Your teenager’s brain is rewiring as we speak.
When they were younger, much like a garden in a nutrient rich environment, their brains were soaking in new information and rapidly producing neurons. In the young adolescent brain, a change occurs and lesser-used information is weeded out in exchange for more complex connections in a process called pruning. At the same time the brain is mylenating the frequently used connections, making them faster, stronger and more coordinated.
So how does this apply to parenting? The “use it or lose it” principle is in full effect here. The more opportunities your child has to use a skill as they approach and pass through adolescence, the more likely that skill will be strong and effective at the other end.
For example: This month we are focusing on the umbrella skill Empathy – to keep this front of mind in your home try watching movies together and talking about the characters experiences, reading fiction, getting your child involved in a volunteer opportunity or helping out a friend. This doesn’t mean forcing them to use empathy. Just work at keeping it present as a normal part of what they see in a day.
Remember, out of site, out of mind is literal in the teenaged brain. Make sure the skills they need aren’t being forgotten!