“What were you thinking?”
If you’re a parent of teenagers, you’ve probably asked that question a few times. I know I have. On more than one occasion, Jean and I have looked at each other and asked the same question about one of our boys: “What is going on in that brain of his?”
Well, according to Dr. Jeramy and Jerusha Clark, our guests on today’s and tomorrow’s broadcasts, there’s an avalanche of change going on. From brain chemistry to a flush of hormones, everything is firing all at once.
That probably won’t come as a surprise to a lot of you, but this might: Your teen is likely just as confused as you are about what’s happening inside them.
Jeramy and Jerusha describe it this way: Infants cry because that’s their only means of communicating that they have a need. As children get older, their methods of communicating get more sophisticated, but often not their ability to identify what they’re feeling.
In other words, a teenager can speak, but they may not sufficiently understand what they’re feeling to articulate it in words. They don’t recognize that they’re lonely, insecure, or that they need more attention from you. Since they can’t ask for specific help, their emotions are often expressed through behavior, and their motives for acting out aren’t always so easy to interpret.
There’s plenty of confusion to go around, but we’ll take some of the mystery out of it over the next couple of days on our radio broadcast titled, “Understanding Your Teen’s Behavior.” My conversation with Jeramy and Jerusha will help you better understand what’s going on in the mind of your teenager and offer some insights as to how to navigate the waters of adolescence in a way that improves your relationship. Tune in on your local radio station, online, or download our free phone app.
Dr. Jeramy Clark served as a youth pastor for 17 years and is now the pastor of discipleship at Emmanuel Faith Community Church. Jerusha is a writer and speaker. Together, they’ve written a book titled “Your Teenager Is Not Crazy: Understanding Your Teen’s Brain Can Make You a Better Parent.” You can find that and other helpful resources in our online bookstore.