Some days when you look at your adolescent, you must be thinking, “Who is this child?” They change so much during these years, but the changes that you see are only a small reflection of the powerful events that are going on inside their head. Changes in relationships are one way their brain development affects their life.
Parts of their brain are becoming awakened as a maturity wave sweeps through and brings thoughts that are new to them. This is difficult for parents to understand but one of the major reasons your child is so different is because they think differently now than they did as a child.
It is important to stay connected to your adolescent during these years and the best way to do that is to have brief conversations with them about what is going on in their head. They will likely resist you, but they will be grateful that you are walking this confusing pathway with them and helping them to understand these new feelings.
One Big Change: Relationships
Here is one change going on in their brain and a suggestion for a conversation starter about it. Keep this conversation brief with a goal of helping them realize their feelings are normal. It might lead to even more interesting talks in the future.
Brain Change – Navigating Relationships
Background: As children, you move through friendships fairly easily and although you might get your feelings hurt from time to time, a young child can usually move quickly past their hurt. This is very different for an adolescent. Their feelings are tender and it matters a great deal to them how others view them. The emotion just seems to be deeper and last longer when they get hurt by a friend during these important transitional years.
Casual conversation starter: Have you noticed that your friends seem to be upset more easily when they get their feelings hurt? I wonder if they realize this is normal because their brain is changing so much right now?
Keep It Casual
These brief conversations can take place anytime and anywhere. Your adolescent doesn’t even have to respond. They are simply a message to them that you understand there are new feelings inside them and that what they are feeling is normal. This might also open the door a tiny bit to talk to you when they feel bad about a friend issue.
More Coming in May!
Watch for our blogs in May. Each week there is going to be a new conversation starter you can use to let your teen know you understand that their feelings and thoughts are changing and that you are here to support them. This is going to be helpful to your adolescent and give you a way to remain connected as they mature into a young adult.