Have you ever heard yourself scream “Come on, you should know better” to your developing 10 plus year old tween?
What about “Oh just grow up” to your teenager?
How on earth does a teenagers brain actually work?
These are common statements and ones I have shouted many times and probably will do again. However, these statements couldn’t be further from the truth. A teenagers brain (and a tweens brain for that matter) works very differently to an adult brain and understanding this can make for a happier home.
Teenagers can be hot one minute and cold the next. A tween can be smiling and laughing, joining in the family fun and then it is like a switch is flicked and they storm off and mope in their room. The confusion about how a teenagers brain works only causes more tension in a house. Let’s try to eliminate some of this tension.
Here are some facts about how a teenagers brain works (and a tweens brain too):
- Extremely emotional. With the changes in the brain and the increase in hormones, a teenagers brain can struggle to determine a suitable level of emotion for what is happening around them. It is normal for teens to feel intense levels of anger, excitement, fear, aggression (towards others and themselves), sexual attraction and sadness. As hormones begin to settle down in the later years of adolescence, teenagers learn how to control these emotions.
- Critical development period but they are still children. No matter tall a boy grows or how mature a girl dresses, they still have the mental capabilities of a child. External appearance can be very deceptive but the teenage brain will still behave as a child who is in the learning phase.
- Decision making skills are under development. Teenagers decision-making skills are often a spur of the moment thing. Reacting to a situation is often done purely on emotion, without thinking of the consequence, very similar to way a toddlers behaves.
- Teenage tantrums are not a reflection on you. When toddlers have tantrums, most parents do not take it as a sign of bad parenting, but simply a sign their toddler is not quite understanding how to express what they want to say. A teenagers brain works the same way as a toddler where they are trying to express how they are feeling but they are still learning how to do this in a social way. Do not take it personally.
- Desperate for peer approval. It is at this stage an adolescent brain starts to crave the approval of their peers. Teenagers begin to see themselves in the eyes of their peers and understand what it is like to not fit into a group and society. This can become an obsession for many teenagers.
- Increase in risk taking. The teenage brain is still developing consequences and an understanding that things can actually go wrong. A teenagers brain needs a constant buzz and risk taking is one of the things that gives this buzz. The greater the risk, the greater the buzz, with very little thought going into the consequence.
- High level of self-importance. A teenager understands the world has other people in it but their life is just a little more important. Everything revolves around them and what happens in their life tops everything else.
- A few extra zzzz’s is beneficial. Between the intense emotions, developing brain, learning decision-making skills, tantrums, fitting in with peers, risk taking and self-importance, a teenagers brain needs as much sleep as possible.
It can be very exhausting being a teenager ( and the mother of a teenager too)
Do you have a teenager in your life? How are you coping with being the parent of a teen?
Linking up with Essentially Jess for #IBOT