Understanding teen psychology

As a caregiver, dealing with teenagers can be stressful and confusing. They often seem uninterested, bored or even sometimes outright rebellious. In this article, we'll explore teen psychology and use that knowledge to better engage your students/children.

Understanding teen psychology
Image credit: Sewcream

As a caregiver, dealing with teenagers can be stressful and confusing. They often seem uninterested, bored or even sometimes outright rebellious. In this article, we'll explore teen psychology and use that knowledge to better engage your students/children.

💡 Lessons learnt: Direction is much more important than speed.

The teenage years are full of changes and can be a time when anxiety begins to show up. It’s important to understand what’s going on in the teen brain so we can better support them. Here’s what you need to know: The teenage brain is still developing and growing. This means that the connections between different areas are not yet fully formed. This process is called “neuroplasticity” and it explains why teenagers can be more impulsive and emotional than adults. During adolescence, there is an increase in activity in the parts of the brain responsible for planning and problem-solving (the prefrontal cortex). At the same time, there is a decrease in activity in the limbic system, which controls emotions. This explains why teenagers may have difficulty regulating their emotions, leading to outbursts or feeling overwhelmed by strong emotions

The Importance of Understanding How Teens Think

Teens are going through a lot of changes, both physically and emotionally. In order to interact with them more effectively, it's critical to comprehend how they think. Teens often think differently than adults because they're still developing cognitively and haven't had as many life experiences. Research shows that teens are more likely to take risks when they perceive the potential rewards as greater than the risks themselves. Therefore, it's important to help them understand the risks and rewards associated with different choices to help them make informed decisions.

How to Get Through to Your Teenager

Try to keep the conversation open-ended and allow them to share their thoughts and feelings freely. It's okay to ask questions, but make sure not to grill them or put them on the spot unnecessarily. Be understanding and patient, even if the conversation gets a bit heated - remember that they're going through a lot of changes and may not be ready or able to talk about certain things yet. It's important to keep the lines of communication open with your teenager, letting them know that you're always available to talk. Respect their need for space when they need it – teenagers can be complicated and confusing, but they're just trying to figure out who they are. Be patient – it can be frustrating when your teenager doesn't seem to be listening, but don't give up. They'll come around eventually. Encourage their independence while still providing support and guidance.

Motivating teenagers to succeed in school and life

Teenagers are more likely to be inspired to succeed when they can comprehend how their education fits into the wider picture of their lives.

  1. Talk to them about their goals and dreams. It is important that teenagers know that you believe in them and their ability to achieve their goals. This will help them feel more motivated to work hard in school and overcome any challenges they face.
  2. Help them develop a strong work ethic. Encourage your teenager to set high standards for themselves and strive to meet or exceed those standards. This will instil a sense of pride and accomplishment, both of which are powerful motivators.
  3. Encourage positive thinking. Teach your teenager how to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones. This will help them see setbacks as opportunities instead of roadblocks on the path to success.


It can be tough to understand what's going on in a teenager's mind. To better engage your teenagers, consider these five tips. Talk to them about their interests, offer them guidance and give them choices whenever possible, provide opportunities for social interaction, be patient and understanding, and know when to step back. With a little effort and understanding on your part, you'll be able to better connect with your students/children and create a learning environment that works for everyone.

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