By: Laura Rice, MS
January 2, 2018
“You can not stop the waves but you can learn to surf.”- Jon Kabat-Zinn
Let’s start off with a basic need: SLEEP. Teens do require more sleep. They require about 9 hours per night. Helping our teens prioritize this can help with all areas of their life as well as their moods. During their sleep time, the critical hormones to maturation and growth are released.
Secondly, let’s talk about their amazing NEUROLOGICAL development. The teenage years are known for a time of heightened risk-taking, poor impulse control, and self-consciousness. This should not be viewed negatively. These behaviors are a simple result of increased neurological development. The area of the brain that is responsible for decision-making, planning, appropriate behavior, social interactions and self-awareness goes through significant development during the teenage years. There is strengthening of used synapses and elimination of unused synapses. Basically, “use it or lose it”. Teens need the ability to problem solve, make decisions, socialize and learn about who they are while parents provide guidance, support, strict boundaries, and consequences.
Thirdly, daily LOVE of them. Spend time with them. Dinner, lunch, tv time, shopping time, car drive, household chores together and anything else in which you can be present with your teen. Be present, not intrusive. Provide a family of unconditional love and support gives teens a safe foundation during turbulent times. When you are in the wrong, apologize and take responsibility. Accept their apologies and let them know how much they are loved despite their mistakes at times. Show them respect to enhance feelings of happiness and safety at home.
Lastly, MODEL the positive behaviors that you want to instill in them to carry over into adulthood. They look to the adults in their lives for how to behave and to make choices about their own lives. The more positive influences surrounding them, the better. A common goal among parents is to raise young adults to be healthy, well-balanced, caring individuals who makes positive choices and has self-confidence. This does not happen overnight. It takes proactive steps and daily attention to our children even during the teenage years.
“Raise your words not your voice. It is rain that grows flowers not thunder.” -Rumi
PaperCranes Healthcare offers a Teen Stress Management Group at our Queen Creek office. Feel free to call 480-704-3474 or click here to register today.