Monday, September 26, 2016

TEENAGE - Normal & Abnormal Psychology

Being a teenager is hard. You face life-altering exams at a time when your brain is going through huge changes. While they have a responsibility to manage their own behaviour, by understanding the changes and challenges they face,parents and teachers can guide their practice to help them navigate this as happily and successfully as possible.
neurobiological processes that define adolescence and influence risk-taking are complex, and the role they play is emerging as a key factor in adolescent behavior. These processes must be understood in the context of psychological development and social influences.
It is not uncommon for parents to wonder whether their child is acting like a normal teenager or behaving differently due to mental illness, drug use or behavioural difficulties. Normal teenagers are often moody due to hormonal and physical changes that happen during puberty. However, when mental illness is involved, it may be difficult to differentiate "normal teenage behaviour" from the symptoms of depression, anxiety and other emotional difficulties.
Teenagers may be short-tempered and get angry easily, especially when they begin to naturally separate from the family and feel they do not have enough distance or privacy. The natural process of separation begins in early adolescence; this is when parents see that their child begins to be embarrassed by them and spends increasing amounts of time with friends and very little time with the family.
You may be worried that your teenager spends hours on end on the computer or locked in his or her room chatting on the phone and gets defensive when asked what he or she is doing or who he or she is talking to. This type of behaviour is normal. Teenagers need to naturally separate in order to gain their independence in early adulthood and often react defensively in order to attain this goal. During this time, you should be able to see that even though your teenager may cringe at spending quality time with the family, he or she is still able to enjoy time with friends and engage in healthy social and extracurricular activities outside of the home. If you see that your teen is not engaging in other activities or with friends and is chronically disconnected, angry and sad, this is when the behaviour becomes abnormal and requires intervention.

Some concerning behaviours
Decrease in enjoyment and time spent with friends and family
Significant decrease in school performance
Strong resistance to attending school or absenteeism
Problems with memory, attention or concentration
Big changes in energy levels, eating or sleeping patterns
Physical symptoms (stomach aches, headaches, backaches)
Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, anxiety, crying often
Frequent aggression, disobedience or lashing out verbally
.. Excessive neglect of personal appearance or hygiene
Substance abuse
Dangerous or illegal thrill-seeking behaviour
Is overly suspicious of others
Sees or hears things that others do not exist.

*It’s important to remember that no one sign means that there is a problem. It’s important to examine the: nature, intensity, severity and duration of a problem.

Know who your teenager is
Although your child is growing up and changing rapidly, as his or her parent you are in the best position to know who your child is. You have raised your child with values, beliefs and a set of guidelines to work from; you know when your child is acting out of character and when he or she is having difficulty. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to act on them. Even though your teenager may give you attitude when you ask him or her what’s wrong, asking on occasion lets him or her know that you care and that if he or she wants to talk, you are open to it.
Pride and denial can often get in our way of accepting that there is a problem with our child. As parents we have dreams and hopes for our children and we begin to see them come together in the teenage years as the adult personality emerges. Often teens who are intelligent, talented and creative become ill just as they are becoming mature enough to use these skills in a productive way. This can be earth-shattering for parents and makes it very easy to deny that a problem exists.
Ignoring the problem does not make it go away and can contrarily make the problem worse. As with any illness, not getting the appropriate treatment prolongs the symptoms, which will likely get worse with time.
Being open, honest and non-judgmental with your teenager about his or her difficulties will help you to be more in tune with his or her needs and facilitate a trusting relationship between the two of you.
Talking to your teen about your concerns
If you have major concerns about your teen’s behaviour and moods, it is very important to have a conversation with him or her about it. Try to identify specific concerns, i.e., "I’ve noticed that you haven’t really been going out much lately and you don’t answer the phone when your friends call." Or "I can’t help but notice that you haven’t been eating much at dinner and your stomach aches have been getting worse." Your teen will most likely not want to talk about it, but give him or her enough space and time to respond. Let him or her know that you are there to help and that you can work out the difficulties together. Seek help from a family doctor or local Counsilar, who can evaluate your child and offer the appropriate services.
It is never easy to start a conversation with someone about mental illness, but the following tips offer a way to lessen tension during

Speak in a calm voice.
Say what you mean and be prepared to listen.
Try not to interrupt the other person.
Avoid sarcasm, whining, threats and yelling.
Don’t make personal attacks or be demeaning.
Don’t assume your answer is the only answer.
Try not to use words such as "always" or "never."
Deal with the now, not the past.
Don’t try to get the last word.
If things get too heated, take a break and come back to the discussion later.
Make allowances for the other person.
Parents: Remember what it was like to be a teen.
Teen: Remember that parents frequently react strongly because they know the stakes are high.
Acknowledge that you are in this together.
The teenage years can be the most difficult for a parent. During this time, there are many changes that make it difficult to know how and when to intervene


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