Thursday, August 28, 2014

Parenting the Adolescent Brain, 4

What can parents do to not only survive themselves but to help the adolescents under their care survive and thrive? Avoid taking their somewhat erratic behaviors personally. Over the course of adolescence, the limbic system comes under greater control of the prefrontal cortex, the area just behind the forehead, which is associated with planning, impulse control and higher order thought. As additional areas of the brain begin to help process emotion, older teens gain some equilibrium and have an easier time interpreting others. But until then, they often misread teachers and parents. According to the author of Inside the Teenage Brain: Parenting a Work in Progress, Sheyl Feinstin, "You can be as careful as possible and you still will have tears or anger at times because they will have misunderstood what you have said.” One of the most influential ways to parent your teen, in addition to being a good listener, is to be a good role model, especially when dealing with stress and other life difficulties, as teens are actively trying to figure out their own coping strategies. Your adolescent is watching YOU. And what about sleep? Part 5 tomorrow.

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