Have you ever wondered why teenagers act the way they do? Maybe you have guessed it’s just hormones, or that they are looking for independence or have just written it off to the movies and music they listen to. Would it help to know that much of the seemingly strange behavior that adults experience from teens is pretty normal and part of their brain development? It is difficult to understand when this teenager standing before you who seems so much like an adult and using adult words and sentences can not comprehend the basic logic behind rules or boundaries that you are setting. Take a deep breath and count to five and know that part of what is happening is developmental. According to Mark Walsh, PhD., during adolescent years, many teens are still doing a great deal of development in the frontal cortex of their brain. This is the part of the brain that is considered the “executive office” of the brain. It is the part of the brain that helps us think through things logically and to control our impulsive urges and decisions we make. Without that part of the brain we see impulsive behaviors and emotions that seem out of control and may often seem to have no logic behind it what so ever.
Book Review: “Why Do They Act that Way” By Mark Walsh, PhD.
So what do we do in the meantime while this development is happening? In his book titled, “Why Do They Act That Way” Mark Walsh, PhD. describes how as parents we can survive our children’s teenage years with fewer fights and conflicts and hopefully fewer gray hairs. Walsh puts his thirty plus years of experience with adolescents and their families with a solid base of research into a very practical guide for anyone who wants to understand youth better. As a parent of four teenagers and therapist, I highly recommend this book for all parents of teens. It is widely available in larger book stores and on Amazon.com.