The Teenage Brain
Although we have written about the teenage brain previously in this newsletter, we continue to learn more about it and how we can interact with it (and its owner) as parents, teachers and mentors.
I’ve been asked on a number of occasions for some resources to explain what happens in the brain of an adolescent. While searching, I came across an excellent info graphic that lists some current reading materials. With the summer holidays pending, there may be the slight chance of some reading time for parents.
I have read a few of these books and can recommend them for any adult looking to gain some knowledge about the development of the brain, as informed by the growing and fascinating field of neuroscience.
If you are interested in some relevant videos that most young people find interesting and engaging, Todd Sampson’s Redesign My Brain series is excellent viewing. There are two series available as well as his latest one titled Body Hack.
I would also like to recommend to all parents of boys, the recent Man Up series on the ABC. This tackles the staggering rates of male suicide and therefore may warrant a closer look and discretion when watching with younger children.
Please remember, Karina and I remain available to assist in whatever way we can.
Mr Anthony Freeman
Kinnoull Student Counsellor
With students across Years 8–11 undertaking exams this week it is likely that your son will become increasingly stressed in the next few weeks.
It is important for parents to acknowledge that stress is perfectly appropriate and can be helpful in situations such as exams. Stress can increase focus and allow you to perform well over short periods of time. However, excessive levels of stress can lead to a reduction in our physical and mental health.
Helping your child to stress less is vital and here are some suggestions to encourage helpful coping behaviours.
Take the time to plan
- Prepare a study plan for each day/week. Make sure it’s balanced with other important things in your son’s life — that way it will be easier to stick to. This will mean you can become more productive and create the sense of accomplishment that is vital for motivation.
- Create a study space that is comfortable, quiet, well lit, organised, and has no distractions nearby, such as a TV, phone, people talking, etc.
Look after yourself
- Self-care is especially important when you have exams — that way you have the energy to commit to what you need to accomplish.
- Build activities you enjoy and that bring your stress levels down into your study plan, such as sport, spending time with friends, internet, etc.
- Don’t get hungry before or while studying. Grab nutritional snacks that keep you going, such as fruit/nuts/dairy, etc.
- Remember to get some exercise every day as this helps you to keep focused and energetic.
Apps to Use
Reach Out WorryTime - https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/reachout-worrytime/id964311176?mt=8
But why bother? Why exert all this effort to focus totally on the boring prattlings of a child?
First, your willingness to do so is the best possible concrete evidence of your esteem you can give your child. If you give your child the same esteem you would give a great lecturer, then the child will know him or her self to be valued and therefore will feel valuable. There is no better and ultimately no other way to teach your children that they are valuable people than by valuing them.
Second, the more children feel valuable, the more they will begin to say things of value. They will rise to your expectation of them.
Third, the more you listen to your child, the more you will realise that in amongst the pauses, the stutterings, the seemingly innocent chatter, your child does indeed have valuable things to say. The dictum that great wisdom comes from “the mouths of babes” is recognised as an absolute fact by anyone who truly listens to children. Listen to your child enough and you will come to realise that he or she is quite an extraordinary individual. And the more extraordinary you realise your child to be, the more you will be willing to listen. And the more you will learn.
Fourth, the more you know about your child, the more you will be able to teach. Know little about your children, and usually you will be teaching things that either they are not ready to learn or they already know and perhaps understand better than you.
Finally, the more children know that you value them, that you consider them extraordinary people, the more willing they will be to listen to you and afford you the same esteem. And the more appropriate your teaching, based on your knowledge of them, the more eager your children will be to learn from you. And the more they learn, the more extraordinary they will become. Instead of a vicious downward cycle, it is a creative upward cycle of evolution and growth. Value creates value. Love begets love. Parents and child together spin forward faster and faster in the pas de deux of love.”
― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth