• Alex Jarvis

What Adolescents Really Need?

Recently, we’ve talked about the proverbial “limbo stage” in a person’s life called adolescence. This transitional, but hugely pivotal, phase brings with it major changes: biological, psychological, social, cognitive, spiritual, and moral. We’ve also understood that dysfunctional habits and diseases in adulthood find its beginnings in adolescence –which stem from patterns of behaviors. Here’s a short clip to help us better understand “The Adolescent Brain.”

Despite the immense challenge that adolescence brings about, the youth actually have intrinsic strengths. There are protective factors that help them go through this transition:

1) Meaningful connections to a non-parent adult and 2) faith. Any person at any given stage of life is hard-wired to connect to people and to spiritual meaning.

Dr. Charisse Nixon, in “What adolescents need to thrive”, explains that the adolescents are typically: Struggling with perspective-taking; Consumed with self; More isolated & alone (loneliness is prevalent during this time); Consumed with negativity; In a time of loss (as they aren’t kids anymore and not adults either); Struggling with identity (“who am I?” is right there glaring at their face); and Experiencing BRAIN issues (biologically, their brain is re-structured during this period). Plus, all these beg the question: is our culture promoting relationships/meaningful connections?

Sadly, when we look around, we’re actually plugging MORE into electronics and not to people. The emphasis in our culture is: looking good, being accepted, and consumerism (the more you have the better). The fact is, it takes practice to form connections, to resolve conflicts, and to interact with each other.

So there are 4 gems that are essentially protective factors for a teen’s survival:

  1. EMPATHY (precursor to acceptance),

  2. GRATITUDE (predictor of overall health & happiness in adulthood),

  3. FORGIVENESS (gives one a sense of control whereby it reduces anger & increases perspective-taking), and

  4. HUMILITY (promotes acceptance of others).

These 4 gems, Dr. Nixon concludes, change our focus from ME to WE and “they change our hearts.”

Teen mental health expert and professional counselor, Roy Petitfils, in “What Teenagers Want You to Know” supports Dr. Nixon conclusion that meaningful connections/relationships are what protects the teens in this difficult transition.

If you know a teen/young adult who’s struggling, please contact us. Jarvis Hypnotherapy has the expertise and experience in helping the youth.