- Are you at a complete loss when it comes to how to parent your teen?
- Are you aware of what's actually going on in your teen's personal life?
- Do you find yourself arguing with your teen and feel you just can't get through to him or her?
The fact is immediately your kids become teens, it's as if they turn into complete strangers. Teenage years come with a particular amount of pressure that continues to grow with each passing year. Teens battle with the ancient problem of peer pressure, family, grades, and self-image. Today's teenagers are exposed to even more pressures and problems unknown to past generations. Some of which we as parents could barely understand.
These, in turn, affect their brain and decision making.
Parents were completely surprised with the shocking new evidence revealed by recent research which explains the seldom irrational and impulsive behavior of teenagers.
Brain researchers were able to scan the brain of teenagers in order to examine and observe why these curious and perplexed creatures make so many impulsive and egocentric decisions.
According to the research studies, brain development during puberty period is entirely more active and spontaneous than they apparently thought. During the teenage years, the aspect of the brain that compels a person to make responsible decisions, process problem-solving, and understand consequences is under (in their words) heavy construction, and in most cases dysfunctional. Stating that although the brain is almost physically mature, the grey matter, in the pre-frontal cortex (thinking part of the brain) is still making a few connections. What this means is that for teenagers, information reaching their brain is being processed in the emotional part of the brain (limbic system).
Since this information is processed without the benefit of higher level processing in the pre-frontal cortex, emotionally engineered behaviors are then manifested. They are simply not capable of fully processing the information that's necessary to make responsible decisions.
Certainly when you combine this brain lapse with a teen's maturity level, development stage, temperament and environmental impact, it all begins to become understandable why parenting teens may be so frustrating and difficult.
Although realizing this deficiency in the teenage brain does not excuse inappropriate or irresponsible teen behavior, understanding it makes it pretty easy to figure out how to interact with them seamlessly.
Dealing with teen behavioral problems
No matter the approach, parenting teens is going to be met with an amount of difficulty. It is a very chaotic time for both teens and their parents. Nonetheless, some approaches can help you maintain a positive relationship with your teenager.
Yes, parenting teens is a tough task, but try not to make the mistake of losing control. This gives you an edge, making you know better than your teen, and you might be surprised to discover that most children still need your guidance even when it doesn't seem like it. When you're angry, try not to react, calm yourself first with a deep breath. You can even use a little distance from the situation, and later resume the conversation much later when you are better and calm. As a parent to your teen, it's crucial that you not stoop to their level of maturity.
Now there's also this struggle of power. This is a natural part of development, the need for freedom and a sense of one's self which can only be granted to them by you as their parent. Nevertheless, there are times when you need to stand strong and set limits in order to keep them out of trouble. You have to make them feel like they are more of a grown up by offering them choices whenever it's possible.
Now, here is the trick:
Parenting teens is all about searching for that perfect balance between an authoritarian and a friend, allowing them to explore the world without your guidance.
Parenting teens and dealing with teen behavioral problems means you have to be the parent and now permit some things. It is also imperative that your teenager hears you when you say you love them even when they've made a bad decision. In turn, what this means is that when you have to discipline them or set limits that they don't like, make sure you should do this from a positive or at least neutral state, and not full of anger. Remember to pick your battles carefully, and when it comes to dealing with teen behavioral problems, your anger will only fuel their rebellion.
Another important factor is spending quality time with them. As a parent, if you feel that you've lost touch with your kids, then you need to start taking serious steps to build back those bridges, one conversation at a time.
You must understand that although this is a very difficult task, the rewards are priceless. The time and energy every parent invests in the lives of their teens cannot be replaced.
At the end of the day, you'll be glad that you've raised a well-rounded individual. Bearing in mind that this is something we all must endure, and it's just as hard on your teenager as it is on you. The ideas listed above can help you make it through parenting your teenager.
For more information and teen counseling please visit us at http://www.wakecounseling.com for consultation.
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