Connecting With Adolescents
The adolescent experience is hard! It’s a time of massive amounts of development, growth (physical and emotional), and exploration. It’s a time of adjustment from childhood fantasies to adult responsibilities and it can be a rather rude awakening. As a teen, your brain is making connections it has never made before, it’s exploring what life means, and it’s flooded with new chemicals. Emotionally, you are trying to figure out how to get your needs met through connections with others and by yourself. You stop assuming your needs will be anticipated and begin to understand that you have to ask for what you need.
A level mind is one that is balanced, supported, and healthy. You need people in your life that will walk with you, not ahead of you. You don’t need statements like, “You’ll understand when you’re older,” or “When I was your age…” You just want to be heard and have someone say, “Dude, that makes so much sense!” Your peers get it and that’s why you reach out to them and seek their support. But there are some adults that get it too and are dying to hear your fresh perspective on life. An unbalanced life with vast amounts of emotional pain, occur when you don’t have the support you need.
Not all parents and adults struggle to connect to their teenagers. But most have a hard time stepping out of their parenting role and tend to seek a teaching point in every interaction with their kid. Parents and adults are in growth too and can learn better ways to connect to others. Aside from having a therapist, Dr. Siegel has a great book called Brainstorm for both teens and parents that discusses the amazing world of adolescence and how to better support each other.