We’re  focusing on the enigmatic world of teenagers as opposed to toddlers! (Although in effect there is actually much overlap!).

Has your gorgeous chatty boy turned into a monosyllabic grunter?!

Being a teenager is a time of turmoil, triumph and trouble, in a constant tug of war between childhood and adulthood. Sometimes, they’ll revert to acting like a child (tired, hungry, hormonal), and often to the level of the two year-old with tantrums!

Sometimes, the pull will be towards maturity, and for moments they’ll have the whole family beaming with pride as they talk the most miraculous sense for a period of time.

More often than not, they’ll will hover in the middle! A lot of this has to do with hormones, chemicals and brain immaturity.

These 7 facts about adolescence will hopefully help parents (and teenagers) to navigate these years:

    1. The teenage brain is still developing:
      – the prefrontal cortex (responsible for impulse control and managing emotional reactions) is not yet fully developed until the early 20’s
      – Some decisions and responses which are later made in the prefrontal cortex are made in area called the amygdala.
      – Responses originating from amygdala are driven by emotion, aggression, impulses and instinctive behaviour.
    2. The teenage brain is easily influenced by physical factors:
      – The pleasure centre in brain which secretes dopamine is easily activated, especially by factors leading to instant “highs”/instant gratification. This makes teenagers more prone to risk-taking behaviour, repetitive behaviours and addictions.
    3. Hormonal shifts are massive and relevant.
      – This will lead to tiredness, moodiness, and often vagueness and forgetfulness. It’s not called the “teenage fog” for nothing!
    4. Multitasking is very hard for the teenager, especially teenage boys.
      – The only multitasking they can usually manage competently is walking and eating at the same time (or anything and eating at the same time really!) The teenage brain generally does better with the simple “one thing at a time.”
    5. Teenagers tend to live in the moment.
      – Planning ahead is difficult for young teenagers in particular, and they work better under pressure with an immediate deadline. Last minute.com.
    6. The teenage heart yearns for acceptance.
      – The opinion of peers becomes important, social media takes centre stage and the opinion of the parents is simply “irritating” and “out of touch!”
    7. The teenager looks through a narrow lens.
      – Young teenagers tend to think mainly about themselves, not for the greater good of the family/community.
And all of this, frustrating as it is, is normal for teenagers! Using these facts as a backbone, we learn that, as parents, we need to adopt a slightly altered parenting style for our teens in comparison to our tots.