Teens process information with the amygdala, the emotional part of the brain, rather than the prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain that provides us with an awareness of consequences in the long-term.
by Maharishi School blog on website
17 June 2020
What is a balanced teenager?
When we think about what we want for our children, it’s nothing less than the best whether that’s in school or quality of life outside of school. But when those teenage years come around it almost seems like our kids want the opposite of whatever we want for them, even when it’s for their benefit! This can be an extremely frustrating period for both the parents and the children.
I believe it’s important to empathize with what teens are going through and this blog will give some helpful tips from Ayurvedic Health Coach Sankari Wegman. Ultimately you can’t protect your children from everything, and you shouldn’t try to! During the teenage years the best thing you can do is hold space for your teenager and be there when they need you.
The individuation process
Some may call it ‘teen angst’, but the scientific term is the individuation process. Carl Jung (a Swiss psychologist who founded analytic psychology) describes this process as;
“Individuation is a process of psychological differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality. In general, it is the process by which individual beings are formed and differentiated; in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a being distinct from the general, collective psychology.”
If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, then it’s very likely your child is going through the individuation process.
- Has your teen been spending more time isolated in his/her room?
- Has your teen dyed their hair or drastically changed their outward appearance/style?
- Is your teen not opening up like they used to?
What’s going on in their brain?
As adults we think with our prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain that responds to situations with good judgement. Our prefrontal cortex also provides us with an awareness of consequences in the long-term. However teens process information with the amygdala, the emotional part of the brain.
As you can only imagine, when you’re acting purely out of raw emotion, there can be less “thinking” and more “feeling” types of behaviors. This is very normal because the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing and not always at the same rate! That rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so.
Top 10 tips for creating a balanced teenager
- Sleep: Create a regular sleep routine. As hard it might be to establish, going to bed before 10pm is ideal.
- Screens: Monitor use of computer/device screen time. Studies are showing screen time increases anxiety and focus.
- Volunteer: Encourage your teen to serve others. This will cultivate empathy and inspire your teen.
- Eating: Regular meals – no skipping allowed. Healthy, nutritious breakfast and a hot lunch.
- Yoga: Start the mind-body connection. Experience feeling good and connecting back to yourself. Once you see the progress, confidence increases. Yoga is great for cardiovascular health, click here to find out all the health benefits of yoga.
- Meditate: We recommend the Transcendental Meditation technique. It works like a charm!
- Avoid Caffeinated Beverages: Have your teen monitor their water intake (50ml per 100 pounds of body weight).
- Abhyanga: Encourage your teen to give themselves a daily massage before their shower. It’s a great way to purify any stresses out of their physiology. Click here to watch how to do this.
- Create a Vision Board: Get to know your child’s vision and passions by making a vision board. Parents can help their teen connect their actions with reaching their goals. If the parents make their own board, it can also help the teens make connections that help them relate to their parents.
- Consequences: Establish a set of rules or consequences that your teen needs to follow. This way if there is a misbehavior, your teen will know exactly what to expect in terms of disciplining from you and there won’t be any surprises.
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