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The Reason Your Teen Doesn't Listen

Updated: May 23, 2022

Tired of endlessly telling your teen to clean their room? Or maybe it's taking out the trash or doing their homework. It seems that most teens struggle to hear their parents. A new study reveals why it may not be the reason you think it is.

According to a 2022 article found in the journal of neuroscience, the brain of an adolescent actually activates more to an unfamiliar voice compared to their own parents' voice. This is in direct contrast to what they observed in children who heard their mother's voice and their brain activated more than an unfamiliar voice.

Why is my teenager not listening? It just might be due to neurological changes to Teenage Timmy's brain. If you are a parent of a teen and it feels like your teen listens to quite literally anyone else's opinion, don't take it personally.

Teens are in a stage of development where risky behavior -- like moving out of their lifelong home -- is a "normal" milestone. Without changes in the brain and the turning to outside opinions, ideas, and voices, they might not muster up the strength and momentum to leave the house and succeed on their own.

So when you inevitably find yourself repeating directions to teenage Timmy not once, not twice, but 3 to 4 dozen times remember the following:

1. Have patience and give some grace. Their brain is literally working against them to listen to you.

2. Know that your teenager will likely benefit from positive outside voices (mentors, church leaders, teachers, etc.).

3. Expect that parenting during the teenage years you, the parents, will likely work harder at communicating/giving directions than during the preteen and child years.

*3.5* Bonus Tip - Remember to celebrate yourselves as parents of a teen or multiple teens! It can be a fun, wild, bumpy, exhausting, and exhilarating ride. Have some fun with your significant other while you are at it.

If you need more than tips, and some 1-on-1 encouragement sounds like a huge relief, schedule a FREE COUNSELING SESSION with a counselor in Northwest Arkansas today!

Jesse is a counselor for teens and adults in Northwest Arkansas. He is passionate about improving the mental health of the community and knows that it starts with one person at a time. He will meet you where you are at, and work at your pace to counsel you towards great mental health. He works with issues such as grief, depression, anxiety, self-harm, drug-use, low self-esteem, communication, and family issues.


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