Tuning into TeensPractical tips and skills from Wyndham Youth Services to help parents and carers tune in to young people.

There’s no denying that adolescence is a challenging time for both young people and those around them.

It can be helpful to acknowledge that there are a wide range of developmental factors that are at play which often cause confusion, lack of understanding or frustration towards young people.

Sleep is one area that is often misunderstood.

Have you noticed that your teen, all of a sudden has very different sleep patterns in comparison to when they were a child?

Staying up later, fatigued in the morning unable to concentrate on tasks, does this sound familiar?

This can be due to the decrease in melatonin or more commonly referred to as the ‘sleep hormone’, across adolescence. This decrease can make it more difficult for young people to get to sleep and often lead to them falling asleep later in the evening.

Often the understanding that there is something physical behind young peoples’ behaviour can help us to develop more empathy and understanding around this distinct stage of life they are experiencing and the behaviours they may display.

We often have parents asking us ‘why is it that my teen now relies so heavily on their peers rather than us as parents?’ This can be difficult for parents and carers to adjust to.

Have you noticed that suddenly, your young person is almost like a lawyer in a courtroom, debating absolutely everything that they possibly can? This can be extremely frustrating for parents and carers and super difficult to navigate.

During adolescence the teen’s brain is going through some important growth and changes. Apart of this growth is that they are developing their logical and abstract thinking skills. This often means that teens will begin to think differently causing the onset of a wealth of questions and demanding answers as to why things are the way they are. This might sound familiar especially when it comes to challenging the boundaries set by parents and carers, ‘Why do I have to be home before dark?’

One way to help parents and caregivers through this stage is to pose the question, ‘What type of adult do I want my young person to be?’ If the answer is independent, self-confident, open minded, responsible, or creative, then we want this abstract part of the brain to develop to its full capacity. Part of this development involves practising these news skills and ways of thinking. What better place to practise these than in the home where it’s safe.

Sometimes the reframe of our thinking can help us to feel less escalated when our teen challenges the world around them including the boundaries we set. We might switch our internal dialogue from ‘Why do they have to question everything all the time,’ to ‘they’re developing their ability to be curious about the things that affect them in their world.’

Adolescence is a huge transitional time for young people. They are trying to navigate their identity in the world around them. As parents and carers we often feel the same, trying to navigate our way through a challenging time in life, the teenage years.

Understanding the difficulties and challenges faced by our young people can often lead to us feeling exhausted, confused and frustrated. It’s important that as adults in teens lives we take the time we need to self-care so that we can be the best versions of ourselves.

If you are interested in hearing more about the Tuning in to Teens Program please email us at [email protected]