begins to withdraw emotionally, you should be more alert to his/her physical and emotional needs. Spend more time with your partner and constantly assure him/her of your love.

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Husbands must note that some days prior to their wives menstrual cycle, doctors have researched that some are prone to bouts of depression and mood swing. This also occurs during some phases of pregnancy. With this understanding, men should be more attentive to their wives at such moments.

When you notice your spouse is beginning to withdraw emotionally from you, make conscious efforts to rectify the situation. Minimise quarrels at such periods and instead, shower that spouse with love and attention. Little things like preparing a favourite dish, bringing home a surprise gift and going out to his/her favourite spots, among others, go a long way in bringing your spouse out of his/her emotional shell. If you cannot handle the emotional withdrawal cycle, go for counseling.

A teenage girl, who used to be very lively and bubbling, suddenly withdrew into a shell, quiet and sad. She started locking herself in her bedroom and spending more time away from her family. Her strange behaviour attracted the attention of her parents, who wondered why their once happy daughter was suddenly replaced by a sullen girl.

Sometimes, children, especially those in their teenage years, experience bouts of depression and withdrawal. They may just get moody for no reason and emotionally withdrawn into their shells.

Medical experts have associated these bouts of emotional withdrawal to the hormonal changes that take place during the years of transition from childhood to adulthood. Some may be bad behaviour or even demonic.

A parent’s response to an emotionally withdrawn child can contribute either to making the child withdraw more or making the child come out of his/her shell. Parents should be sensitive enough to notice when their children’s moods change. Instead of getting angry at the child for withdrawing emotionally, parents should show more love at this stage. Your anger will only drive that child away from you. All the child needs is constant love.

Lovingly sit your child down and ask questions like: “I can see you are sad/angry/hurt. Tell me what the problem is, so we can solve it together.” Even if the child refuses to respond, keep showering him/her with love and after a short while, that child will budge.

Do not lose your children to the devil of depression. Show them love and give them practical ways that they can use in making themselves happy. Parents should try as much as possible to ignore some of the errors their children make at such periods and instead, provide the necessary amount of love and companionship that will bring them out of their emotional withdrawal. Love you.


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