What do you see when you look at the image below? Do you instantly relate to one side or the other? Neuroscientists now understand that, while the brain doesn't evenly divide tasks straight down the middle, there are different processes at work in different regions of the brain. When you think about it, that's actually pretty cool!
[source]When teens and their parents get in disagreements, a lot of times this can be traced back to teens speaking from their right brain and parents trying to make sense with their left brains. What does that look like? Imagine a teen comes to her dad to tell him about a problem in Algebra. She starts to vent about her frustration with the teacher, the other students, her own self-doubt. Dad, wanting to help and frustrated with her for failing another assignment, might launch into a very logical break-down of exactly what she needs to do differently the next time around. Any parents out there have a guess about what happens next?
Dan Siegel, author of The Whole-Brain Child, urges parents to "Connect then Redirect." What this means, simply, is meet your teen with your right brain when she's expressing her emotions before launching into problem-solving. In fact, you might not even get to problem-solving in the first go-round!
Each of us is comprised of strengths in both our left and right brains. The trick to positive connection between parents and teens lies in knowing when to harness your strengths from each side, and to never underestimate the power of connecting with your tween or teen's right brain!
For more information on connecting with your teen and helping them navigate the stressors of high school, Blake and Tracy will be presenting at Westlake High School this Thursday from 11:30-12:30, and again at GenAustin's We Are Girls Conference on November 3!