"Adolescence" is the period of change

"Adolescence" is the period of change written by Dr. Chaninipha Butravong, a specialist child and adolescent psychiatrist at PatRangsit Mother & Child Hospital

Adolescence is a stage of life characterized by biological changes, such as hormones and brain development. There are complex changes in cognitive processes, as well as social changes, where teenagers begin to form close attachments to individuals outside their family and have an increased need for acceptance from society.

The adolescent brain undergoes significant changes compared to childhood. During this period, the brain branches out more, forming numerous connections and expanding the process of thinking and learning. However, this thinking process can be complex and overwhelming, leading to indecisiveness or poor decision-making.

As adolescents transition into late adolescence, the brain starts to reduce the number of nerve fibers, leaving only essential ones, which are then coated or insulated with myelin sheaths. This enhances the brain's connectivity, making it stronger and faster. As a result, adolescents develop a more systematic thought process and a more comprehensive perspective. The faster parents help adolescents learn how to manage their emotions, the better they will be able to transition into adulthood.

Therefore, when children grow into adolescence, parents must adapt to the changes that occur. Adolescents start expressing their opinions and emotions more clearly. Parents should gradually loosen their control and choose to engage in conversations that prohibit behaviors that may be harmful to the adolescent. It is important to start by listening to the adolescent's perspective because being a good listener can indirectly teach them to be good listeners, control their emotions, pay attention to conversations, prioritize important issues, show respect for others, and demonstrate acceptance of the child's worth. Although parents may not always agree with the adolescent in the end, adolescents will exhibit less oppositional behavior.

Adolescence is a stage in life where individuals seek their own identity and have various challenging experiences to assert their ability to take care of themselves as adults. However, this may also come with experimenting with drugs or engaging in sexual experiences. If parents can calmly listen to the adolescent and wait for them to express their thoughts, feelings, or desires, parents can offer encouragement or praise the adolescent's sincere efforts. Then, parents can gradually present different perspectives, not to make the adolescent think or do as they say, but to help them develop a more comprehensive understanding of the situation. Ultimately, adolescents must learn to make decisions for themselves and take responsibility for their choices.

Although external environments have an influence on the development of adolescent thinking, emotions, and socialization, research studies mostly support the notion that families have a significant influence on adolescent development.

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