Understanding the Adolescent Brain

We hope you find the time to watch this insightful webinar! 

This webinar will be perfect for teachers, counselors, administrators or anyone who works with, or has adolescents and/or teens. Dr. Walsh is a gifted story teller and will share his research based knowledge and advice for having healthy conversations and will share strategies for working through challenges presented by this age group.!

The Teen Scene: Understanding What Teens Are Thinking & Doing...And Why.

Below are the presentation slides. We hope these will help you in working with and understanding amazing adolescents!

We would be remiss if we didn't call-out Dr. Walsh's sage advice that he refers to as "Words of Honey":

honey.png"The last words you should say to someone should be sweet and they should stick.
Even though they may not appear to be, teenagers are listening."


Questions and Answers from the Webinar:

stressed-teen.jpgWe received an abundance of amazing questions during the webinar. We wanted to make sure we addressed all the applicable questions and shared them with you. 

Q: I feel like teenagers get a bad wrap. I’m a high school teacher and I find them interesting and smart beyond their years—sometimes I feel bad for them because it seems like people—and even their own parents—are afraid of them! Any suggestions?

A:  Create connections. Keep in mind the communication strategies Dr. Walsh discussed:

  • “I” messages
  • Avoid generalizations
  • One topic at a time
  • Open questioning
  • Don’t attack
  • Listen, listen, listen!

Q: The phones - I can’t take it anymore! In my classroom, I insist on them turning off their phones or putting them in a basket on my desk—but they are on their phones constantly—what should I do?

A: Create phone/media free zones - for example: the dinner table and bedrooms could be good places to start. Try to encourage what Dr. Walsh termed "digital discipline" and encourage and emphasize the importance of face-to-face and interpersonal skills such as eye contact during conversation and how to shake hands. 

Q: Curious about suicide and teens…do you know if there is any relationship between suicide and brain development? 

A:    Yes, Dr. Walsh discussed impulsivity, the inability to assess risk, think ahead, and consider consequences - these are all controlled by the prefrontal cortex which is not fully developed until the mid 20's. 

Q: Dr Walsh, thank you for taking the time to be a part of this webinar! I’ve found the information interesting and helpful! But, now I’m wondering about the students I work with who have been labeled At Risk. So many of their parents are not involved in their lives and sometimes I don’t know what to do—they seem kind of lost…?

A:  This is a difficult one, and can put a lot of pressure on teachers. Again, it comes down to connection. Research tells us that children need one caring adult in their lives. Look for opportunities to engage and connect in the classroom, and encourage students to become involved in something that is meaningful to them. 

Q: What are some strategies we (teachers) can use to ensure we are connecting with our students?

A:  Set expectations, exude compassion, encourage autonomy and resourcefulness, focus on optimism.  Remember connection is key--and listening is essential. 

Q: Talking w/ teens about things like sex and drinking is difficult for me. How do I approach these subjects? 

A:  Do know, it is difficult for everyone. However, statistics show that countries with the lowest rates of teen pregnancy and STD's, deal with sex more openly. In referencing the book, "Why Do They Act That Way," Dr. Walsh lists 12 strategies:

  • Get motivated
  • Get educated
  • Get comfortable
  • Make it an ongoing conversation
  • Don't try to cover to much in any one discussion
  • Choose appropriate times when you and your teen have privacy and are not rushed
  • Discuss sexuality, not just sex
  • Discuss dating
  • Don't preach
  • Make it a dialogue
  • Multiple messages are okay
  • Share your values

Looking for More?

stressed-teen.jpgIf this topic has sparked an interest in you, or you simply want to learn more about the Adolescents and their magical brain development, let us suggest a few resources and courses that may be of interest:

Course 693: Fully Wired: Understanding and Empowering Adolescents
This course will explore the various changes occurring in the brains of adolescents, and show teachers how to understand, communicate, and stay connected with these students. With the arsenal of strategies discussed in this course, teachers can help their students learn to control impulses, manage erratic behavior, and cope with their changing bodies. 3 graduate credits

Blog Post: Teaching Kids Empathy

Blog Post: Teaching Students to Embrace Mistakes

Blog Post: How to Understand & Empower Teens

Explore All Courses

Done watching? Download your Certificate of Completion!