Teenagers need skills that are going to carry them well into their adult years. While our brains have always had plasticity to change there are two significant times in our lives for brain growth. One is from new borns to seven, then from 12 to 25ish years.
From teenage years there are many changes happening. These include brain and hormonal shifts. Life can seem confusing and stressful. Exams, assignments, essays, social media, boys, girls, family, work, learning to drive, body image, friends, what to eat, what not to eat and sleep.
Most teenagers today have grown up with an ipad or device in their hands. It is a new era and we are all learning on the go. Digital technology has brought on fast information and fast communication networks and platforms. Young people learn quickly on social digital platforms through various apps like instagram, snapchat, tik tok. If you’re a parent of teenages like me facebook might as well be called ‘old book’ because young people just don’t go there anymore.
We used to wait in line in the family so we could use the telephone. Even dialling a friends number used to take forever! Now, you just send a snapchat, or voice message over the smart phone just like that. Games used to be made up ones or board games like cluedo or monopoly and cards. Now, teenagers can build their own pc’s and play sophisticated animated computer games solo, with friends or with people around the globe playing the same game at the same time. But does this exciting technology come with a cost to our social capabilities. We are in uncharted territory. Teenagers need to be social and grow their social network with friends outside the family, however, is the internet making this international networking too big and too distant for developing minds?
What about that time we had to wait to use the telephone? We had to wait until we got home. Then we had to have our parents permission to use the phone, then we had to wait in line. If you were the youngest you were the last. Sometimes if you were lucky you may have unlimited time, which might be 30 minutes. Most of the time it was limited to 10 to 15 minutes tops. The point is we had to wait. In that waiting we thought about what we wanted to say, to talk about, to ask our friends. It was valuable time. Now, teenagers who could also be referred to as digital natives just shoot off a text, a voicemail or video message as soon as they think about it or as a quick response. There is very little delay or pause and very little down time. The more friends you have could also mean a relentless bombardment of social media messages. Young people have very little down time especially compared to many parents. And what about those quick messages – are they thoughtful, considerate and caring. Most adults have experienced the quick reactive responses that could have been worded better or perhaps regretted in the aftermath. What about young vulnerable teenagers who tend to be emotionally sensitive during this age? How do they manage unpleasant social media? While it is easy for adults to say ‘ block’ and ‘unfriend’ it is a different world for teenagers of today. They are more connected on social media than we adults and parents could ever imagine at that age. The ripple effect is real.
Were we stressed as teenagers in the 80’s? Yes, we were but nothing to what our young people are experiencing today. For many of us who were teenagers in the 80’s we found ourselves independent of our parents as soon as we found a way to. It was a different way back then and perhaps even one could say a much simpler version of today. Children are staying at home longer but are more stressed probably more so by outside factor and less by family life.
Teenage brains are growing and taking on board more than any other generation. The Australian curriculum is full and teachers rarely have the time to develop the healthy teacher/student relationship of our past. Yet, teenage social media is a busy stream of connection. Are there enough healthy deep connected relationships of our teenagers today? Do we need to throw some caution into the air? I think we do. According to Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, a national household survey found that.
‘Almost 1 in 7 (13.9%) children and adolescents aged 4–17 years were assessed as experiencing mental health disorders in the previous 12 months, which is equivalent to about 591,000 (based on the estimated 2017 population) children and adolescents.’
Most prevalent of the mental disorders was ADHD, followed by anxiety and major depressive disorders. Remember, these teenagers don’t even have mortgages yet! So what are we going to do to support our young people? Neuroscience has come a long way in the last 10 years and now we are becoming aware of our nervous system and in particular our autonomic nervous system. Actually, awareness has been there for a very long time but through the work of Dr. Stephen Porges we can scientifically understand the autonomic nervous system. This is the science behind our survival and our thriving. It is the science of our dysregulated states and our regulated states. It is the science of how we learn to co-regulate within our significant relationships. This is learning for LIFE!
This September give your teenager the best start for the rest of their life.
This inaugural program has been specifically designed for teenagers of today.
- Run over 5 and 1/2 days packed full of skills,
- Psychoeducation and techniques to reduce and understand stress and anxiety,
- Improve focus and study,
- Relational skills
- Develop better rest and sleep quality.
Starts Monday 21st September 2020
Teenage School Holiday Program
Register to Join Us for September 2020 Teenage Program
“You discover that longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong.”
– F. Scott Fitzgerald.
“If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships.”
– Franklin Roosevelt.
“To live will be an awfully big adventure.”
– Peter Pan.