Your Tween’s Brain
Remember when you were young, looking up at your future – the idea of being “grown-up” enchanted you. It glowed invitingly through your naïve, eager eyes. The freedom and independence captivated you. Not being bossed or nagged sounded so good!
Fast forward. You’ve got kids, bills, and a boss! Where is that freedom? It looks and feels like responsibility fueled by demands and deadlines. You may have felt duped along the way because you could not comprehend the reality of adulthood. However, it is not all bad. It’s preferable to being a tween and living with a tween brain.
Yet, adolescents surprise us. Their brains have increasing abilities for abstract thinking, creativity, and objectivity. They can learn to play an instrument with no musical experience, program phones and apps quickly, and find ingenious solutions to problems. In contrast, we shake our heads, wondering why, then, did he/she send a mean text. Lie about submitting homework? Give their $100 shoes to the neighbor?
It is not their fault. And, they can’t explain why they did those things.
The prefrontal cortex portion of their brain, where decision-making, cognitive reasoning, and behavior moderating occur, will not mature until after their 25th birthday. This causes adolescents to take risks, act before thinking, and exercise poor judgment. They cannot weigh long-term consequences and often have trouble distinguishing danger from fun. Much of their decision making occurs in the emotional center of their brain, the amygdalin.
They cannot help these biological timeline disadvantages.
One of the benefits of being you, the adult, is that you have a fully functioning brain that can easily decipher and discern information. When your daughter blurts out, “I hate you” one day, and “You are the best mom in the world!” the next, you know her comments are based on her immediate emotions. They are not thought through statements.
It is complicated being an adolescent. And, it is frustrating being you, their mom or dad. Yet, you have the clear advantage as you understand their brain development.
In spite of your tween giving you one-word answers, hibernating in their rooms, and making hazy decisions, they need your presence and leadership more than ever. Never doubt that you are the most important person in their life.
You are always on my mind. If I can help by coaching you or presenting a workshops to your group, let me know by responding to this email. I will personally answer it.
©2022 JoAnn Schauf, MS, LLC Your Tween & You | All rights reserved.