What does it mean when a child is moody?

mums asks: I am the mother of a 9-year-old boy. He is very good in studies but he doesn’t want to be regular in studies, and he is very moody and a fussy eater. He just likes to play on TV, computer, or his mobile phone. How should I deal with him? Sometimes it gets out of control.

Hi mums –

Most of what you say sounds like a very normal 9-year-old boy.  He’s good but inconsistent at school, a fussy eater, and would rather play on his electronic gadgets than just about anything else.  Right on schedule!

The only word you say that worries me is that he’s also “moody.”  If he were thirteen, I’d say that was normal too, but nine-year-olds aren’t usually very moody.  Do you mean that he’s kind of depressive?  Angry?  Withdrawn?

My first thought, of course, is to ask him what’s up.  But to do that, you really need to get him open first.  Maybe take him out to dinner at a place he really likes, get him some ice cream, get him talking about his games and his favorite shows… and then ask him, “Hey, how are things going?  Is there anything in your life that’s bothering you?”  If he says there is, even if it’s something that bothers you, keep asking about it.  What is it about how you treat him that’s bothering him, or what is it about school that leaves him scared, or…  whatever it is, the more he talks, the better.  And even more importantly, the more he sees you listening, the better!

That might be enough.  But what if he doesn’t say anything’s wrong?  You might still find that having had that great night out eases his moods, but if not, there could be something deeper bothering him – which could be anything from a memory or issue he’s not aware of to a literal chemical issue.  If that’s the case, I’d recommend taking him to see a therapist or counselor for checking.

But the odds are that he’s totally fine, and a fun dinner with a chance to tell you all his stuff will fix everything.


Let me know how it goes!




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