Attention Parents: Recent Neuroscience Says Your Teen Still Needs you
For some parents, parenting teens conjures up feelings and beliefs that raising an adolescent is challenging and fraught with conflicts and negative emotions. However, an upcoming journal article from the UC Berkeley Institute of Human Development (scheduled for publication in the July edition of Family Relations) cites neuroscience findings which indicate parents should reframe their view to include the rewards and opportunities of maintaining a healthy parent/child relationship with their tweens and teens.
Neuroscientists studying adolescent brain development note that during the transition into adolescence, neuroplasticity (neural connections which are flexible and amenable to change influenced by environmental experiences) provides an essential window of opportunity to shape developing neural networks related to psychosocial development. The writers state that higher quality of parent/child relationships leads to positive outcomes, including a more positive self-image, emotional stability, and deeper and more meaningful relationships with others. Also, teens who have a positive relationship with their parents tend to be less likely to experience depression or engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse, reckless driving, and early and unsafe sexual activity.
A high-quality parent/child relationship is fostered through what is called the Authoritative Parenting Style. This style includes a warm, positive relationship along with guidance and reasonable expectations. Child development experts refer to supervision and limit setting as providing “scaffolding” to provide the necessary structure to support the development of new skills. By regularly and consistently spending time with teens, the channels of communication remain open, enabling parents to provide support and positive affirmations as well as the opportunity for open discussions related to teen development and life in general.
source: Child Development Institute
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