Teens still need the love and attention of their parents no matter how emotionally withdrawn, independent, or troubled they appear. Although a teen may be bigger than the parent, and mature in some respects, their brain is still developing. Teenagers process information differently than grown adults. The frontal cortex (responsible for emotions, decisions, reason, and self-control) is restructured during the teen years. In fact, teenagers’ brains rely more heavily on the amygdala, a part of the brain responsible for emotional reactions.
These biological differences don’t excuse poor behavior or absolve teens from accountability for their actions, but rather help in understanding the impulsivity, social anxiety, and rebelliousness often seen in these years.
The priority is to keep the lines of communication open. We can help parents identify ways to stay connected and seek to understand their teen’s needs.