Prather Pediatric and Allergy Center - Ask Doctor Brent

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Title: Do Children's Moods Parallel Their Parents?


Do most children's moods parallel their parents? I think that in most cases, they do, It's a good reason why we, as parents, need to learn to control our temper problems. As much as possible we should strive to stay calm and find a peaceful center in our lives.

Everyday in my office, I see children who are hyper, aggressive, angry, depressed and a half dozen other undesirable moods. I observe their parents and they seem to be modeling exactly what they see in their parents. The environment at home significantly
effects your child's moods. 

Children will tend to model their parents' mood even more than they model what their parents tell them. Loving parents who have a peaceful home and and who can take life in stride with a strong faith tend to raise calm, secure kids. There are many other factors that affect a child's mood such as birth order and to a
large extent, genetics. Some children are strong-willed and have a hyperkinetic personality from infancy. Other kids are very calm, laid-back and compliant from birth. In Dr. James Dobson's studies for his Ph.D., he found that compliant children rarely rock the boat but strong-willed children will try to rebel in some form or fashion about 75% of the time. This peaks in the toddler and
preschool ages and also again in the teen years. 

How do we handle all of this moodiness and strong-willed defiance?  Certainly, we must establish consistent involved discipline and never give up hope on these children. Most of them will work through their strong-willed defiance and find success in life if we
teach them limits which is what discipline is all about. For children of divorced families, parents need to be extremely careful not to use the children as pawns and lash out at each other. Every child wants to love both of their parents and when they hear and feel anger between the parents, it only hurts them and makes them more insecure. 

In striving to raise your child to maintain a good mood, I suggest that you just love them unconditionally, as generously as you possibly can. Establish a calm, loving mood in your own life.  Your positive modeling example and your ever present love, hope, and prayers for your child will certainly bless them and their mood.