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Why teenage angst is a very real thing

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If you’re a parent of a teenager, then you’ve probably come to understand why some species eat their young.

Teen: “My underdeveloped frontal lobe made me do it!”

When it comes to teenagers, EVERYTHING is a huge, drama-filled crisis requiring NATO intervention to resolve.(Ever seen an episode of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager?") Surprisingly however, recent research on teenage brain development suggests that while the “trauma” that adolescents experience might seem fairly minor to the adult population they can have a major impact on their adult development, maybe even to the point of re-wiring their genetic code.

English please…

Basically, the problem is that the front lobe of the teenage brain – the part that controls impulse and judgment – is still developing (or, in some people – like John Edwards – never develops). So, as you might suspect, this makes the average teenager more likely to have impaired judgment when it comes to binge-drinking, drugs and perhaps even sensitivity to bullying. (Hhhhmmm…that explains the “Jersey Shore” gang.)

A researcher from Florida State University found that bullying-induced stress could lead to an increased incidence of psychological disorders like depression and other psychopatholoy down the road.

Yikes! Could the drama of teen "traumas" really haunt you for life?

So…what is a parent of a teenager to do? Ellen Pober Rittberg, author of 35 Things Your Teen Won’t Tell You, So I Will, offers the following tips to raising your teen:

1. Your teens don’t want you to be their friends. What they need is for mom/dad to be a reliable, responsible role model worthy of their respect. So basically – don’t be a Dina Lohan.

2. Don’t debate with a teen…ever. Teens need to know that no means no – especially when your teen wants to engage in behaviors that are potentially dangerous or which might negatively affect their future. Don’t let yourself get caught up in “debating” with your teen – you’re the boss…period.

3. Don’t buy your teen a car. Why? Rittberg says it’s because he/she will total it or wreck it in record time. Guaranteed. It’s that old wisdom that kids will take better care of something you yourself have invested in.

4. Encourage sports participation even if your teen has two left feet. Sports participation develops perseverance and functioning as a part of a team.

5. To know your teen’s friends is to know your teens. We all know that teens are secretive and it is the job of the parent to break through the “veil” of secrecy and get “the goods.” Want to know what your kids is up to? Get to know his/her friends. How? Be warm and nice ask questions without sounding like you’re interrogating them.

For more tips on raising your teen, click here.

Do tell: Thoughts?

Source: "Shine" from Yahoo, Readers Digest

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