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Adolescent Years: How Can Parents Help Guide Kids?

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Robyn McKay describes how parents can assist their children navigate the hormone driven teenage years and exercise patience when communicating with their kids.

Robyn McKay:
When I talk to parents about their adolescent child one of the things that I hear again and again as if it’s almost like being a teenager’s like character flaw. “How can a sweet and loving 8-year-old girl turn into a moody, self-centered 11-year-old almost overnight?” And as it turns out, it’s not a character flaw to be an adolescent. What it is is actually there’s so much going on in the brain at that time; hormones are flooding the brain; there’s pruning going on within the brain as well so that they are actually becoming better thinkers, but during that time in early adolescence, right when students, right when young people are going through puberty what actually happens is that there’s a delay in how adolescence interpret emotions of other people.

So in other words, if you as a mom have an angry face, your child might be misinterpreting the angry face as a confused face. So there’s this little bit of a delay in interpreting emotions, and one of the things that you can do for your adolescent is to understand that.

There’s so much brain development going on in that kid’s head that offering them a little bit of patience and a little bit of understanding I think is going to go a long way in supporting their massive developments that are happening during adolescence.

Tip for moms on patience – take a breath, pay attention to how you are feeling, try to be as responsive as possible rather than reactive, and as best you can, don’t take things personally because it’s really not, even though they might indicate that it’s personal it’s really not personal.

Visit Robyn McKay's Blog

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EmpowHER Guest

This makes me feel so much better about my teenage daughter's moodiness.

July 14, 2010 - 3:15pm
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