Whether we like it or not, adolescents are viewing pornography - intentionally and accidentally - at increasing rates. Sexual curiosity is a normal part of adolescence, but some neuroscientists argue that the brains of adolescents are more sensitive to highly stimulating reward responses. In other words, it is more difficult for adolescent brains to make smarter decisions when presented with potentially harmful, but sexually rewarding possibilities.
The world is a challenging place for teenagers these days, and taking that developmental journey from childhood to young adulthood is more stressful than ever. With the proliferation of social media, expectations for our teens to be popular have gone up. The risks of hurt from insults and exclusion and the fatigue from never being away from one’s online peer group can lead to all kinds of psychological and emotional problems - all of these factors, not surprisingly, are resulting in a rise of depression with our teenaged girls and boys.
Any parent who has survived their child’s middle school years will assure you that you can successfully navigate them, too. Although the honeymoon period of elementary school is over and middle school comes with ample trials and tribulations for most kids, try not to expect the worst. Parents who welcome the challenges of junior high as opportunities for growth will still be smiling by the time they attend their child’s junior high graduation ceremony.
Parents strive to support children to grow into capable, independent adults. Our children will face many bumps along their journey into adulthood (as we all do), and we want them to be able to manage those troubling times. Part of a parent’s job is to develop resiliency in our teens. One definition of resiliency is “the ability to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.” If we want resilient teens, then we need to start building up their resiliency while our kids are still kids.
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