In America, every 9 seconds a kid drops out of school.
This number is staggering. How is it that in of the richest countries in the world, we are missing out on the opportunity to inspire the teenagers to stop fitting into a box? We are missing out on their creative spirits, their intuitiveness, and their drive to dream like there are no limits.
During the teen years, the brain undergoes more change than any other time except the first 2 months of life. It’s our innate responsibility as adults to encourage teens to be problem solvers, to provoke them into critical thinking and conversations that require them to share their point of view, rather than just re-tell information. As parents, you need to be interested in TV shows, music, and people they are paying attention to – notice, “interested” does not mean you have to like it, it just shows that you care about their side of the story. You cannot manage teens successfully but you can 100% influence & inspire them.
PsychologyToday.com published a great article covering some tips to inspire the best and brightest brain performance of your teenager:
(Adapted from Sandra Bond Chapman, Ph.D., Make Your Brain Smarter)
As adults, we want to treat teenagers as adults. However, we forget that physiologically, teenagers have limitation due to the simple fact that their brains are still ‘under construction’! One of the best descriptions of a teen’s brain that I’ve come across is by Molly Edmonds:
“For comparison’s sake, think of the teenage brain as an entertainment center that hasn’t been fully hooked up. There are loose wires, so that the speaker system isn’t working with the DVD player, which in turn hasn’t been formatted to work with the TV yet. And to top it all off, the remote control hasn’t even arrived!”
Image courtesy of Reddit
So, how do you deal with this contraption above? As an adult, you just need to be aware of the fact. You have to adapt your expectations for someone (a teen) whose decision-making abilities aren’t fully formed in coupe with a strong desire for rewards and a hormonal need for the adrenaline rush. Hence, teens engage in risky behaviors, make poor choices, and postpone thinking of consequences.
I suggest simple step-by-step rules, choosing your battles, and lots of routines. You, as an adult, must remain the calm one and the reasonable one in all situations. I know it gets difficult at times, when your teen towers above you a few inches, and you just assume that he/she is a ‘grown man/woman” but in reality, it’s just not the case! So stay calm, and carry on your parenting!
Remember too, research shows that teens who have a strong bond with their parents have better emotional disposition, better grades, and are less likely to make poor choices. Staying connected is crucial!
Read more about 5 Simple Methods to Stay Connected to Your Teen here.