Some of our most difficult developmental moments are in the teenage years. This is a time when the brain is rewiring, hormones are changing, and the impact of peers become extremely prominent. Often, this is a time where there’s bullying, social media struggles, and life changes that are tumultuous.
Unlocking Emotional Understanding
Our teenagers often have emotional reactions to all they’re facing, which may be confusing to them. These unpredictable emotions may be surfaced at home or at school. Sometimes, behavioral problems accompany these emotions, which can be destructive to the relationships that matter most.
I remember a seminar we put on with kindergarten teachers many years ago. One of our Program Directors, Diane Wagenhals, co-led with Dr. Bruce Perry, who was speaking to a large group of kindergarten teachers. Ms. Wagenhals had been teaching kindergarten students about the basics of their brain and what parts had impact to their emotions and behaviors.
In the seminar, we had the children describe how their brain worked in terms they understood. Everyone in the room was amazed at the depth of understanding they had and were able to articulate. Even children can understand their neuroscience as it relates to what they experience emotionally.
Teaching Teens about Their Brain
Since most of our students at Lakeside are in their teenage years, we recognized that they too needed to be educated about how their brains functioned and what behaviors can result. For this reason, Kathy Van Horn, Executive Vice President of Lakeside, authored our Neurologic® curriculum.
It’s a curriculum that teachers (and parents) can use to help students understand their neurological processes in language they can understand. It’s accompanied by a workbook as a parallel companion to the Neurologic® curriculum, where teenagers can journal their discoveries about their own brain.
We have found that informed teenagers can find ways to regulate their unpredictable emotions and come to an emotional place where they can find calm to their erratic emotions and behavior. Just like the kindergarten children, teenagers can explain what’s going on once they understand how their brain functions.
Building Emotional Resilience
We intended for this Neurologic® curriculum to be used to help students navigate their unpredictable emotions. It’s something that has been used in schools and other situations where students need this kind of understanding and support.
We can help our teenagers in some of their most difficult emotions and help them find calm in the midst of their emotional turmoil.