Under the Surface - there is more happening then you see

“it seems as if so much is changing, but she doesn’t really say anything.  There has to be a lot going on because she isn’t the same but I have no idea because she won’t talk to me about it.”

I hear this sort of comment a lot. 

“I don’t know what the heck was wrong with me in middle school/early high school.  There was so much happening in my mind.  I couldn’t sort it out.  I was so awkward.”

I also hear this type comment a lot.   

I think both parents and girls recognize that something strange is happening to their minds during the teen years but most of the time they can’t fully explain it.  The physical changes can be very obvious.  Her body begins to change and she is becoming a young woman.  Unfortunately as this happens there seems to be a lot of assumptions that because they look like a woman they must be able to think, respond, behave like a woman.

This is a false assumption.  There are significant changes occurring under the surface.

Like an iceberg, you may see this beautiful form developing but underneath there is a complicated system expanding, growing and changing to support what the outside world sees.   The brain development in teen girls is complex but it is vital that you have basic knowledge of it or the relationship with her will suffer. 

The parents I work with often find relief when they learn that certain behaviors or thoughts are normal or typical.  They also learn to manage their expectations of her better when they realize that she may not be able to perform at the level they are seeking because it’s not realistic. 

Brain Truth:  Expect her brain to be considered fully developed by age 25

Why is this important?

Because at age 13, 14, 15… she still has 10+ years of significant growth yet to happen.  I know... that can be a lot to take in.  It's ok to take a deep breath.  With the right knowledge about her brain and what will happen over the next several years it will be easier to respond.

The way that she will begin to see the world, herself and you will change significantly over the next 10+ years.  Beware of reacting too strongly.  She will figure it out and she needs you to be steady.  the more you know about these changes the more you can help her.

Stay tuned for more Brain Truths :)