Why is my teen so moody, and should I be worried?

Rachel Concannon, adolescent therapist: Moodiness is normal because of the hormonal changes adolescents are going through. Be concerned when the moodiness is coupled with a change in eating habits, sleep habits, social interaction (or lack thereof), or when you’re noticing anything alarming going on online. Check cell phones and internet history– after all, you’re the one paying for it! When the moodiness is coupled with two or more of those things then it’s cause for concern. Think about it as a full picture: when your kids’ sleeping or eating or moods change, it’s normal, but if it’s dramatic or coupled with always being in their rooms by themselves or doing or saying something alarming online or their friend groups have disappeared—that’s when you need to be worried. When communication between you and your kid has totally broken down, that’s when you should get a professional (like a school counselor) involved. Don’t be afraid of it– so many families are struggling with these same issues. There’s no harm in reaching out and getting guidance!”

Alison Scott, pediatrician: “It’s normal for your kid to want privacy and shut their door, but you have the right to come into their room and check into them and see what’s going on. Privacy is a right that’s earned. They still have to participate in the family. If they are withdrawing, that’s a red flag.”