Teen Behavior: Looking at It Holistically

One of Lakeside’s Institute for Professional Training and Development core training images for understanding behavior –or really what is behind it– is our Iceberg illustration.

Lakeside's IPED Iceberg Analogy
What's really behind one's behavior

If we use the image of the iceberg that we would see in the Arctic regions of the world, we would typically see only what is above the water line.  However, in reality there is a huge infrastructure that supports that tip of the iceberg to give it is substance.  As we realize the reality of the infrastructure we have a greater understanding of why the tip is as strong and visible as it is.

The Iceberg Analogy: Understanding Behavior

When we look at some of the specifics of of a teenager’s behavior, and take it at face value (like the tip of the iceberg), we often make judgments on the behavior that is “just above the surface” of  what we need to know in order to understand the behavior in its entirety.

We interview hundreds of students at Lakeside each year who have been identified as having all kinds of problems.  In almost every case, what is seen as behavioral issues have multi-dimensional underpinnings that when discovered allow us to gain clarity on why that behavior exists. That is, there are relational and emotional components that lie under the surface of any behavior which contributes to how we understand teenagers.

It is also so important to understand that there are different aspects of a personality that make up the behaviors we are witnessing.  Particularly in the teenage years, there are a host of complex changes occurring at almost every level of development.  Adolescent development involves the intellectual, physical, psychological, social and moral and ethical aspects of their lives.

In my next blogs we will be looking at some of the changing developmental realities of teenagers by age.  For anyone who has a relationship with a teenager, this information is invaluable to understanding them holistically.

Gerry Vassar, President and CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

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