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Teen Challenges

It's not easy being a teen. Peer pressure and social media can play a huge role in your teen’s day to day life, and they may be hesitant to talk about it.

The Chairman of Neurology at the University of Pennsylvania, and author of The Teenage Brain, Dr. Frances Jensen says “impulse control is one of the last areas to develop in the adolescent brain.” Adolescence is the second most critical time for brain development, and it continues to develop through the mid-20’s. This time period plays a significant role in the emotional lives of adolescents and their decision-making skills. The brain is actually the last organ in the body to reach maturity.

Impulsive and split-second decisions are linked to the frontal lobe of the brain which is responsible for high emotional responses. The frontal lobe is the seat of executive decision-making, empathy, insight, impulse and judgment – and the last part of the brain to fully develop.

Communicating with your teen is an effective way to help them make intelligent decisions.
  • Keep an open and honest line of communication with your teen.

  • Make it clear that you understand what your teen is going through.

  • Try to remain calm, without scolding or getting emotional.

  • Research the behaviors that you want to address beforehand.

  • Be objective. Use language such as, I understand that you are intrigued. I want you to understand that you are more prone to taking risks right now, and I’d like to talk to you about why you should think about it now, rather than in the moment when it might be harder to resist.

  • Identify online and day-to-day challenges your teen may face, such as vaping, drugs and alcohol.

  • Help your teens find ways to excuse themselves from behaviors without harming their social status.

  • Let them know that you are available to help if they need you, at any time.

  • Don’t assume that you know all of the latest trends and challenges, and that your teens wouldn’t try them.

  • Follow the news, talk to your teen, other parents, teachers and coaches to get a sense of what is happening right now.

  • Help steer them in the right direction, and to make the right decisions.

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