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How do I control my hormonal emotions?

Emotions are powerful enough on their own—for all of us. But add in the hormones of young brains and bodies undergoing massive changes, and you have some Super-Charged Emotions! I don’t mind telling you that Christian parents of teenagers must exercise a lot of grace and patience when it comes to parenting emotionally-volatile teenagers. A parent might see something that makes them mildly sad, while their teenager has locked herself in her room, wailing and crying, certain the world will never be right ever again. It can be exhausting for both parents AND teens!

You are not alone.

You may feel like you're the only one confused by your own feelings, but rest assured you are not alone. Everyone, including adults, are going to have emotional outbursts and confusing or conflicting feelings sometimes. Yes, it's more intense when you're a teenager—no doubt. But it's totally normal to have emotions; that means you're alive. Emotions are not something we can really control because they are an automatic response to the world around us. That said, it IS possible to manage how we deal with those emotions.

Maybe when you were a kid, the world didn’t seem so big because your parents provided everything for you in relative safety. Then you started growing up and discovering that the world is bigger, darker, and maybe scarier than you'd ever imagined. It can be a little daunting to realize that one day you'll be an emerging adult in that mess. You want to believe you're ready, but maybe deep down, you suspect it's going to be one of the hardest things you'll do thus far in your life.

On top of those worries, you must navigate these years without having an emotional meltdown every other day. Is there any hope for anyone to survive it all? YES! It won't be easy, and you won't be 100% free of emotional outbursts, but emotions CAN be managed. Everybody feels strong, conflicting emotions from time to time—teens, college students, new parents, grandparents, retirees...EVERYONE.

What can I do when I have strong emotional responses?

While it's true that you often can't stop from feeling a certain way, you DO have control over what you do with those emotions when you have them. Here are a few things to try practicing both before you're in the middle of a moment and during times of emotional distress:

  1. Be proud of who you are right now. Did you know 412teens' name is based on a Bible verse? Yep! 1 Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity." Teenagers have a lot to say, ways they can act, and faith they can demonstrate that will inspire other teenagers and adults around them. You are the exact age you are now, in the place you are now, for a reason and a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11). Know it. Embrace it!
  2. Challenge thoughts attached to strong emotions. When somebody hurts your feelings and you feel worthless, challenge that thought. Is it true? What does God say about your worth (Psalm 139:14)? What do people who love you say about you? Before you react negatively to an emotion-producing situation, challenge your thoughts and what you can feel yourself about to say (2 Corinthians 10:5). Decide upon the best course of action.
  3. Learn to breathe. Obviously, you know how to breathe. But learning to slow down and focus on your breathing has a tremendously calming effect on your body and mind. Often, if we can slow down for just a minute (or even a count of 10) when we feel our emotions threatening to take control of our body and tongue, we can avoid doing or saying something we may regret (James 1:19-20, 26). Try looking for a (non-religious) meditation app that teaches breathing techniques you can practice. (My favorite is called “Calm.”)
  4. Practice apologies. Do you feel like a jerk because you slammed the door on your mom and yelled words you immediately regretted? Well, do something about it. We all lose our cool once in a while, but a loving and mature person admits their mistakes and apologizes for them (Philippians 3:12-14). An apology goes a long way, and forgiveness from someone we have unintentionally hurt will help us to heal and grow (James 5:16). It reminds us that God, too, has forgiven us for our every terrible sin (1 John 1:9).
  5. Extend grace. You and I, parents, teachers, siblings, friends, and even strangers have bad days. We all experience trauma. We all allow emotions to get the best of us at times. When you're hurt or disappointed by a poorly-chosen word or act, please think GRACE first (John 13:34-35; 1 Corinthians 13:5; Philippians 2:3). Give them the benefit of the doubt; they may be tired, hurt, or in a bad mood and didn’t mean to take it out on you. If they come to you seeking forgiveness, be quick to grant it (Colossians 3:13). (NOTE: I'm not talking about abusive people or situations. If you feel you are being abused, please seek help immediately.)
  6. Grow your friendship with God. Getting to know God by reading His Word and talking to Him helps us better understand Him, His will for us, and how He works in our lives. Knowing God more and having that connection with Him makes it so much easier to live the way He asks us to because we see His love for us behind His reasoning.

You are valuable to God, and you are valuable to us too. We want to make your walk with the Lord an easier journey. If you're having an emotional day, please feel free to send us your questions, and we will help you find biblical answers for your concerns.

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If you're a parent, please read this part.

Parents, please please please demonstrate grace to your kids when they're feeling emotional. Remember your own teenage years. Remember what it's like to feel everything with every inch of your being? You don't have to convince them you know what they're going through (because maybe you don't; theirs is a different world from yours), but you DO need to have grace and patience for them as they grow and learn (Proverbs 22:6; Ephesians 6:4; Colossians 3:21).

Regarding teaching the younger generation about God, the apostle Paul said, "Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, and sound speech that cannot be condemned..." (Titus 2:7-8a). Practice patience, and remember, navigating a big, confusing world through all those feelings is overwhelming for your teen.

TL;DR

People of all ages feel conflicting emotions from time to time. Emotions are not something we can really control because they are an automatic response to the world around us, but it IS possible to manage how we deal with those emotions. When you feel emotionally-charged, take a moment to breathe. Then challenge the thoughts associated with those strong emotions, weighing your options for action before you do or say something you may regret (2 Corinthians 10:5). Apologize if you hurt someone in an emotional outburst (James 5:16) and extend grace and forgiveness if someone hurts you (John 13:34-35).

By: Rhonda Maydwell

Rhonda is an author, wife, mother, and mentor. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in English and Religious studies. She loves studying God’s Word for truth and wisdom and uses it as a compass and roadmap for her own spiritual journey. Rhonda believes in sharing the Good News and the hope found in Biblical truths with others. She uses her writing and mentoring opportunities (often with a pinch of humor) to do just that.

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