Teenagers these days can be quite a handful. Who knows what they are thinking? It seems as the generations move forward, the teen brain , as well as teen thinking, becomes more and more complex. To be fair, it is not their fault that things are turning out this way, we live in a world that is developing at the speed of light and things, as they are now, are entirely different from how they were in our teenage years, so relatability is at an all-time low.
Countless factors determine the dilemma that is teen thinking. There is not one specific thing that we can attribute to a teenager’s actions. And the real problem is that all teens are different so you cannot compare one with the other. You might know some parents who have diligent teens who study hard and have clear goals in life. You, on the other hand, might be blessed with someone who is much more rebellious and rowdy. This is why all parents have to learn how to set different boundaries for all of their children. This brief parenting guide can help you learn how to set these boundaries and give insight into the intricate complex that is teen thinking.
Insights into a Teenager’s Brain
They are in their developmental years
A teen brain is physically underdeveloped during the teenage years. There are all sorts of processes happening in their brain that help it to develop into the person they will become in their later years. New connections are being formed between different areas of the brain; some links are being severed as well, a process of nerve development called myelination also occurs in a person’s teenage years.
Everything a teenager experiences in this time of their life determines their personality for the next few days, be it video games, drugs, alcohol, feuds between friends, or bullying.
Their emotional response dominates
In a fully developed adult person, two parts of the brain are always in sync with each other. These parts are the prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain, and the limbic system which is the emotional part of the brain.
Since the prefrontal cortex in a teenager is underdeveloped, nearly all of their responses are emotional and irrational. For example, everyone knows stories of chaotic teen thinking, like teenagers who run through red lights when driving, teens who get drunk or high and get arrested for driving under the influence, or teens who just take a lot of unnecessary risks.
Parents need to deal with this part of their child’s mind appropriately. They need to show that they are friendly to their children while still keeping a firm hold on them.
The Identity Crisis
Another thing we know about nearly all teenagers is that they are going through an identity crisis in their teen years. It is now totally understandable because their minds are always changing as is their personality.
A teenage brain, in essence, is always looking for their identity. They always want to understand who they are and what their purpose of life is. Even though many people are still internally lost on the inside in their adult years, they do find closure on their personality, unlike teens.
A good parenting guide alongside a good teacher, can ensure that the teenagers whom they are responsible for are finding a safe environment to learn and discover new experiences and ideas. This is where it is important to set reasonable boundaries for your child without overdoing it.
Teenagers nowadays are exposed to many different things. They know about alcohol, drugs, violence, sex, and just about anything else you can think of. Fortunately, the way that everything is portrayed to them is essentially how they view it, though.
The reason why many parents cannot associate as well with their children as they want to is that the experiences that they had in their teen years differ massively from the experiences of their children’s teen years. For example, while parents may have had experience with bulling in school, cyberbullying is a relatively recent phenomenon that could be difficult for parents to relate.
Things You can Do to Better Understand Your Teenager
Set Reasonable Boundaries
The two equally destructive forces in teen thinking are strict boundaries and too much liberty.
A good parenting guide needs to make sure that they have a firm hold on what their children are doing in their teenage years, without going overboard. Teach them everything they need to know but allow them some liberty to be on their own so that they can assess the consequences of their action themselves after the deed is done.
On the other hand, if you let your teen do anything they want, you will eventually see that they are out of control. A teen brain knows no limits, and they will wreak havoc everywhere.
Enhance Your Knowledge of Parenting
There is no shame in admitting that you need help in honing your parenting skills. There are many parenting guides and parenting seminars that exist just to help people like us understand the minds of our children.
You can even consult parenting guide books alongside taking online classes. Talking to mothers and fathers who have been through similar experiences as you with their children is one of the best ways to help you learn as much as you can.
Put Some Responsibility on Your Teen
Teenagers need to learn to be responsible at this age so they can properly implement it during their adult life. For example, you could ask them to get a summer job and save up for a new car, a new phone, an e-reader and Amazon Kindle, or any of their luxurious needs. This will teach them to be careful with their possessions and learn how to save money for their desires.
You must also give them the responsibility of chores around the house so that they learn to pull their weight, as well.
Talk to Them Whenever You Can
Needless to say, one of the most important things you can do for your teenager is talk to them. Make conversation with them whenever you can to remind them that they are loved and supported. Even though some light reprimanding is necessary at times, you should mostly try to take up a friendly tone with them.
This behavior of yours will help them trust you as a parental figure and as a friend. So even if they do indulge in risky or shady behavior, they will always feel guilty about disappointing you which will help them grow into better people later in life.