Mood-clicks™

MyFampal

Mood-clicks™

Read how Mood-clicks™ can help you monitor your child or teen’s mood swings, mental
health or behavior (e.g. anxiety, anger, depression).

What are Mood-clicks™?

Mood-clicks™ are designed to be a quick record in the moment of

  • The emotion, mood or behavior your child or teen was experiencing (MyFampal uses the word ‘mood’ to refer to all this rich complexity)
  • The strength of that mood
  • When it happened
  • How long it lasted
  • Where this was
  • What was happening at the time

Examples:

  • In the morning, your teen shows antisocial behavior and is uncommunicative for an hour or more, only becoming more sociable and relaxed after walking the dog (2 Mood clicks™).
  • At the end of the school day, your child is hyped-up for a short while, but then becomes anxious before settling down to tea and becoming content and stable (3
    Mood-clicks™™).

As you build up a profile over time, Mood-clicks™™ can help you detect patterns. They can help you explore links between your child or teen’s mood and their environment, for example a positive mood always being associated with a location or activity. They can also help you see how things are changing over time, for example an increased number of negative moods or an increasing duration.

You should adapt the use of Mood-clicks™™ to suit your own situation and what you want to learn; this section gives you some ideas and guidance.

What do the mood faces mean?

MyFampal Parent’s mood faces give you a simple way to record an emotion along with its strength. Think of them as a scale ranging from one (very negative and less constructive) to five (very positive and more constructive).

The very positive emoticon represents a strong mood state that you think is, in general, very positive for your child or teen. This could include emotions like joy, laughter, pride, triumph, confidence or kindness. The beaming face is a visual that you can quickly recognize and associate with this spectrum of emotions.

The very negative emoticon represents a strong mood state that you think is, in general, very negative for your child or teen. It would include such emotions as grief, distress, anger, humiliation, anxiety, phobia or fear. Note that these would not always involve crying, the crying face just helps quick visual identification of very negative emotions.

It is natural to experience a full range of emotions at times in our lives. The purpose of Mood-clicks™™ is to help you monitor the balance of your child or teen’s emotions, behaviors and moods over an extended period. Mood-clicks™™ will help you understand what your child or teen’s natural state is and notice quickly if this starts to change. This in turn helps you adapt the support you provide, either to strengthen a positive change or mitigate a negative one.

How do I create Mood-clicks™?

A Mood-click™™ is created by a single click on a mood face. This puts a Mood-click™™ into your task list under that child/teen. You can then return later to complete the full details. Ideally this should be done in the moment, but you can complete it within seven days. Your saved Mood-clicks™™ will appear in your Mood-click™™ reports.

The extra details you can record are:

Keyword e.g. Anger, Anxious, Scared, Texting, Isolated, Working, Hungry, Excited.

 

Be creative – these are for you!

 

Keywords are a single-word summary of the mood or behaviour you’re reporting on.

Location e.g. Home, School, Park, Grandma’s House, Shopping, In Car, Back Yard

 

Location is important when you want to explore whether it is contributing to a particular mood. The locations you use can be as specific or generic as you feel will help you.

From & To You can give from and to times for a mood-click. By default, these will both be set as the instant at which you created the mood-click. You can adjust one or both times later, to give a better indication of when the mood was and how long it lasted.

 

If you are interested in looking more closely at the length of time over which a mood persists, you should use these fields. For example, you could monitor how long a teen stays in their room alone over the course of several days to get an objective idea of whether this is changing.

Notes This area can be used to record any other details you may think relevant. For example, you might want to make notes about your own feelings at the time or how you dealt with the child’s mood. Looking back on data like this can be very helpful in objectively identifying what contributed to the mood and how effective your reaction was. This gives you confidence in your decisions when you decide you want to try changing something.

 

Why would I use Mood-clicks™?

The hardest thing to explain about Mood-clicks™ is how versatile they are! Here are some examples of the ways in which they can be used.

  • You suspect that your teen is showing signs of depression. You can use Mood-clicks™ to monitor their behavior and decide whether you are right, and to what extent.
  • You believe your child may need some help with hormonal issues; you can use Mood-clicks™ to build up evidence to support your request for professional help.
  • Your teen is undergoing therapy for anxiety; you can use Mood-clicks™ to track if their
    feelings are improving.
  • You’re concerned that your child often wants to be alone; you can ask caregivers to help you monitor their mood across the day to help identify how much of their time is affected or whether it’s behavior they reserve for their downtime at home.
  • You want to build up an understanding of what ‘usual’ looks like for your child who is approaching their teenage years, to help you monitor change and be ready to seek advice if they show extreme mood swings or other mental health issues.

Where do I start with Mood-clicks™?

A good starting place is to ask yourself what you are hoping to find out. Here are some examples:

  • She seems to always be in a bad mood lately, she’s hardly ever happy anymore. I want to get a clearer picture of when mood swings occur. Mood-clicks™ can help me confirm my hunch and be more prepared at the times it’s likely to happen.
  • It was such a lovely day today, I wish I could work out what we managed to get so right, so that we can do it every day!
  • He sometimes seems to suddenly get anxious for no reason. I’d like to see if there’s some common thing that is causing that, maybe where he is, who he’s with or how much sleep he had last night.
  • She is a joy to be around most of the time, but occasionally she acts out and is defiant. I don’t think there is a pattern, but want to confirm my fears before discussing these outbursts with her.

If you don’t have any specific concerns, that’s the perfect opportunity to build up a profile of what ‘typical’ looks like for your child or teen. As a parent, you may feel that something is changing, but you may find it hard to pinpoint what that is without some historical data to compare against. Having a ready-made profile of past moods can be very reassuring when you want to check on current behavior. For example, if you feel that your child or teen is spending much more time alone than they used to you could start monitoring it for a few days. If you’ve collected similar data a few months back, you can make a comparison. It may reassure you that the change is very small, or it may show you that your instincts were correct and give you some more information around which to start a conversation.

Don’t forget that you can ask others who care for your child to record Mood-clicks™ as well and you can use this to get a broader profile for them. It can be very useful to see the difference in behavior that your child exhibits with others. It could reassure you that they do thrive when away from you, or alert you that they seem to be less comfortable when you are not there.

How often do I record Mood-clicks™?

Recording moods at set times, or just when you notice something can both be useful techniques.

  • If you are trying to build up a general profile of your child or teen you should consider monitoring at regular intervals over a set time. For example, recording the mood on the hour, every hour for five days. It’s easy to ask other caregivers to contribute to this and it gives you data that should show the balance between different types of mood.
  • If you are looking at one specific area of behavior, it’s probably most effective to just record that when you see it. For example, if you are trying to track how often a child stutters or struggles with speech, recording just those incidents should be enough to spot corrections with time and place or whether the number of instances is decreasing.

The most important issue here is to keep the method of recording in mind when viewing results; if you are recording at set intervals and your results show that the teen is experiencing anxiety a large percent of the time, then this is likely to be representative of their life experience and of concern. However, if you have only been recording anxiety is seen, then you would expect the results to show a higher percentage of it and that, in isolation, may not be a concern.

Should I record ‘good’ moods as well as ‘bad’?

Recording only specific types of moods can often provide the information you need to address the issues you are focusing on. As such, some people will find that they only record one type of mood and are comfortable with the results that gives. However, if you are trying to build up a general profile of your child or teen it will usually be more useful to record moods across the whole spectrum.