|Picking Your Battles|
You are the parent. That means that although, as a good parent, you listen to your child and help your child work to an understanding of situations, you have the final say. Try not to get trapped into arguing with your adolescent.
Adolescents tend to over simplify to an extreme. You have probably heard phrases like: “But everyone can go!” or “You never want me to have any fun!” Don’t react in a similar manner. Stay calm, be aware of your body language and if need be, walk away from the discussion. If there’s no audience, there is no argument. Be sure, however, that you address the issue once you are both calmer.
To a teen, even minor situations can become dramatic, and arguments can seem to erupt over the most trivial of details. Establish with your spouse, or other adult authorities, what issues can be compromised on and which can’t. A united front on the big issues is important. For instance, maybe you’ll be willing to let certain types of dress or appearance slide, but will remain firm about no alcohol consumption and prom night activities.
Although your teen may look more like an adult, his or her brain is still not fully developed. A few key areas of the brain, most particularly the prefrontal cortex, experience spurts of growth starting during puberty. These parts of the brain are responsible for such things as the ability to reason through options, control reactions, and make judgments. During the teen years some of these functions can be somewhat limited. For example, teens often have trouble with foresight and can have problems seeing the big picture. Time, experience, and development will help strengthen these areas in your teen’s life; in the meantime, acknowledging that what may seem to you to be simple reasoning may be difficult for a teen, will help you manage your discussions.
To learn more about the teenage brain, and how to communicate effectively with your child, check out Frontline’s website.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 30 April 2009 13:30|