If there’s one sure thing about parenting, it is the sympathetic looks you get from other parents once your child or children have hit their teenage years. Trying to navigate these years can be a challenging task for even the most committed parents, as it seems almost a force of nature when a teenager and an adult do not see eye to eye. It is perhaps helpful to understand that this may be out of your teen’s control. Amy Williams, our guest author, delves into this.
While we all fell victim to the same phase at one point or another in our childhood, it is one thing to view the past from an adult perspective, and another to try to truly understand what a teenager is feeling. Sometimes it even feels like the gap between us and our children is greater than it was between us and our parents.
It is not just life milestones that change the way we perceive the world, but also our very nature that changes as we age. Our minds go through different developmental periods.
The adolescent mind is not simply an adult mind with fewer experiences.
In order to understand your child and find a way to converse and grow on their level, you must first grasp a rudimentary understanding of the adolescent’s developing brain. If you think that teenagers think differently, or that they feel invincible simply by choice, you would be wrong.
The teenage brain comes from the factory with these faults built in so to speak. The difference between freedom of choice and biological inevitability, must always stay on the forefront of one’s mind when approaching the younger generation.
Most of us have heard that the frontal lobe does not finish developing until around age 25. While this is true it’s not only our frontal lobe and decision making centre that lack maturity when we are young. The entire brain is undergoing hormonal and chemical changes as children transition into young adulthood. If you ever think that you would have done something differently looking back, it is because you were physiologically incapable of making that decision in the same way you would now.
Take a look at the infographic “Judgement Call: Maturity, Emotions, and the Teenage Brain” for a cursory glance at what makes the teenage brain so unique, and the changes that it undertakes. You’ll learn that much of what makes of the cliché teenager personality may be largely in part to a lack of development in certain areas. While this may sound like a jest aimed at today’s teens, it is simply the reality of the situation.
Impulsivity, lack of judgement, and susceptibility to peer pressure are all aided and abetted by the developing mind. So remember when trying to connect with your teenager in a home setting, or a student in an educational setting, to try and put yourself in their shoes. The hormonal imbalances and developing thought centres are well on their way to adulthood, but may require some patience along the way.
Bob Brotchie is a counsellor, mindset consultant and creator of Conscious Living by Design™. He writes for Anglia Counselling, is featured on various other websites and introduces us to many guest writers all covering topics related to mental health and wellbeing.
Bob provides bespoke counselling services to clients in the privacy and comfort of a truly welcoming environment at his Anglia Counselling company office, located near Newmarket in Suffolk, England. Bob also provides professional online counselling, for local, national, and international clients. The therapeutic models offered are bespoke to the client’s needs, especially those in receipt of 'childhood emotional neglect' (CEN), whilst integrating a mindful approach to psychotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) principles. For clients experiencing trauma and/or phobia, Bob offers EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing).