Many parents do not understand why their teenagers occasionally behave in an impulsive, irrational, or dangerous way. At times, it seems like teens don't think things through or fully consider the consequences of their actions. Adolescents differ from adults in the way they behave, solve problems, and make decisions. There is a biological explanation for this difference. Studies have shown that brains continue to mature and develop throughout childhood and adolescence and well into early adulthood.
Teen Brain: Behavior, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
Does your teen turn to you to solve his peer-problems? Does your teen struggle with issues at school but detests your intervention? Well, if you can relate to either of these contrasting situations reading this post may be a good idea. As parents, we always want to protect our children from the worries of the world.
In this column we will explore how parents can solve problems, resolve conflicts and stay out of unnecessary fights with their teenagers. That is a large subject, so what follows is a brief summary of ideas that have worked with other families which you should adapt to your own unique situation and values. I think almost all wants have a positive aim at their root. For example, underneath the alarming desire of a teenager to experiment with drugs and alcohol are fundamentally positive desires for pleasure, for belongingness with friends, or for exploring the world. While the form of expression of those wants through trying drugs and alcohol is problematic and needs to be regulated, the underlying wants are themselves alright and simply need better means of fulfillment.
We make decisions every day, big and little. Decision making is an important skill to teach to children of all ages, because parents want children to grow up to be independent, responsible, happy adults. Some research has shown that those who are able to evaluate a situation and make a decision are often more successful in life. Decision making skills should start early with giving young children small choices between two options.