Why do teenagers know everything?

An insight into the teenage brain and why they can be challenging at times.

As a parent, I'm sure you try your very best to guide your teenagers and help them not to make the same mistakes that you made. You'd love to spare them the heartache and help them learn. But why is it, they'll never take advice, tell you that you don't know what it's like and do what they want anyway?

It's because of their brain development. Rather than trying to understand and manage their behaviour, it's important to consider where it comes from and what stage their brain is at.

The prefrontal cortex is like the CEO of the brain, in charge of making decisions and responsible for planning ahead. It acts a little like the brakes on a car and prevents us from taking unnecessary risks. The problem is, this part of the brain is not fully developed until the mid twenties. This means that your teenager's brain does not function the same way as yours does. It doesn't have the the same impulse control and consideration for consequences, which leads teenagers to make poor choices sometimes.

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for:

* managing emotions

* controlling responses

* empathy

* self awareness

* conscience

I'm pretty sure you'll agree that these are the areas that your teenager struggles with most and causes the most arguments.

Lack of development in these areas is often seen as inconsiderate behaviour, lies and angry outbursts - often followed by regret and guilt.

When you start to view their behaviour as a symptom of their brain development and partly out of their control it helps you to respond differently and can reduce conflict.

Teenagers don't need the benefit of your experience and direction on how to avoid your mistakes, they need to make and learn from their own. As a parent, it's not your job to tell them what to do to avoid difficulty. It's your job to support them and guide them on how to cope with difficulty when it arises.

So, take a step back and start coaching them, rather than telling them. Allow them the space to explore decisions and help them to consider consequences and develop these skills for themselves and you'll find you have far fewer difficulties with their behaviour.

If you'd like to know more about how I can help with teenage wellbeing and mental health issues, please email suzie@thinkwisepwp.com

Categories: : Coaching, parenting, Supporting Children, teenage