Last month I joined the Calm Connected Tweens and Teens Summit - a panel of expert speakers interviewed by Jenny Atkinson and Justine Lamont from Sparks Education. The speakers provided a wealth of incredible information which I am going to attempt to summarise!

Andrew Fuller is a clinical psychologist who covered the topic 'Understanding the teenage brain and creating resilience in our families.' A big topic!

Understanding the development of the teenage brain is critically important. Teen years are peak for neuroplasticity - the brain is growing, developing and then pruning followed by refining. It doesn't always happen in a logical or streamlined way - which can be frustrating for those watching on!

The key thing Andrew said that resonated with me is that for tweens and teens to thrive they need to feel

  • Connected
  • Protected
  • Respected

It is up to us as parents to focus on these three elements. To role model communication, connection, friendships and balance. They look to us to guide them (even if they don't always admit it!). Be available. Look at any ways to connect possible!

Teens are going to take risks - it's part of their development. We took risks too. The risks taken by teens these days feel bigger than when we were kids - but we have short memories! Be available, be attentive and be ready to help when needed - ideally without judgement.

Our teens will get distracted and lose concentration easily. They're also pretty self focussed (obsessed?). All of this is normal. We need to be there to connect, protect and respect them to help them thrive!