Poor teenagers. They get such a bad rap. Us oldies forget we used to be one. We forget what it used to be like to be the only person that ever felt anything, or had a remarkable thought. I remember sitting in my room for hours on end writing poetry and painting. While I wallowed in my own self misery, I may have forgotten to do the dishes, but I certainly wasn’t hurting anyone. I believed that no adult would ever understand me. And in some ways, I was right. Our teens have a pretty bad name with the oldies, and in most cases, it’s just not fair.
I had some readers send me some questions a while back and thought I’d try my hand at pulling them apart. I don’t have a teenager, but I do work with them. Message me in ten years when I do have one and we’ll laugh together at some of my attempted answers.
Why is my teenager easily influenced by their friends?
Once upon a time, you were your little ones’ number one. Then, all of a sudden, you became ‘redundant.’ That’s your job! A good parent is supposed to become redundant, in the long-run. The friends of an adolescent are an important stepping stone towards independence.
Then, there’s the Dopamine increase in the teenage brain: ‘the feel good chemical.’ It means friends constantly seek to stimulate each other. That’s why hanging out with them is more fun.
Don’t be disheartened, though, you’re still a really huge influence! Who you are and what you do is still rubbing off on your baby.
If your teen is driving you insane with tech, remember that phones and the internet are the lifeline to friends. Back in the day, we roamed the streets instead. Our teenagers aren’t really allowed to do that anymore, for safety reasons, and that’s not their fault. If you want their full attention at an event, make a pact that you ALL leave your phones at home.
Why can’t my teenager make smart choices?
Be easy about this. It’s the first time they’re allowed to make serious decisions. We can’t expect them to make the right ones all the time. Not only that, but remember our friend Dopamine? He wins. Every time. That little chemical wins out over common sense.
The next hurdle is the Prefrontal Cortex. While the rest of the brain develops, this guy has to take the back seat. The Prefrontal Cortex is the master of logical decision making and planning. When they forget to wash up or take out the trash, they often have forgotten. Or they ‘plan’ to, but those plans failed.
See what difference it makes when you write a list of chores for your teenager.
Why is my teenager so argumentative?
Children go through life thinking that everything is going to turn out okay. Then, all of a sudden they realise adults don’t actually know everything. In fact, they’ve made a mess of things. The entire world comes crashing down. What to do?
Why would they let this happen? Why is there war? Why is the Government the way it is? Why does my father contradict himself?
Once again, the rational argumentative phase is an important stepping stone. It’s the teenager’s way of understanding the world and its boundaries. If they are supported during this stepping stone, they are likely to come out the other side with a stronger sense of self. Have an argument, they love this, just try not to get angry (har de har).
This question is from one of our teens: Why are parents so worried about their children being inside all the time? Aren’t they happy to know where they are?
When we were young(er) we ran, played, built forts, swam in rivers, made billy carts and raced down ridiculous hills, and stayed in the streets til evening. We were the Kings and Queens of the neighbourhoods. It’s sad for most of us adults to see that teenagers don’t have this anymore. Even sadder that we have to know where you are for safety reasons.
Being outside, playing sport and running around gets your heart racing. Racing hearts pump oxygen through your bodies, and oxygen through your body prevents disease and sickness. We want you healthy because we love you.
There was also a time when we used to have a house to ourselves. We could listen to loud ‘dorky’ music, put our feet up, and scratch our bottoms without having to worry about anyone else. It’s nice to have a little alone time every now and then. (When you’re at school, we’re often at work).
We all get on each other’s nerves. We all drive each other insane. Sometimes, in order to break through to your teenager, it’s better to try to understand them rather than wish they’d do things your way.
And vice versa, teens. If your parents grind you to insanity, ask them what they were like when they were a teenager. You’ll learn a lot about who they are. Even better, ask them how their day was.
Let’s reconnect with our teens. They’re just our babies in big people’s bodies, trying to make their way in the world.
Original article can be found at Born Organized Magazine: CLICK HERE