No parent is ever absolutely ready for the changes and challenges they have to encounter and experience when it comes to a teenager. Even though there have been numerous studies trying to explain the reason behind the unpredictable nature of their behavior, there are still some surprising moments faced by every parent during this time. However, understanding why the behavior is such can help you, as a parent; feel more supportive towards them during this phase.
According to neuroscientist Frances Jensen, the teenage brain is still undergoing change and is getting developed which is why their actions do not always seem rational to adults. In this article, we will share some of the realities associated with the teenage years in the hope to educate parents.
The frontal lobes of our brains are considered to be responsible for the decisions that we make and the reactions that we have to things around us. During teenage years, this part of the brain is still in the process of getting re-wired, which is why you should expect yourself to witness a lot of unpredictable responses and bad judgment calls.
However, this does not mean that you give up on your child; rather it is essential that you play your part as a parent since the habits developed during this time might stay for a long time. Teenagers that develop bad habits such as smoking, drug use and alcohol addiction will face more problems as adults when they try to quit. Thus, it is extremely important that as a parent, you keep doing the best you can to improve your teen’s habits.
Apart from the biological changes, there are also many physical changes that are taking place during this time of life. Hormonal changes leading to puberty can also be held responsible for the erratic feelings that your adolescent shows – for example, a change in voice, in demeanor, acne, etc. are all changes that make adolescents more vulnerable to having problems related to self-confidence and self-esteem. Your child is at a stage where they are trying to discover and understand their inner-self and at the same time is learning to accept the physical changes that have taken place. It almost feels like they are in someone else’s body. Knowing this, parents are more likely to give the teenage children some benefit of the doubt.
Also, the circadian rhythm of the teenager is subject to change as well. Teens, because of this change, feel more alert during the night and need 3-4 more hours of sleep in the morning as compared to adults. Unfortunately, academic needs do not allow them to get the proper sleep, which is what they need during this stage for to be calm and relaxed.
Even though this time of your child’s life is going to be challenging for both of you, it is recommended that you still play your role to avoid any damaging lifelong effects. As a parent, you need to make sure that you stay connected to your child by being a constant source of support in their life.