Child Wellness: Teenage behavior
At some point in your child’s life, usually around age 13, most parents wonder where their sweet, agreeable child went to. Have they become bit irrational a bit argumentative? It's natural and according to the experts, put your seat belt on, it's going to be a bumpy ride. Marcie Fraser reports.
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Teenage drama. Most often, it's over how their hair looks or the breakup of a boyfriend and your teen thinks it's the end of the world. But as parents, we know it’s not and often diminish it.
"Between 12 and 22 years of age, about every emotion they have, they have with two to four times the amount of intensity that we have," said Mike Nerney, Adolescent Brain Development consultant.
The part of the brain that controls emotions isn't formed until a person is in their twenties. A parent’s life can be made much easier when they learn that teen drama is not exaggerated, and that the raw emotions are real and making light of it can lead to depression.
"Because you have depression with two to four times of powerful intensity and no life experience about 'well this gets better'," said Nerney.
For the parents whose teens are obsessed with how they look, once again, it's normal. Research shows in a teenager's brain, there is five times as much activity around appearance and they can't help it. At about eighth grade, teens go through the open conflict stage.
"They want to tell you, 'you are the lamest mom in the universe and everyone else is doing that and you don't know what you are doing.' Don't get caught up in that, it's normal part of development," said Nerney.
When it comes to talking to your child, some parents like face-to-face, eye-to-eye contact. According to the experts, that is one sure way to force your teenager farther away.
"They found out that it creates more stress chemistry in the brain. So if dads are doing that saying, 'look me in the eye when I talk to you,' so your brain fills with stress chemicals and completely incapacitates your ability to hear a single word I said. It's much better to have side by side communication doing a task. You do the minimum amount of talking and they do the maximum amount of talking," said Nerney.