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My 10-Year-Old Daughter Has Mood Swings!

10 June, 2020
Q As-Salamu Aleikom.

Thank you for the opportunity. My problem is with my youngest daughter who is 10 years old. She has mood swings frequently. At one moment, she is laughing, the other moment she is very sad.

When she is sad, she hardly speaks, rather she is quietly whispering. I talk to her a lot about this, but she says she does not understand why she switches from one mood suddenly to another mood. It simply happens like this, she says.

I work a lot, but spend all my free time with her. I try to have fun with her as I know she often feels bored. She has a good friend but she is rarely allowed to come to us and at home, there are only smaller children.

She oftentimes says she feels sad but does not know the reason of it. My bigger daughter thinks she is depressed and that’s why she has these mood swings. I wish to know what a mental health professional says about this.

I have another question related to religion. In the family, we are all Muslims, thus she prays as well (although I need to warn her many times of the prayer times).

It's her first Ramadan that she fasts. We previously gave her many things to read about Islam, but she is not really willing to read. She goes to the mosque twice a week for studying, we oftentimes talk about religion at home.

But unfortunately, I feel she is not really interested in religion. She is more into TV, mobile, and internet. My question is: how could I guide her toward Islam?

I wish she was more interested in it. Unfortunately, there are things she would love to do but are haram such as dancing, acting. I always say these are not good things in Islam, but I am worried that this will drive her even further from Islam. JazakAllah khayran for your response.

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Speak with her about these things as she may be going through many changes physically and emotionally and may not fully understand why.

•Chose a time to take her out or sit with her when things are calm and it is just the two of you.

•You may want to begin by expressing your love for her as well as acknowledging that she is growing up into a beautiful young girl

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•Share with her some of the changes and experiences you went through as a young girl.

•If it becomes severe or she starts to isolate or display other symptoms such as paranoia, severe highs, and lows, or other increased symptoms please do take her to a counselor as soon as possible


As-salamu alaykum sister,

Shokran for writing to us with your most important concerns. You mentioned that your daughter is 10, she has mood swings (for no apparent reason), she has only 1 friend whom she rarely sees and you fear she is not really interested in religion.

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I would like to insha’Allah point out a few things sister which may or may not be helpful. First of all as you know, your daughter is at the age wherein she is entering puberty.

During this time her hormones are changing as is her body along with many other changes as you may recall when you were a young girl. Sister, have you talked to her about these changes?  For example, have you discussed menstruation, sexual feelings or boys with her? Have you explained to her what changes she should and can expect during her preadolescence and adolescent development?

If not sister, I would kindly suggest that you do speak with her about these things as she may be going through many changes physically and emotionally and may not fully understand why.

She may be fearful of the changes or fearful of what she is feeling as well as embarrassed to discuss them.  As she has only 1 friend whom she hardly sees, it sounds as if she does not have other girls to relate to either, however you are the best source of education as well as comfort.

I would kindly suggest dear sister that if you have not already, that you chose a time to take her out or sit with her when things are calm and it is just the two of you.

You may want to begin by expressing your love for her as well as acknowledging that she is growing up into a beautiful young girl and perhaps sister share with her some of the changes and experiences you went through as a young girl.

My 10-Year-Old Daughter Has Mood Swings! - About Islam

Please do utilize the conversation so that it is not punitive (ie you better not be thinking of boys) but rather make it one that will create more trust and closeness between the two of you. Leave room for any questions she may have but don’t pressure her.

During pre-puberty and adolescence, moods can quickly change and it may look and feel like she is on an emotional roller-coaster.

This is normal however if it becomes severe or she starts to isolate or display other symptoms such as paranoia, severe highs, and lows, or other increased symptoms please do take her to a counselor as soon as possible.


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As she is a pre-teen and has no real close friends, it may be that yes she may be depressed. Young girls this age who do not form friendships often may feel that something is wrong with them and they may become depressed.

Please do talk with her about this and see how you can possibly help her develop healthy relationships with girls her age.

Perhaps there are girl groups at the Masjid or at school or other community centers wherein activities are occurring wherein she can have the opportunity to make friends. I suspect when she does, this will highly increase her mood and sense of self-esteem insha’Allah.

As far as her losing interest in Islam, it could be that she is really just preoccupied with her current needs and issues right now and as a young lady, these needs are coming first.

As in her mind, they are most pressing.  Insha’Allah, as the other issues are resolved she will regain her enthusiasm for Islam and praying. Please do remind her sister that Allah is our comfort, that He loves her.  Encourage her to go to Allah as well with any issues she has.

Insha’Allah, during this turmoilous time she will learn that both you as her mother, and Allah (swt) are the best of comforters.

As far as her interests, while you do not feel her interests are appropriate, things such as dancing can be done in an all-girls group in a halal way and may give her increased self-esteem as well as show her that you support some of the things she is interested in. The same goes for acting.

Perhaps there is a way to incorporate acting into an Islamic platform which will satisfy her interest and at the same time draw her closer to Islam.

In a few communities, children do take acting classes at Islamic centers or other community centers (for her a girls acting class) and it is focused on scripting short documentaries on giving dawah, life experiences as a Muslim or other relevant topics.

If you are totally against it perhaps you both can come up with a mutually agreeable format in which she can express herself and at the same time please you.

Sister, you are not the first parent to go through this.  While your daughter is only 10, some girls have already begun to experience puberty at this age.

I kindly suggest that you speak to her about these changes, encourage open communication, try to get her involved in activities which will help her to make friends as well as monitor her for any increase in symptoms or isolation and seek counseling for her if needed.

You both are in our prayers, we wish you the best!

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

Salam

Read more:

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About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha has a PhD in psychology, an MS in public health and a PsyD. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years at Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. She has worked with clients with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, trauma, and OCD. She also facilitated support groups and provided specialized services for victims of domestic violence, HIV positive individuals, as well youth/teen issues. Aisha is certified in Mindfulness, Trauma Informed Care, Behavioral Management, Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and Confidentiality & Security. Aisha is also a Certified Life Coach, and Relationship Workshop facilitator. Aisha has a part-time Life Coaching practice in which she integrates the educational concepts of stress reduction, mindfulness, introspection, empowerment, self love and acceptance and spirituality to create a holistic healing journey for clients. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocates for prisoner rights/reentry, social & food justice, as well as advocating for an end to oppression & racism. In her spare time, Aisha enjoys her family, photography, nature, martial arts classes, Islamic studies, volunteering/charity work, as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.