Did you know that a teenager's brain is only about 80 percent developed? It takes until we are approximately 25 years-old for our brain to be considered fully developed. The last part of our brain to mature is our frontal lobe or "thinking brain".
No matter how mature or responsible a teenager may seem, their brain is not yet fully equipped to weigh up risks and consequences, inhibit impulsive behaviour, resist peer pressure, and regulate emotions in the same way an adult brain can.
A teenager's brain is geared to absorb information and learn quickly, however this also makes them more sensitive to the effects of alcohol, sleep deprivation, sensory overload and external stress.
Teenagers can also have trouble with communication. When compared to adults teenagers tend to use less "thinking brain" when reading facial expressions and end up with a 50 percent strike rate. This means that half the time they are getting the wrong message. A big issue when the most of our communication to one another is through body language (55 percent body language, 38 percent is our tone of voice and only 7 percent is the actual words we use!).
What can parents do:
- Be patient their brain will finishing growing one day
- Encourage a good sleep routine, healthy eating and exercise
- Set healthy boundaries and clear expectations
- Encourage and support positive friendships
- Keep the lines of communication open, show empathy and don't rush to judgments
- If a miscommunication occurs, be prepared to approach it as an "in between person problem" in that you can see how they thought you meant "this" and your intention was "that" so how can we do this better?
If you would like to know a little more about parenting teenagers the following websites contain loads of useful information: