Wonder why teens find it difficult to communicate with you? It’s hard to be certain, especially when teens just grunt at you when you ask them to turn the television down, or roll their eyes in disgust if you ask them to put their smartphones away at the dinner table.
But living with teenagers can be one of the most exciting periods in a parent’s life. It is exciting to see your child grow into a young person with separate views, hopes and ambitions. But it can also be a bloody rough ride.
Even the most conscientious of parents can lose sight of the good feelings they once had about themselves as parents. Teenagers can make you feel that you’ve got it all wrong, and be hurtful and undermining.
According to Dr Andrew Kennedy who specialises in adolescent and young adult health, there are a couple of things parents should know to help them understand their teenage children.
For many years, scientists thought that brain development occurred during infancy, but nowadays scientists have come to learn that there is also a second growth spurt that occurs – in the adolescent years.
Parents are very much aware of this important brain development, but probably don’t understand why it happens and how.
Below are some common situations that parents face with some explanations of exactly what is happening in your teenager’s head at the time. Here goes!
1. Why don’t my kids want to hang out with me anymore?
Most children announce the onset of adolescence with a dramatic change in behaviour around their parents.
They start to show signs of wanting to be more independent.
At the same time, kids this age are developing socially and becoming increasingly aware of how others, especially their peers, see them and are desperately trying to fit in.
For this reason, their peers often become much more important and more influential than parents, as far as making decisions go.
Want more? Try: Women without children are neither selfish nor bitter.
2. Why do my children want to engage in risky behaviour like taking drugs?
Teens need higher doses of risk to feel the same amount of rush as adults do.
This often makes teens vulnerable to engaging in impulsive and risky behaviors, such as trying drugs, getting into fights or jumping into unsafe water.
This behaviour is best explained by understanding that the last part of the brain to develop in adolescence is the ‘frontal cortex’, this is the part of the brain that helps you think before you act.