What should an 11-year-old do

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Is your child lying to you, lazy and disrespectful? Couple and family therapist Bettina Brockmann gives tips on how to survive Puberät.

Status: 04/09/2019

“Puberty is actually a very interesting and lively phase,” says couple and family therapist Bettina Brockmann. During this time, parents get back everything they invested in their children. They can find out what has stuck with their children, what values ​​and skills the young people fall back on in this complicated phase and also whether the parents were good role models for their children. However, the answers to these questions are not easy to bear for all parents.

Tips from couple and family therapist Bettina Brockmann

Puberty not only confuses adolescents themselves, it also turns intact family life upside down. Mood swings, heated discussions, unpredictable reactions and rule violations cost the parents a lot of nerves. Bettina Brockmann gives three simple tips:

Child distinguishes itself? - Learn to let go

During puberty, adolescents must be allowed to try things out. Allow the young people this space, trust your child and let go. There is a big difference between patronizing and protecting.

Your child is growing up now, making its own rules. Nobody wants to be patronized. However, it is very important for the young people to know that there is always someone there for them when they need help and support. Bettina Brockmann advises teenagers to get exactly this feeling. At a certain point, young people have to distance themselves from their parents, which is important for their development. Parents need to learn to let go.

Child is disrespectful? Set limits

“I see setting limits as a very valuable thing. In the sense of: I give my child a framework for his or her actions, ”explains Bettina Brockmann. This framework is very narrow for children. There are very clear rules and limits. The older the children get, the more their own skills grow. The framework has to loosen up. Nevertheless, adolescents in particular need clear boundaries during puberty. These can also be set up together. Bettina Brockmann's advice: Don't be afraid of the discussion and set fair boundaries with one another.

Child lies - Maintain open communication

Even if you feel like your children are withdrawing and isolating themselves, don't stop talking to your son or daughter. According to Bettina Brockmann, young people are fundamentally interested in being in contact with their parents. They just don't like the feeling of being questioned. So don't pester your children with questions, but invite them to a conversation.

This includes two things: Tell us about your own life and your worries and listen consciously. Show the teenagers that you really care about how they are doing. This also means that every now and then a discussion or even a dispute is started. "I think puberty has to bang. Confrontation is valuable, because only through conflict can an adult exchange arise. Demarcation is part of the successful development stage, ”says Bettina Brockmann.

"The goal should be for your children to say: My parents didn't want to control me, but they were there for me when I needed them!"

Bettina Brockmann, couple and family therapist

Puberty is chaos in the head

At some point the pituitary gland begins to send signals to our body. This then produces various sex and sex hormones. The boys grow beards, girls develop breasts, menstruation begins and the voice begins to break. This continues until estrogen predominates in girls and testosterone in boys. Young people then have to come to terms with this completely new body and also with the new body feeling. They have to accept that they look and be perceived as adults. Of course, that unsettles you. After all, you have to literally develop a new "self-confidence".

During puberty, not only does the hormonal balance change, but also the structure of the brain. The problem: not all parts of the brain develop at the same time. The brains of adolescents are more of a chaotic construction site at this time.

Puberty in boys and girls

Puberty is the transition from childhood to adulthood. Girls usually experience puberty between the ages of 10 and 18. Boys are generally 12 to 21 years old when they hit puberty.

The US psychiatrist Jay Giedd has been researching young people who are in the middle of puberty for many years. Among other things, he found out that during puberty, new connections are made between nerve cells and others disappear. According to his research, the moods and weaknesses of young people's decisions, but also their forgetfulness, can be traced back to this. In addition, he was able to determine that teenagers' emotions are processed in a completely different brain region than that of adults.

In several, similarly structured studies, adolescents and adults were shown various portrait photos. The test persons should assign the emotions in the pictures (angry, sad or funny) to the respective facial expressions. Meanwhile, the working brain was observed. The result: the “amygdala” area is active in young people. This is a region of the brain in which decisions are made more emotionally and spontaneously. In adults, the same process took place in the frontal cortex, a superordinate unit. Scientists conclude from the test that adolescents are often unable to classify emotions correctly and therefore react unpredictably.

For adolescents in puberty, this building site in the brain is often a problem, because there are so many emotions that you have to deal with in this phase of life: the first great love, your own self-esteem or real crises of meaning.