Ep 24: Adolescent Neuroscience

Ep 24: Adolescent Neuroscience

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Episode Summary

Lucy Maddox, author of Blueprint: How Childhood Makes Us Who We Are, discusses the fascinating science of why social experiences are also heightened during the teenage years. In this episode she reveals what you should teach your teen about friendships and relationships.

Full Show Notes

If you ask someone to name their favorite musical artist, top three foods, even just a good memory from the past, they will tend to come up with examples from their teenage years. Why are teenage memories so vivid, and what does this mean?

This week, I spoke with Lucy Maddox, child psychologist, researcher, and author of the new book Blueprint: How Our Childhood Makes Us Who We Are.

She explains that, when we look back later on, teenage memories can seem bigger than others because we often try many things for the first time during the teenage years and our first experience with something can be very heightened.

Of course, social experiences are also heightened during the teenage years. Lucy reveals what you should teach your teen about friendships and relationships.

That’s the subject of this week’s episode.

The 22-minute public version is free to listen to, and the 36-minute extended version, packed with extra goodies, is reserved for site members. Log in or sign up to access everything our site has to offer!

Parenting Scripts

Word-for-word examples of WHAT to say to your teen

1. When your teen wants to break the rules, affirm their autonomy but hold firm:

“Sure, you can use your phone whenever you want. As soon as your room is clean, like we agreed. You’re 14 now so I can’t physically force you to do anything but those are the rules. As an adult I don’t have to go to work. But if I don’t, there will be consequences. So I’m going to treat you like an adult and leave the final decision up to you.”

-Lucy Maddox

2.  When your teen is worrying about something they have to do:

(Members Only)

Workbook Exercises

Step-by-step guides for applying the ideas from this interview

1.  Walk Your Teen Through Big Decisions:

For important or difficult decisions, Lucy recommended writing down the short-term and long-term pros and cons of the decision with your teenager and then leaving the final choice up to them. This approach is brilliant because the teenage brain is naturally wired to focus on short-term consequences and ignore long-term ones. This decision-making setup helps your teen get in the habit of consciously considering the long-term effects of every important decision they make. To get yourself some practice with this before you try to do it with your teen, use a blank sheet of paper to map out the short and long-term pros and cons for a decision you are currently struggling with in your own life.

2.  Find the “Why” to Get Your Teen to Stop:

(Members Only)

About Lucy Maddox

A consultant clinical psychologist, lecturer, and writer, Lucy has lectured and developed content for a range of universities on topics like adolescence, psychological interventions for self-harm, psychosis, compassion fatigue in the helping professions, neuroimaging in the media, and a variety of other topics.

Lucy has always been interested in science communication and she enjoys writing about science for the general public. She has written for a range of publications including The GuardianProspectMosaic, and Science magazine. She blogs as Psychology Magpie and for Huffington Post. Her book, Blueprint: How Our Childhood Makes Us Who We Are, was released in March 2018.

Find Lucy on Twitter.