The adolescent’s brain works differently than adults. There’s a scientific reason behind this: the brain continues to mature from childhood, adolescence, and into early adulthood.

As parents, you need more patience on how to understand the teenage mind. Yes, it may be a challenge, there may be bumps along the road, but the teenage years are crucial to guide teenagers to be independent and responsible adults. 

What Are the Changes in a Teenager’s Brain?

Learn & Adapt: The teen brain is pliable, meaning it easily changes depending on the stimulus from the environment. Teens are still under brain development which helps them adapt or respond to new information fed to them. You can help their brains mature by exposing them to challenging brain activities such as academics, puzzles, art, and problem-solving exercises. 

Prone To Mental Disorders: Since the teen brain is still under development, it is more vulnerable to mental illnesses. Physical, social, and emotional changes in the brain of an adolescent may trigger it to develop disorders. Depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and bipolar disorder are just a few that can arise. 

Vulnerable to Stress: Teenagers respond differently to stress compared to adults. Their coping mechanism to stress is not yet fully developed. This can result in stress-induced mental disorders merge, for example, anxiety and depression. Being attentive and aware of the current situation may help teens manage and respond to stress better.  

Sleep Requirements: For proper brain development, teens should get abundant amounts of sleep. Teens should have at least 9-10 hours of sleep every day. Research tells us that unlike the adult brain, melatonin (the “sleep” hormone) in an adolescent brain is only produced around 11 p.m. With these facts, sleeping early is biologically impossible. This is the reason why your teen is having a hard time waking up early in the morning and performing in high school. Many research proves that sleep deprivation in teenagers can decline brain activity and the ability to learn new information. This can lead to emotional issues, mood changes, aggressiveness, irritability, and depression. 

Related: What to Know About Sleep Disorders

Resilience: Adolescence is a very crucial time for brain development. The teen brain may be vulnerable to all these mental health disorders. Although, these impulses and brain changes are important to build more mature and strong mental health in preparation for adulthood. Most of the adults have undergone this process and turned out to be alright.   

How to Communicate With Your Teenager

Understanding the mind of a teenage brain may be one of the hardest thoughts that you have as a parent. There is some information that you can use to fix the difference between you and your teenagers. Learning how to communicate with your child is a start. The question is, how to?

Adolescence is a very formative stage in your child’s teenage brain. This part of your teens’ life where it is the most challenging time for you to understand each other. You don’t have to worry about their behavior because this is just a phase. Here are some things that you can do to understand your child better.

Ways on Understanding the Teenage Brain

Listening Without Judging

I know you’re curious about what runs inside your teens’ brains. They may not open up to you because they feel pressured by your judgment. They feel that there’s a distance between parents and children. You can start bridging this gap by being your child’s friend.

Acknowledge the Feelings of Your Child

Remember that your kid’s problem is not the parents’. Avoid saying something like, “get over it, it’s not worth it “. They will feel dismissed, and this may put a distance between you and your teens. Try to empathize with their feelings. 

Give Them Your Trust

Your teen wants to trust, especially adults. Let them know that you have faith in them. Find ways to show your teen that you trust them. 

Don’t Be a Dictator

Every time you set a new rule for your teens, make sure you have a follow-up explanation. Let them understand that the decisions you make are for their good and the consequences of their action.

Praise Your Teenage Kid Where Compliments Are Due

They may seem a little shy to admit, but deep inside, they still crave your approval and special treatment. You are showing them that you notice their efforts are good for their mental health. 

Control Your Temper

Your teen brain’s undergoing adolescence, which a difficult phase. Parents must be understanding that they’re unable to control their emotions and mood very well at this age. Be logical not to respond to their rudeness with your temper. 

Share Moments

This covid 19 pandemic is the best time to take part in doing what your teen likes to do. Discover things that you like doing together. You can teach them to hike, cook, or improve their life skills while both of you enjoy it. In this way, you are getting to know more information about your child without the need to talk. 

Eat Together

A good bonding moment is sitting together while sharing a meal. Having a regular schedule that you eat together as a family builds a stronger relationship between you and your child. 

Be Observant

Observe if there are events where your child show changes in their normal behavior. It can be a sign that your child is having a problem with their mental health. 

What Can Parents Do to Be a Role Model to Your Child

As parents, you are the person that your teenagers look up to. Be a role model by showing them good influence. Your act will also reflect your children. Don’t be afraid to have a serious discussion with your children. Letting them know the consequences of their action will make them more understand and respond accordingly to situations.

Teen brains in adolescent age are too focused. Remind them that they are strong and able to do anything as long as they set their mind to it. Help them see that they are the key to lift themselves over bad situations. 

Make them feel important to you by showing interest in what things they like. Indulge yourself in hip-hop music; if that’s what they’re into, it doesn’t mean you have to like them as well. If you are unsure of their interests, you can find that on their social media. 

Always be present at times when they have a troubled self. Sometimes, they only need an adult to listen to them. Careful with your judgment. You want your teens to come to you as a safe place where they can be themselves. Let them be vulnerable around you without blaming or fixing their problem for them. Be mindful of what advice to give. 

Related: Tips for Talking to Your Children About Mental Health

Can Therapy Help Understanding the Mind of a Teenager?

There are three main types of counseling for teens: individual, group, and family. Other people do a combination therapy.  If you’re looking for a mental health professional that can help your teenager, Kentucky Counseling Center is here to help you.

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