Very few of us would choose to relive our teen years. Remember the angst, the insecurity – the acne? If you have a teenage son or daughter of your own now, you may not think you need to be reminded. You are reliving it every day. But now that your perspective has changed to the other side of the relationship, are you really remembering what teenage you felt like all those years ago?
Do you recall how frustrating your interactions with your parents could be? Remember the days when you felt as if nobody in the whole world – certainly not your family – understood you? What song (or songs!) did you play when you were feeling confused and unappreciated?
It’s not all in your head – or in your teenager’s head. When a child hits puberty, his or her system is flooded with hormones – testosterone and estrogen among them. We can have problems dealing with imbalances in these powerful hormones as adults, so imagine how hard and how bewildering it must be for teens to cope with their effects, which can be physical as well as emotional.
So, cut your teenage self some slack and take a deep breath before reacting to the latest provocation from your child.
On top of all that, your teenager’s brain is still acting like a sponge. Your son may be old enough to start shaving and your daughter may be developing curves, but their brains are still geared to soaking up knowledge.
“The brain responds quickly to a new task,” Frances E. Jensen, M.D., chair of the neurology department at the University of Pennsylvania and author of The Teenage Brain, told Woman’s Day magazine. Unfortunately, she points out, “It responds just as fast to things like substance abuse.”
If you experimented with drugs or alcohol as a teenager, you may remember how hard they hit you. You may have thought that was because you were young and weren’t used to their mind-altering effects, but there’s more to it than that, according to Dr. Jensen.
Because the teenage brain is so open to new knowledge and learning from new experiences, a smaller amount of alcohol or drugs can make a much bigger impact than it does on adults. And Dr. Jensen warns that it also has the potential to change the brain – permanently.
The part of the brain that is still the least developed in teens is the prefrontal cortex, which is associated with planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. That means teens won’t automatically know how to respond to various situations – including those situations involving drugs and alcohol. Dr. Jensen’s advice, as reported in Woman’s Day is: “Rehearse potential risky situations they could encounter.”
Don’t be antagonistic and keep an open mind. Dr. Jensen suggests you might want to you’re your teen something like this: “What would you do if a person came up to you and invited you to do something you shouldn’t be doing? Let’s talk about some answers you can have ready.”
Prevention is always the best cure! But if your child – or any young person you care about – has already gotten into trouble with drugs or alcohol, it’s not too late to make a difference in their lives. Spring Gardens alcohol and drug detox in Tampa can help. Our unique Florida detox therapies are overseen by Dr. Tanveer Chaudhry, a renowned expert in the field of alcohol addiction detox. At our residential treatment center, we also have a clinical staff made up of master’s level clinicians with years of experience in individual, group and family therapy.
If you are facing the prospect of an alcohol or opiate detox, you are not alone. Spring Gardens luxury detox center in Florida is here to help.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelly Fitzgerald is a sober writer based in Southwest Florida who is best known for her personal blog The Adventures of a Sober Señorita. Her work has been published across the web including sites like The Huffington Post, Thought Catalog, Ravishly, SheKnows, Elite Daily, The Fix, Brit + Co, Addiction Unscripted and AfterPartyMagazine. She is currently writing a memoir.