Published:  12:00 AM, 30 December 2016

How to understand teen psychology?

Are you constantly at loggerheads with your teen? Do you wish you could better understand the forces that drive your teenager to act in a certain way? If you said yes, then consider the thoughts given bellow.
Teen psychology: Psychology is the in-depth study of different facets of the human mind and behavior. Teen psychology points towards the study of mental attributes that drive adolescent behavior. An understanding of the general teen psychology can give you a glimpse into your child's mental and emotional traits and ultimately help you bond with your child in a better way.
Understanding teenage psychology: You may wish to delve deeper into what makes your teenager tick and help both you and your child transition smoothly through his teens. But how do you get a sense of your teenager's ever-changing behavior when your child is not ready to open up to you? Or when you cannot fathom his moodiness or angst? For teenagers, even normal days can be rough. You can bet that as a parent you have to work extra hard to help your teen go through the real problems he could be facing at this time in his life.
Here are some factors to help you better understand the psychology of teenagers.
Psychosocial changes: Psychosocial traits refer to an individual's mental and emotional reactions to his social environment. Both sexes go through the puberty experience, and the various anatomical changes can add to the pressure of the teen years. These physical changes directly impact the mental, social and emotional behavior of teenagers.

Early adolescence
You can see the following changes during your child's early teen years:
m Increase in moody behavior m Concerns with body image m Eating disorders m Fluctuations in confidence m stance from parents m Stress

Late adolescence

With the inclusion of all of the above changes, you can also notice the following changes in your child's late teens
* Experience of sexual attraction * Interest in leading an independent life * Capacity to form intimate relationships

Risk-taking factors: Another important aspect of teens psychology is risk-taking behavior. Due to psychosocial changes, teenagers gravitate towards risk-taking behavior. Other than physiological and psychological changes, family dynamics and cultural norms can also lead to your teenager behaving in a perilous manner.

Research-based aspects of teen psychology: Developmental psychologists have done a lot of work in terms of understanding teen psychology per general human psychological development.
*    Teenagers begin to develop a sense of identity, decide on their career and formulate plans for their future. A successful outcome of these decisions leads to positive identity development in teenagers. Any setback in this regard can cause confusion about identities and roles. If you sense that your teenager is experiencing an identity crisis of some sort due to academic setbacks, you can take necessary steps to make him feel good about himself.
* By the age of 15, teenagers also gain a sense of abstract thinking and a greater understanding of ethical issues. At this stage of teenage cognitive development, you can gauge the intelligence and maturity levels of your teen and facilitate his learning or social development accordingly.
* Teenagers also develop a greater sense of moral reasoning and apply this new understanding to various decision-making opportunities. Your teenager's reasoning can be based on his fear of punishment for disobedience, need for peer/teacher/parent approval and his individual values and ethics.
Applying your understanding of teenagers' psychology: You can apply your understanding of teen psychology to form a positive relationship with your teenager and also to help him ease through his teen years.

Communication: Tread lightly here as anything can trigger negative or less-than-ideal behavior from your teenager.
*    Don't force a conversation with your teenager. Threats or punishments will do more harm than good here, and you may risk making your teenager even more unwilling to communicate with you. Let your teen know that you are available when he is ready to talk but gently assert your parental authority here by saying something along the lines of 'I know there is something going on with you at school. I think we should talk about it.' Now give them time to open up to you. Be an attentive listener. You can gain your teenager's trust by listening to him without interruptions, understand their point-of-view about a situation and then put forth your views.
* Once the situation and the reasons for your teen's behavior/specific issues are out in the open, ask him about his opinion on your solutions/advice.
* Communicate about consequences, set boundaries and assert your decisions gently.
* Say what you mean and gain the trust of your teen. By doing so, you can ensure that the next time your teenager is in trouble, he is more likely to confide in you.

Attention: Paying attention to your teenager can be a three-pronged approach.
*    Pay attention to subtle and not-so-subtle signs of risky behavior in your teenager, signs of stress and any other red flags such as increased moodiness, changes in behavior, etc. * Also pay attention to your teen in terms of activities you can do together as a whole family. Learn about your teen's interests and encourage his participation in those activities. * Remember that your teenager's brain is constantly changing but also maturing. You can pay attention these changes to modify your parenting style as your child transitions through his teen years.  * There are no set guidelines on how to survive the teen years of your children. Every child is different. But there are definite patterns that are common in every teenager's life - be it emotional, physiological or psychological. * You can take a cue from these patterns and understand what leads to your child's issues.


The writer is an online activist and contributor at  www.momjunction.com

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