Tuesday, March 17, 2015

"The Power of the Teenage Brain: Understanding Teen's Emotions, Relationships and Decisions" 
By Dr. Tina Payne Bryson

The Glenbard Parent Series: (GPS) Navigating Healthy Families, presented "The Power of the Teenage Brain: Understanding Teen's Emotions, Relationships and Decisions" with renown adolescent psychotherapist and bestselling author Tina Payne Bryson PhD at 7:00p.m. Wednesday, March 11, at the College of DuPage McAninch Arts Center  (MAC).
  • A note from Dr. Payne Bryson
  • Parent's Take-Away
  • Summary: Bryson Explains Why the “Whole Brain” is Greater Than the Sum of it's Parts

A message from Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.:
Thanks for attending the presentation this week.  I hope you gained new insights and applications for relating to the children you care about.  If you're interested in learning more, or you'd like to receive my newsletter and social-media blasts, please click the links below.  (Just so you know, I send out only three or four emails per year.  So don't worry that I'll bombard you!)
Also, remember that you can read articles about kids and parenting at my website, TinaBryson.com.

Click here for my website, where you can subscribe to my newsletter.

Lynn Dugan, Glenbard West parent shares her five take away's-
Tonight's Glenbard Parent Series program was a "Wow!"  In this terrific session there were so many great points-
  1. Discipline equals teaching and skill building.  As parents, we can have high expectations/firm standards AND be emotionally nurturing and available.
  2. As parents, we can turn our teens’ struggles into opportunities for positive change.  Look BEHIND the behavior (chase the WHY, behind the behavior).
  3. An important strategy for dealing with an hyper emotional or upset teen is to CONNECT and REDIRECT.  Connect first emotionally, then when they have calmed down- offer reason, discipline and strategies.  Teens have to be in a receptive state (not a reactive state) to receive discipline and redirection.
  5. Teens need to be safe, secure, seen and soothed.  How am I doing?  I need to ask my kids,  'Do you think I am on your side?'


              Tina Payne Bryson Ph. D., coauthor of The Whole-Brain Child (with Dan Siegel MD), wants parents to better understand how our brains work. Once we do we can optimize our cognitive abilities when dealing with our adolescents and “discipline” them with the true meaning of the word in mind.

            In her presentation March 11th at the College of DuPage McAninch Arts Center for the Glenbard Parent Series Bryson used several humorous antidotes to illustrate how the left hemisphere of the brain, that which governs logic, lineal thinking, linguistics and literal interpretation, operates (or should operate) in conjunction with the right hemisphere of the brain, that which governs emotional interpretation, non-verbal cues, whole-picture-context thinking, body language and random assortment of information.

            When adolescents are having an “emotional tsunami,” parents often respond trying to use logic. Bryson explains why this doesn’t work. When emotions “run high” there is “hyper-arousal.” Kids become defensive and can’t think clearly and can’t even hear what you’re saying.

            When responding to an upset adolescent, Bryson recommends using “connect and redirect.” This technique promotes the integration of the left and the right brain. To “connect” with the child, a parent should use a relaxed posture and calm voice. This will not only calm down the child, but the parent as well. Use non-verbal touch to comfort and then empathy to acknowledge the child’s feelings. This is right brain thinking.

            To  “redirect” a parent should ask open-ended questions and guide the child to solutions, planning, logical explanations and boundary setting. This is left brain thinking.

            Bryson reminds us that the true definition of the word discipline is “to teach” not “to punish.” When your adolescent is “acting out” ask yourself questions? Why did my teen act this way? Be curious and look behind the behavior.

            Remember. “Struggles equal opportunities.” All behavior is a form of communication. Adolescence is not just about raging hormones. The experiences teens go through cultivate new great abilities.

            In adolescence the brain is becoming specialized. As Bryson puts it, “Where attention goes neurons fire. Where neurons fire, the brain rewires.” Parents can play a role in how their teen’s brain develops. Teaching them to integrate both sides of the brain will give them life skills larger than the sum of their parts.

Suzanne Burdett is a freelance writer and a Glenbard parent.