Your teen can be irrational, and leave you wondering, “What were they thinking?”
You feel frustrated, because their choices show no rationale, and their attitudes come out of nowhere. The truth is, they don’t know how to explain their moods or implusive behavior either.
The brain is our command center for all behavior, so let’s take a closer look at what’s going on with your teen’s brain.
We all have a concious mind (upper brain) and a subconcious mind (lower brain).
Step one in a teenage brain’s development is the lower brain, which houses all of the big emotional reactions.
This is why so many parents see a drastic change in their child’s temperment in the preteen/early teen years. The brain goes through many major changes in the adolescent years, but the first is in that lower part of the brain.
The part of the brain that builds logic, reasoning and communication skills develops later. With this in mind, it makes total sense that your teen doesn’t know how to self-regulate, especially when they don’t know about the changes happening in their brain. They simply feel the big emotions and don’t understand why.
So, this does not mean that they “get away” with all of their behavior, but it can help you have some compassion for the unpredictability you see.
Even with the lower brain growing rapidly, the upper brain is remarkable and can learn to manage the thoughts and emotions of the lower brain with some intentional practice. I wish I had learned that skill as a teen!
This is what coaching is all about, and why I do what I do. There is no need for your teen to feel there is something wrong with them when they have big emotions. They can learn to use their upper brain, so the lower brain doesn’t take over.