Nobody said that raising a teenager would be easy and some parents may even think they should be rewarded a medal once they survive it. Statements that are made about adolescence and teenage years such as, “Surviving it“, “Getting through it”, are the real area of concern.
Although these times can be filled with risk-taking behaviors, a surge of independence, what seams to be minimal communication, and an abundance of “pushing back”, they must remain open to “the work” of the adolescent years.
WHAT’S “THE WORK” OF ADOLESCENCE?
Emerging science is proving at great lengths that some of the ways we used to think about adolescence may be quite off. On a weekly basis YouTime Coaching receives emails and phone calls that very honestly communicate the frustrations of being a parent to an adolescent.
Here’s what the conversation topics look like…
Here are a few things you need to know about the what the science is telling us.
“THEY JUST NEED TO GROW UP” MENTALITY WILL NOT HELP.
This line of thinking has existed for years and rightfully so, adolescence is a time of immaturity. The problem that lies within this way of thinking is that it frames adolescence as a period of time in which you must survive, simply try and get through, endure, and come out with minimal long-term scars.
Here’s a helpful change of perspective… Adolescence is not simply about maturity vs immaturity. During adolescence the brain goes through a rapid growth period and because of these changes new behaviors and abilities present themselves. All of those common “frustrations” (above) that we hear from parents aren’t just things that you need to endure but are newly developed abilities that will end up laying the groundwork for core personality traits your child will develop for use in adulthood.
Pushing boundaries, exploring decision making, getting a taste for independence, and being emotional may drive you crazy and caused tons of stress, but are all integral building blocks that each adolescent must go through. Use this time to cultivate positive experiences and lessons from those frustrations. Most importantly, be an active part of “the work” that goes into these crucial developmental period in your child’s life.
KNOW THE UPSIDES AND DOWNSIDES TO ADOLESCENCE.
Parent’s tend to have a keen eye for a child’s impulsive decision making, risky-behaviors, pushing boundaries with sources of authority, and their kids not wanting to spend time with them. What all of these behaviors have in common… they have an upside and a downside.
Novelty seeking and reward driven behaviors can motivate a child to explore new ways of doing things, allow them to keep an open mind to additional perspectives, and be open to change. The downside could lead to risky behaviors without a major thought or concern for the outcome, which leaves a child vulnerable.
Adolescence spending a lot of time with friend (and therefor little time with their parents) could help them develop strong social connections and support networks which are heavily correlated with happiness and mental wellness. The downside is that not being around adults and only being around peers increases their chances of risky behavior and minimizes the opportunity for guidance and knowledge from an adult figure, in turn increasing risky behaviors.
You see, each new ability and behavior that is formed during adolescence can have a profound impact on their develop towards adulthood. Stay engaged, but be aware of these new found abilities that your child may possess.
The inspiration for this blog came from an article written by Dr. Daniel Siegel. Dr. Siegel is a world renowned scientist and expert in the field of mindfulness. He has a wonderful ability to take complicated scientific findings and communicate them in a way that makes them practical and exciting. Please read his article “The Amazing, Tumultuous, Wild, Wonderful, Teenage Brain.” on mindful.org.
If you are a parent or a young person who has had some challenges and would like to share your story, let us know in the comment section below! If you have any questions, and we mean any, you can send them right over to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our page at www.YouTimeCoach.com.