The teenage brain is adapting and growing daily. Development of the pre-frontal cortex (responsible for executive functioning and the ability to make wise decisions, set and achieve goals, and communicate effectively) continues to form until about age 24. Thus, even emotionally healthy teens struggle with decision-making and healthy communication.

Anyone who has either taught or raised a teenager is acutely aware that communicating with teens has the potential to be a frustrating and sometimes awkward event. When a teenager is dealing with issues of anxiety, depression, adhd, behavioral disorder, or other mental health disorder, communication can be even more challenging.

The Grant-Halliburton Foundation recently sponsored a dynamic conference entitled, “When Life Hands You Teenagers.”  One of the speakers, Michelle Kinder, from Momentous Institute, shared some great insights for communicating with teens during her session, “Connecting with Teens: Using the Side Door When the Front Door Slams in Your Face.”

Build a Safe Relationship:

Two important elements for adults to consider regarding building healthy communication with teens were addressed in this seminar. The first includes fostering a safe relationship with your teen. Teachable moments are priceless, but when a stressed teen is in the middle of a rage or meltdown, this is not the time to teach a valuable lesson about respect or responsibility. When a teen’s brain is going haywire, very little information will be retained! Kinder refers to this as being dysregulated, and this word clearly describes what is going on in the teenage brain during a stressful situation. Wait until both of you are calm, collected, and thinking clearly before seizing that teachable moment!

Consider the River of Well-Being:

Another element for adults to consider when communicating with a teen is described by the metaphor of floating down the River of Well-Being.  When you are in the middle of a conflict with a teen, one or both of you may be fighting against the current and bouncing between the banks of chaos and rigidity. Survival is key; the brain cannot retain anything else at this time.  A teachable moment would be when both of you are calmly floating in the middle of the river. Kinder uses the acronym FACES to describe the emotional context of a teachable moment:  Flexible, Adaptive, Coherent, Energized, Secure. Remember, the goal is to build a healthy, safe relationship with your teen and help him or her become a healthy, well-adjusted adult.

How Brain Changers Can Help:

According to the Office of Adolescent Health, one in five teens today suffers from mental health issues. When a teenager is battling anxiety, depression, behavioral disorder, or other mental health disorder, effective communication may seem like a daunting task. Brain function is out of balance, and this means there is a chemical imbalance. Brain Changers utilizes neurofeedback to rebalance the brainwaves, and thus the neurochemicals, to help minimize symptoms without medication. In counseling sessions, we address unhealthy thought and behavior patterns, and we set achievable goals to develop healthier thinking, behavior, and improved communication. The best news is that results are lasting!

We can help! Please contact us today! 409-300-3113