"It never hurts to see the good in someone. They often act the better because of it.
Nelson Mandela's words speak volumes when I think about raising my teenage son. All too often, I hear parents -- myself included -- say of our adolescents:
"I wish he weren't so lazy."
"She's completely self-absorbed."
"He/She is (immature/ unfocused/ apathetic/ rebellious/ disrespectful/ aloof)."
My son, spotting a parenting book called Yes, Your Teen is Crazy! (in my opinion a useful read with an unfortunate title) on my bedside table, looked crestfallen.
"That's exactly the problem," he said. "It's like you adults are at war with us."
This negativism is not only disrespectful towards our adolescents but is also disempowering, said Dr. Daniel Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, at a recent talk at the New York Insight Meditation Center
In his new book, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, Dr. Siegel argues that adolescence -- a developmental stage that actually spans from 12 to 24 years of age -- is a critical time for us to find ways to support their growing emotional intensity, drive for novelty, sense of creativity and need for social engagement.
As an interpersonal neurobiologist and co-director of the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center, Dr. Siegel offers scientifically proven ways to help teens strengthen their brains and their relationships while still offering them structure in their lives.
Imagine the U.S. Department of Agriculture My Plate, designed to help Americans achieve a healthy and balanced diet. Now imagine a Healthy Mind Platter, offering seven "inside-out" activities to promote optimal brain matter and create well-being. Dr. Siegel and his colleague David Rock say these practices belong not only in every adolescent's schedule, but in every adult's as well.