Parenting Adolescents: Tips to Navigate the Most Challenging Age - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1801 Words
Date:  2023-01-04


Parenting is one of the most challenging tasks anyone can take up; the task is especially difficult for those who have kids in the adolescent stage of life because of the many changes that come with the age bracket. The step is one of the most challenging ones for any child and therefore, parents need to be aware of the various changes taking place to best support their children to develop in acceptable ways. When the parents of adolescents know the right information concerning the age bracket that their children are in, they will then be able to protect and guide them in the appropriate ways that will ensure the successful growth (Berg-Weger, 2019).

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The literature review aims to explore the developmental brain changes that occur during adolescence and the needs of the children going through this stage. The focus is on providing holistic support from parents, caregivers and other pertinent players who will ensure that the adolescents have successful outcomes at the end of their stage. The literature review will provide information from recent studies on adolescents who participated in the research on various factors that include delivering insight to the values, needs and beliefs of children in the age bracket of adolescents. Many of the findings discussed in this literature review provide feedback on the importance of the brain role and function in being central to the development of an adolescent. The other significant findings are that genetic, environmental and social experiences have a considerable influence on the neural brain development of an adolescent and therefore, are essential in understanding the behavior of adolescents and consequently, getting the right information in how to guide them. It also provides information on some common misconceptions that hinder the development of adolescents. One of these common misconceptions is that problematic, challenging adolescent behavior and increased risk-taking on the part of most adolescents is due to a release in hormones. One can, however, thwart the mistake due to the technological advancements that have made it possible for doctors to conduct scientific studies on the roles of the brain in functioning, adaptability and the various changes that come with being an adolescent. Some of the topics captured in this literature review include; the multiple influences on adolescents' development, focus on the parent-adolescent relationship, brain function and the various influences on adolescents' development and how social practitioners can support parents by providing the necessary information that will enable adolescents to develop well.


Many scholars and practitioners in the field of social work understand adolescence to be a time in human development where the body of the subject experiences changes in brain function, physical appearance, hormonal, emotional and social development which is crucial to the transition from childhood to adulthood. The changes that a person experience are critical to ensuring that they equip them to the needs and demands of adulthood; as such, it is integral to the adequate functioning of a person. The age bracket of adolescence is, however, relative for various people, and hence, there is no set age to determine when a child will begin and complete puberty (Wright, 2012). However, most scholars widely agree that youth starts around the ages of 8-10 and ends around the mid-20s of most people (Nobilo, 2018).

One of the significant developmental changes that occur during adolescence happens within the brain due to an increase in neuroplasticity. Most of these changes taking place in the mind influence the behavior of adolescents as the brain responses to the experiences that the subject undergoes and the subsequent adaptations that they respond about the environment around them. As such, it is especially vital for parents of adolescents to understand these changes and subsequently support a healthy transformation from childhood to adulthood. Parental support is especially important during adolescence as it defines how the adolescent will turn out on completion of the stage. The parents of the subject should primarily help the adolescent to create and develop attractive traits as the brain adapts and creates memories that last for a considerable part of adult life. The changes in the body of an adolescent can promote conflicts and distress straining relationships with parents (Hadiwijaya et al., 2017). As such, research on dyadic relationships and attachment theories would help gain insight into the significant factors for parents and other practitioners in the field of social work. Parents should especially understand these changes to ensure that they create and maintain the appropriate relationships with their adolescent children and consequently aid in their development into healthy and stable adults.The growing interest and awareness around brain development following recent scientific discoveries, has led to the identification of extensive changes in brain development that occur during adolescence (Wright, 2017). These large changes in brain development are due to the increase in neuroplasticity of neural tissues in the brain (Morris et al., 2018). The mind can form new connections in response to new experiences, and therefore, these new networks are responsible for the changes that adolescents display with regards to behavior and way of thinking. Neuroplasticity, the brain's ability to form new networks, has led to an alteration of most people's beliefs concerning the cause of changes in behavior, attitudes and perceptions of adolescents (Nobilo, 2018). It is now widely believed that these changes are no longer due to hormonal changes but mainly due to brain changes that are responsible for the changes mentioned in the preceding sentence. Wright (2017) found that adolescents may experience changes which can be challenging for them and their guardians. To this end, he believed that understanding the recent insights into adolescent development could assist guardian, social work practitioners and other adults when supporting their children to thrive (Wright, 2017).

