Bad Moods: Should We Try to End Them?

young boy glaring at camera

I love it when comments make me think! On the post Teasing Boys, part 2, commenter Mogs said this:


True, “bad moods” may not be bad; but generally if we had a choice between the two we would choose to be in a good mood. As such suppression is not the answer; but like you said helping them develop tools to help them actively control which mood they (at least partly) choose to be in.

I have to say, this sparked quite a discussion here at Earnest Parenting. 🙂 Mogs makes an excellent point about mood suppression. For me, it’s not about suppressing a mood. My intention (long-term) is to give the boys as many tools as possible for handling whatever curves life throws. If they know themselves and what things can help lift a bad mood or improve a day, they’re that much more likely to use the strategies and feel better.

One of the things we discussed was whether or not we choose to be in a good mood on a bad day. The truth is, I don’t always choose to be nice when I’m feeling bad. It’s something I am working on personally, because of the concluding point of Luke 6:45 “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” Do I expect that kind of commitment from my boys? No way, not at their ages. I hope that someday they embark on their own journey to be as Christlike as possible. But that’s ultimately up to them.

Regardless of what the future holds, my goal now is to help them see that there are things you can do to improve your own mood. The strategies don’t always work, but some relief is better than none. I also want them to grow up to understand that they’re responsible for their actions no matter what the mood.

Hubby and I also discussed why it’s easier to be in a bad mood around family. When we’re with strangers, acting nice in a bad situation is easier. Why is that? Why are we so willing to subject our loved ones to our own ugliness?

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want good moods.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • mary December 22, 2008, 11:06 pm

    Wow! How true. I would never be short with people at work or in the store and yet I have no patience and snap at people at home…just because I’m tired, I’m cranky, they excuses go on and on……and yet I don’t want the kids to act that way and certainly don’t like my spouse to be that way(although he rarely is!) Funny how I’ve been thinking a lot about this very subject lately but more from my attitude. I agree with coming up with ways to get yourself out of a bad mood. A large part of it is choice! We choose how we react to everything that comes our way…good or bad. I’d like my kids to learn to react positively or in a way that would positively impact their lives and the people around them instead of dragging everyone else down or striking out (either verbally or what not) I’m not a Pollyanna but I do feel much better when I choose to be positive than negative.

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  • selena December 23, 2008, 7:31 am

    Thats my nature too. We should try to end the bad mood if we have that any time coz it will spoil the image of the relationship if you are in a bad mood and not reacting cool with the others.

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  • Herbalife Diabetic Rich December 23, 2008, 12:41 pm

    Noone likes to be around negativity for too long…unless they are chronic negatively thinking people. When I am in a bad mood, which is rare, I stay away from other people. I don’t want to be “that guy”.
    Keep smiling. It’s contagious.
    Rich

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  • Amy December 26, 2008, 7:13 pm

    Mary, how do you get yourself out of a bad mood? I’m rather fond of playing mindless computer games, praying, and chocolate. 😉

    Selena, getting out of a funk is easier said than done, isn’t it?

    Rich, I stay away from people if I’m angry at them. That works as long as we don’t live in the same house. I’m still trying to come up with ways to handle it if I’m frustrated with the boys. What’s difficult for me personally is knowing when to let them have it and when to forgive/ignore because something is age-related. I find that it’s much easier to make that distinction with the younger boys. If only I could have the wisdom of the future now.

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  • Val Garner January 2, 2009, 3:27 pm

    Great post and great topic! I do think it’s unhealthy to suppress moods, but there’s a balance that they are not allowed to control us either. Being in a bad mood doesn’t give us license to treat others poorly. And yet, it’s something I think we all battle. I had a bad mood just yesterday because I was exhausted. Sometimes managing moods can be to take a nap if at all possible.

    It’s hard when the demands/pressures of life doesn’t allow that space to care for oneself to get out of that mood. When you can’t get away from others, or you can’t take that nap, or any of the other strategies that will help alleviate it. Perhaps that’s the place where bottom line comes down to “help me Jesus” and trust that He will provide in that place of reality. And yet, even writing that, I know it should be the first and best place to go, but how often I still try to pull myself out first and pray second, when it should be the other way around.

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  • Conrad- Inspirational Quotes Blog January 6, 2009, 11:22 am

    Hi Amy, GREAT site. I love the illustrations of your kids. Who did the artwork?

    As for this article, I really believe that we have to try our best to manage our moods. We can give in to them for a little while, but after that we have to learn to healthily accept what has happened and move on. It is one of the signs of a mature person, to be able to manage your emotions.

    Keep up the great writing here!

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  • Amy January 7, 2009, 1:47 am

    Val, I had an epiphany today. The Captain got angry about something and started his usual destructive behaviors. I set him in timeout – and characteristically forgot. He showed up a few minutes later all calm and I asked him if he was still angry. He said no. I asked if the issue seemed big anymore and he said no. Then I asked if it had seemed big when he was angry and he said yes. So I looked at him and said “anger changes your thinking”. He seemed to get it. Hmm, maybe that makes it his epiphany! I hope so.

    Conrad, thanks! And thanks!! The caricatures were done by Caricatures Now, and there’s a link to them at the bottom of my sidebar under Creative Help.

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