As a parent, have you ever asked the question…”Is My Teen’s Behavior Normal?” The culture has changed, but teenagers haven’t. They are still focused on trying to fit in with their peers and to make sense out of life. Often parents are confused by their teens changes in attitude and the independence they seek, assuming their teenager is becoming rebellious.
What if the changes in your teen were in part, CHANGES IN THEIR BRAIN?
The adolescent years are a period of opportunity and vulnerability. Between the ages of 12 and 24, the brain changes in important, and often times “maddening”, ways. It’s no wonder that many parents approach their child’s adolescence with fear and trepidation. According to neuropsychiatrist Daniel Siegel, however, if parents and teens can work together to form a deeper understanding of the brain, they will be able to turn conflict into connection. What parent doesn’t want a healthy connection and relationship?
Why do the majority of serious challenges to mental health emerge during the adolescent period? Difficulties with the regulation of mood, thought, anxiety, and social interactions are most likely to arise during the teen years and into the early twenties.
So, if your teenager is exhibiting serious behavioral problems, explosive, or relational conflicts with you or others, it’s time that you get them in to see a counselor.
There is important new research in the field of interpersonal neurobiology that explores exciting ways in which you can understand how the teenage brain functions. For parents, understanding the teenage brain can help them make what is in fact an incredible positive period of growth, change, and connection.
Daniel Siegel, M.D. in his book Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, looks into the science behind the teenage brain and “was shocked to find the disparity between what sciences was saying and what popular views of adolescence are.” Siegel explores the current scientific view of how changes in the teen age brain influence emotion, thought, decisions, behavior, and interpersonal relationships. The pruning and myelination that are at the heart of this period of “brain remodeling” may be the root of risk during this vulnerable period of life. Siegel dispels many of the commonly held myths about the teenage period in his New York Times bestseller Brainstorm. He offers insight into the teen’s hyper rational thinking, impulsivity, changes in the dopamine drive for reward, and increases in the emotional reactivity of the brain to illuminate many of the potential risk factors. If parents and teens can work together to form a deeper understanding of the brain science behind all the turmoil, they will be able to turn conflict into connection and form a deeper understanding of one another.
He explores exciting ways in which understanding how the teenage brain functions can help parents make this period of growth, change, and experimentation in their children’s lives less distressing on both sides.
For more parenting help, and to learn more about ways counseling can help you and your teen…contact:
April Forella, MS, LMHC