Understanding your teen through learning about the teen brain
"Brainstorm- The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain" - A book I highly recommend for parents and teens that provides an understanding of what is happening to the brain during adolescence and how that impacts teen thinking, decision making and behavior. It also provides simple and easy to use skills for teens to increase self awareness, manage difficult emotions and make thoughtful decisions.
Emotional Regulation and Managing Conflict
Good communication with your teen is vital to their healthy development but not when emotions are high. Nothing good comes out of a heated discussion with your teen. Productive conversations that involve creating mutual understanding, listening and problem solving actually create new pathways in the teen brain that fosters maturity and healthy growth. So the best thing you can do is manage your own emotions and do not engage with them when emotions are high. PAUSE, TAKE TIME to relax and then have that discussion with your teen.
"Goodness of Fit" - Is Your Child's Temperament a good fit with Yours?
Parenting styles vary depending on how you were parented, your temperament, your values, strengths and weaknesses. If your style conflicts with your child's temperament, it is important to recognize that and learn skills to help you effectively parent. One example is if you're an extrovert and your child is an introvert. Your expectations for what a healthy social life may be very different from what your child needs and wants.
Are you or your teen an HSP?
An HSP is a Highly Sensitive Person. HSP is not a diagnosis, it's a temperament that over 20% of the population is born with. HSP's are creative, intuitive, empathic, intelligent, insightful, feel deeply, self aware, and make great leaders and great friends. Adolescence can be a challenging time for HSP's because they haven't yet learned how to use their special skills such as being acutely aware of others feelings and the subtleties in their environment which can make them feel easily overwhelmed. I help parents work on skills to create an environment where their teens have structure/routine especially with healthy habits, simple clear expectations, building in downtime and pauses and learning calm communication that invites mutual understanding. By creating the right environment, HSP's can become the talented loving individuals they were born to be! Please click here for more information and a reading list.
Modeling Self Care
Think about how you manage stress. Do you do too much and then find yourself feeling burnt out or resentful? Do you take time in your day to pause and notice when you may be feeling stressed? Do you get overwhelmed by stress and then take it out on your loved ones by how you talk to them or respond to them? What are your coping strategies for managing stress and creating healthy habits? Kids learn much more from what you do than from what you say. Modeling is much more effective than talking.
Managing your worry
Worrying is a natural and normal part of parenting but not when it gets in the way of your ability to have perspective on what's actually going on with your teen or if it clouds your ability to see them objectively. Worry clouds judgment and can distort reality and when a teen experiences too much worry, they tend to either take it on or to not take their worrying parent seriously. Think about the ways you can manage your worry such as exercise, breathing, reality testing your worry thoughts and using other adults as sounding boards to give you perspective. And lastly, do not jump to conclusions when faced with something worrying; PAUSE and then calmly and curiously check it out with your teen.
Copyright © 2018 Meredith McGarvey Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist - All Rights Reserved.