Underwear or shoes left in different parts of the house? Smelly armpit odor in the car, to the point where you can’t breathe? Sound familiar? You think to yourself, “what part of my teenager’s brain is not connecting to the proper synapses?” and then reality suddenly hits. ““Ahhh, yes, we have officially entered the teenage years.” There seems to be a recurring theme of stupidity, forgetfulness and just plain old laziness. As parents, we repeat the same things to them, knowing very well that they completely understand us, and yet what do our teenagers cognitively and intellectually think when they repeatedly carry on the same idiotic behaviors? According to the article, Secrets of the Teenage Brain, author and University of Pennsylvania neurologist, Frances Jensen, discusses how parents can understand the reasoning behind their teenagers’ explosive hormones.
In doing much research on teen psychology over the years, I found a sacred connection to what triggers certain behaviors in a teenager’s world. Jensen tackles questions that readers like me have, like why do our children’s mood swings and anger always seem directed at us, the parents? Or, how could our kids leave the house without a jacket knowing it’s an extremely cold day outside? We can’t figure out what exactly is going on in their teenage brain, but we assume their impulsivity doesn’t allow them to think sensibly. Really, are my priorities that screwed up? Perhaps I should be more worried if my teenager ever wants to dabble in drugs and alcohol, or have sex. Or unprotected sex. Or both. How about their mental health and well being?
Jensen puts things in perspective in her new book, The Teenage Brain. You’ll notice that I keep mentioning “keeping the connection” with your kids in my blogs, because no matter what stage your teen is going through, you never want to mistake their bizarre behavior with real illness like anxiety disorders or depression. So don’t sweat the smelly socks that are continuously left in your hallway, or when your kids are avoiding doing homework because they want to watch “The Voice.” Look for the important signs that Jensen points out are the deeper problems, and the real ones we should be concerned about.