with Karyn Baxter, Jenny Morris,
& Silke Hetherington.
FROM THE GUIDANCE OFFICE
A world outside of my own- the view of life from an adolescent.
We often have parents reflect to us that as their kids move into adolescence that they feel like they have a toddler back in the house - reduced communication, constant sleeping and a view of the world that they believe seems to solely be about them! There are lots of reasons why we see these changes and we wondered if highlighting them might help with navigating what is a very exciting, however at times complex stage of life for you and your kids.
Developmental Stage: Adolescence is a critical period of human development where your kids are trying to form their identity, independence, and self-concept. During this stage, they may become more focused on themselves as they explore their interests, values, and aspirations.
Puberty and Hormonal Changes: The physical changes during puberty, along with hormonal fluctuations, can impact mood and behaviour. These changes may contribute to increased self-consciousness and self-focus.
Social Media and Technology: Today's young people are often heavily engaged in social media and digital communication, which can lead to a sense of constant self-presentation and comparison. The virtual world can amplify self-centred behaviour as individuals curate their online personas and seek validation from others.
Peer Pressure and Validation: Adolescents often seek validation and acceptance from their peers. In their pursuit of fitting in or gaining approval, they may focus on themselves and their needs more intensely.
Limited Perspective: Adolescents may not have fully developed cognitive abilities to understand complex situations comprehensively. They might overlook their contribution to a problem or fail to recognize alternative explanations, leading them to focus solely on blaming others.
Emotional Intensity: Adolescence can be a time of heightened emotions, including feelings of insecurity, anxiety, and self-consciousness. These emotions may lead to self-absorbed behaviour as teenagers focus on managing their internal experiences.
Brain Development: The adolescent brain is still developing, particularly the prefrontal cortex responsible for decision-making and impulse control. As a result, teenagers may be more impulsive and less capable of fully considering the perspectives of others.
Hard as it can be, it's crucial to approach teenagers with empathy and understanding as they navigate these challenging developmental years. By providing guidance, support, and opportunities for growth, teenagers can develop empathy, self-awareness, and a broader perspective beyond their immediate concerns. We hope that some of the above reflections will help support you to have the knowledge and strength to grow together.