Recently, I came across two notable articles (links located at the end of post) focusing on the adolescent mind. I feel the conjunction of these viewpoints presents an interesting and rather thorough depiction into the lives of the adolescent. These articles highlight two distinctions common to this age group: adaptability and vulnerability. To balance, self-care is addressed to help support adolescents through a significant time of personal and professional growth.
The first, from National Geographic addresses a new way of looking at the adolescent years in a more positive light – called the adaptive-adolescent view. According to this view, adolescence is a distinct period characterized by an influx of sensation seeking, risky behaviors, and social networking. This new way of looking at the teenage years describes these characteristics as beneficial in adapting to the transitional phase of preparing for autonomy.
Adolescence is a time where teenagers are creating themselves. Self exploration is what every fiber of their being is longing to experience. Sensation seeking provides teens with the gumption to move out from underneath their parent’s roof and maneuver through challenging situations. When considering employment options, adolescents may tend to take more risks and seek novelty career paths that bring interpersonal satisfaction and contentment. The desire to spend time with same aged peers and develop a core of social supports increases the teen’s adaptability. Thus, experiential learning is monumental for adolescents to create and explore their individuality.
On the other end of the spectrum, over indulgence can lead to damaging results. There is a fine line between allowing adolescents the space for socialization and knowing when enough is enough. For example, the second article highlights teens’ increased health risks associated with texting. Over-involvement in peer interaction may confuse teens about learning what makes them tick. There needs to be a healthy balance in the relations with others and the time spent developing personal core values and belief system.
Transforming adolescents’ passionate qualities into a more balanced lifestyle is crucial for them to reign in their creative endeavors. To ensure a balanced lifestyle, attention to sleep hygiene, diet, and exercise is essential. Teens may also benefit from yoga as a way to maintain clarity in such a tumultuous period of their life. By teaching teens to slow down and spend time with their creative side, they can learn to capitalize on such a pivotal time in their life.