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Teenage brain

Teenager vaping and using nicotine

The Teen Brain on Nicotine

“I wouldn’t smoke, it’s just nasty. Vaping isn’t as big of a deal though.” This seems to sum up the trend among adolescents today. Fewer teens are lighting up traditional cigarettes while e-cigarettes are exploding onto the scene. This is refocusing our attention on the impact of nicotine on the teenage brain. Let’s start with…  Read More

Parent frustrated while setting limits

Teen Tantrums: Ten Ways to Ensure Anger Doesn’t Rule Your House

I had just finished an iBrain presentation for parents when a couple approached me. “Do you have a minute for a question?” the gentleman asked. “Sure,” I responded. “How can I help you?” “We’re really struggling with our fifteen-year-old daughter’s cell phone use,” he began. “She’s spends so much time talking, texting, or Facebooking that…  Read More

Two teenagers in a relationship talking to each other happily

Parents Are Key to Sex Education

I’ve had the opportunity to work with an amazing organization for the past eleven years, the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. I just returned from spending two days with Forrest Alton and his staff who are celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year. The campaign and the state of South Carolina have a lot…  Read More

Teenager sleeping at desk on a pile of books at school

The Science Behind Sleeping Teens

Why The Teenage Brain Wants to Stay Up Late and Sleep In

Getting my kids out of bed in the morning when they were teenagers felt like an epic battle of wills. I remember my son Brian begging for just five more minutes of sleep as if his life depended on it. Convinced that his fatigue was caused by going to bed too late, we tried to…  Read More

Teenager with pink hair and a nose ring.

How to Support Your Teen’s Identity Development

One summer evening when Monica and I were reading after dinner, our thirteen-year-old son Brian came in the back door. As he walked by the living room, both of our jaws dropped at the sight of his bright orange hair. When I say bright I mean practically neon. Luckily we had the presence of mind…  Read More

How To Negotiate With Your Teen

Without Being a Pushover

“Dad, Andy just called and his family is heading out to dinner and he wants to know if I can come. Can I?” My son Brian asked. “That sounds fun but you promised to clean up the basement today.” I responded. “Dad, Andy is leaving for the summer this weekend and this is my chance…  Read More

Dad putting hand on shoulder of teenage son to stay connected

Parenting Teens – Staying Connected As Your Child Grows Up

“I’m afraid I might just disappear” In my early twenties I facilitated a workshop with middle schoolers around the theme of courage. The teachers warned me that one student might be a bit difficult to deal with. “She’s always acting out and challenging authority,” one of the teachers said. The workshop went along uneventfully until…  Read More

Child looking very angry and frustrated

Avoiding Power Struggles With Your Child or Teen

For lots of parents, simple conversations can quickly escalate into a power struggle. As our kids start flexing their own muscles of independence, one of their developmental jobs is to find the outer boundaries of appropriate behavior. How far can I go? Who cares? This is especially true during key developmental windows (namely, the “terrible…  Read More

Mom and teenager laughing and connecting

Parenting Teens: Getting Creative With Connection

Even though you might anticipate some distancing while parenting teens, it is still not easy emotionally. My son Brian starting asking for a “divorce” from our family when he turned fourteen! He even started looking at apartment ads nearby and no doubt would have flown the coop if we had let him go. Loosen, but…  Read More

Person talking into tin can to symbolize communication

How to Communicate Effectively With Teens

The science behind parent-teen miscommunication

At the end of a conversation with your teen, you might be hard pressed to identify the exact moment when it went from a calm, cool conversation to doors slamming. Depending on the day, talking with your teenager might feel like walking through a minefield blindfolded. There aren’t a ton of great models out there…  Read More