Supporting your Teen

 

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Do you remember the bright 10-year-old who could be relied upon to do a multitude of tasks, talked to you about their day and would remember a 3 step instruction?

That same child, who is now 14, seems to have disappeared and you fear may be lost forever.

It is said, to understand where your teenagers head is, subtract about 12 years, so your 15 year old becomes a 3 year old. And I’m not sure about you, but my children at 3 were not always fun! Some of the egotistical -“it’s all about me” qualities return and there is incredible forgetfulness.

This is actually something that is not of their choosing. At this stage, their brain has undergone significant development, it has taken on a massive number of neuronal connections that can no longer be serviced moving forward. The brains answer, a clean out; anything that is not being used will be pruned and die off. The brain has essentially closed for renovations.

This requires a significant amount of energy of the brain and body, hence, they need more sleep, appear confused often and lose track of conversations and their things.  For boys, their bodies are also often having a growth spurt. So throw in a lack of coordination of those suddenly long gangly limbs, with ankle freezing pants and sleeves up to their elbows alongside changes to their spacial awareness.

When we see our teenager through this lens of understanding, it can help us breathe our way through the surliness and “Oh I forgot” moments that happen frequently.

Top 5 Takeaways:

1: Subtract 12 years to understand who you are dealing with.

2: Simplify instructions to make it easier for them.

3: Allow some rest/ sleep/down time, their brain and bodies are working overtime.

4: Give lists and written instructions-reminders until their brain is re-open for business.

5: Cut some slack, focus on the big picture, above all else, maintain your connection.

Always remember what’s most important, take care of the relationship!