Intro:  This month I am previewing a book I am working on Inspired Parenting.  This week I will be briefly discussing the different developmental stages children go through.

Fourteen to Seventeen: Brain Reboot

Just as the very first stage of childhood is the busy body building phase, the teenage years is busy brain rebuilding and rebooting. And just as the first phase required lots of sleeping, eating, and practicing, so too does this phase. During this phase, the brain is figuring out that it’s not just “me,” but “we” matter. And it is beginning now to understand how that me fits into that we. But just as a child learning how to ride a bike is unstable at first, and falls down, so too do teenagers. Their ability to plan, show compassion and consideration for others, and problem solve will seem awesome one day, and as if they had no knowledge of these skills the next. The mistake I have made as a parent is thinking that my child is “old enough” and “should know better” and perhaps does not need me, or can be left alone and trusted because they are “older. ” I have found that the exact opposite is true. I have to imagine teenagers as children stuck inside a bigger body. Reteaching them expectations when they “fall down.” Spending just as much time with them in their teens as I did when they were two. The only difference between this phase and other, is that I am trying to teach my children how to set their own boundaries and rules. Then when the boundaries and rules they have set for themselves seems to fail them, I process with them.

The four questions I find most useful are:

  1. Did your decisions and actions make you, and those around you, more or less functional?
  2. Did your decisions and actions lift you, and others up, or did they drag you and others down? In other words, how did you, and others, feel after the decision, or experience, was made and experienced?
  3. What would you do differently next time?
  4. What will you put in place for yourself to ensure you make a better decision, or have a better experience?

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