Understanding Teenagers

As a parent to two teenagers, I understand some of the challenges they face. Also, as a therapist who works closely with teenagers, I get to support them in facing this beautiful challenging world by adding tools in their tool box to become confident and at ease with the people they are- and want to become.

Gosh how many times have I said to a friend or family member from my generation (I’m late 40’s) I’m so glad ‘I’m not a teenager today’.

Things were simpler in the 80’s, less noise, less stuff, less expectation. 

Yet often, we expect so much of them.

Our teens, they don’t know any other time than their time, this time, they’re doing the best they can with the cards they’re dealt.

Our brains, well they don’t know any difference between the 80’s or the last decade they think the same thoughts now as they did in caveman times.

The primitive mind is the original part of the brain, the centre and influential part of this brain is called the Amygdala, our fight, flight freeze reactions. Its only aware of keeping us safe and alive.

If our primitive mind thinks that for some reason our life is in some sort of crisis or emergency, it will generally step in to help.

Depression, Anger and Anxiety are all primitive feelings.

There’s another part of the brain, the intellectual mind. When we operate from this part of the brain, we generally get things right in life.

It will assess the situation and allow us to come up with generally a positive, solution focused outcome.

I work with teens to help them connect with their intellectual minds. 

No judgement, no advise, no criticism, just awareness.

Some of the conversations I’ve had this week with teen clients has them recognising the language they are using and how it is not helping them achieve their positive outcome. 

When they’re telling me what they don’t want:-

*I don’t want to feel tired

*I don’t want to feel angry

*I don’t want to go to school

*I don’t want to be constantly rowing with my parents

This language cannot let their brain connect with what they ‘do’ want to feel.

You see the brain is like a genie rubbing its bottle, it’s saying yes, I agree, I’ll give you want ever thought you tell me to think. Even if the thought is not supportive.

It doesn’t know to use the word I don’t, it only hears, tired, angry, school, rowing.

Our teens need to know what ‘good’ looks like.

They need guidance, support, recognition.

They also need patience, time and a feeling of empowerment.

My daughter, she’s struggled with social anxiety for years. It got more extreme due to covid restrictions and before my knowledge of Hypnotherapy we would have clashed.

Her anxieties would have made me worry and react, I would have felt she was resistant and as a parent I would have felt frustrated with her not trying, crying, having no push to give it a go. I would have felt sad that she felt this way, finding it hard to support her to feel differently.

Now, I change the way I react to her feelings. I recognise they are just feelings and let her feel them.

I know we both want the same outcome, so I stay calm to support her in finding her solutions. 

We talk about how well she has coped so far and how she will continue to cope.

Our teens need to make changes in small steps. 

Big change is too much.

Computers, phones, video games, lack of being outdoors, not wanting to go to school, these are to name but a few of the thing’s parents and carer’s worry about with our teens today.

Let’s flip that coin on its head:-

Let’s bring it into awareness. 

Do we tell them how we feel?

Do we have relaxed conversations on how we feel and how they feel? 

Is the conversation happening at a relaxed time, are we listening, where they’re talking & we’re quiet.

Do we offer them to tell us more?

Do they feel heard?

Do we have positive alternatives to what we want them to do instead?

Often our teenagers don’t know how they feel.

Do we tell them what they do brilliantly?

Empower them with what they can achieve. 

Listening to the language change in my weekly sessions with a teenager who is finding their confidence and building new neuro pathways in their brains is a fantastic sight to see.

They hold their body differently, they have a solution to their problem and if it’s not resolved yet, they’re working towards achieving it.

Their stress bucket and anxiety is reduced as they feel more in control of what good looks like.

They’re understanding how their brain works to help them be the best person they can be.

For me, that’s priceless.

If your teen would benefit from having Hypnotherapy to support them with their confidence, self-esteem or anxiety, please book them in for a free initial consultation.

If you have any questions on this topic, contact me on info@omarahypnotherapy.com

Karen x