Surviving the Teenage Years!

Adele Cornish, BSW

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Essential information for every blended family with teens

“How can we all get along and be happier?  My partner needs help in understanding teenagers.  How we can parent them better?”  Sue

Parents and stepparents can be tempted to think their teen deliberately misreads situations or frustrates them, but this is not necessarily the case.  Your teen’s prefrontal cortex – the area of the brain responsible for impulse control and understanding risks and consequences is not fully developed until the age of 25 years.  At the same time hormones are surging which helps to explain why teenagers can be impulsive, risk-taking and quick to anger. 

Teens also struggle to interpret body language and identify emotions from facial expressions.  While adults use the rational part of the brain to read emotions, teens rely on a gut reaction and therefore can often be wrong.  Basically this means a teen might mistakenly think their parent, stepfather or stepmom is yelling at them or a peer insulting them when it’s not actually happening.

Here’s just some of the Developmental changes you might notice in your teen or step teenager:

  • Developing sense of self and testing moral issues with you
  • Can be quite sullen and monosyllabic
  • Debate a lot of what you suggest
  • Demand control over their own lives
  • Have an increased ability to reason
  • Older teens will naturally separate from their family as they seek to develop their own identity. 
  • Very self conscious and sensitive to criticism
  • Can become upset if their views are questioned
  • Behavior can alternate between that of a child and adult

Have noticed you also noticed your teen or step teen will often believe their own faults should be overlooked?   continued…

Click here to continue reading Part 2 and find out how to best help your teen or step teenager