Understanding human behavior and development is pertinent to social work as a profession because it promotes social development through the engagement of various people to address the life challenges of adolescents by providing empowerment and support to improve their quality of life. The literature review on adolescents and what the different players need to know to support the people in this age bracket is especially insightful in providing current research evidence on the matter. Social workers are especially at a better position to access this information and pass it on to the parents of adolescents as they are the ones who get informed data concerning the various improvements made in the field of study of adolescents and the appropriate changes that come with being in this age group. A survey conducted by Moretti (2012), provides social workers with informed evidence on researched topics concerning adolescents' development and therefore, presents an insightful understanding of human development during adolescence, addresses differences between age, gender, faiths and beliefs which are all critical to the core competencies of social work. An integration of this information into the practice of social work will contribute immensely to many practitioners in the field understanding the various concepts and consequently being able to support adolescents in their development. The information will also be integral in ensuring that these social work practitioners expand on their skills, theories, methods, tools and resources that are specific to cater to the needs of adolescents.

Brain Development

Parents need to equip themselves with the proper understanding and skills to ensure that they successfully maneuver the task of parenting. Infant brain development and parent-infant relationship have a linkage, and therefore, it is vital that parents understand that as their children grow, so should their bond and understanding of their children. The environment that a parent creates for their child influences how the child will turn out in future and especially during the adolescence stage where a lot of brain development occurs. The attachment that a parent creates with their child is also essential in ensuring that the future relationship of the two remains mutual and close. To this end, parents need to be aware that the task of parenting requires intense attention and sacrifice so that their child can successfully navigate the various stages on their way to being an adult. Some of the areas that parental attachment influence is the ability to form relationships, internalize concepts in school, become successful adults and to have good mental health (Anderson, 2015). It is therefore essential that parents create a conducive environment for the brain development of their children as this will have a significant influence on how they turn out in the future.

Morris et al. (2018), discovered that the brain changes rapidly during the adolescence stage and thus, secure family connections are essential in ensuring that the adolescent undergoes the appropriate changes in an environment that will ensure positive outcomes. Families that have a high and robust bond between parents and children will lead to the children having less stress when undergoing the various changes during this precarious stage of adolescence. Parents need to understand that adolescents experience many changes during this fragile stage and therefore, need to have the appropriate interventions in place to ensure that they successfully overcome the many challenges that they face. An understanding of the various changes that occur in the brain will enable the parents to be aware of the multiple factors that contribute to adolescents' emotional and cognitive control of their emotions. During the adolescent stage, the brain is ready to experience social relationships by interacting and integrating the various social influences that the subject faces during this time of unprecedented growth. Adolescents who live in adverse environments where they are prone to verbal and emotional abuse end up developing depressive symptoms as a result of altered brain emotion regulation. The implication of this is that the brain adapts to the environment that the subject grows up in and therefore, parents need to bring up their children in an environment that encourages positive brain development. Studies show that most adult psychiatric disorders begin during adolescence; therefore, it is of paramount importance to understand the mechanisms of brain development of adolescents during the various stages of growth (Anderson, 2015). Doing so will ensure that they develop appropriately and take up commendable traits that will see them becoming upright adults.

Another researcher conducted studies on brain development and found out that the frontal lobe of the brain is the one that develops rapidly during adolescence (Anderson, 2015). Genetics plays a crucial role in passing traits to the offspring, and although this is the case, most of these traits receive a significant influence from the environment. As mentioned earlier, the concept of neuroplasticity enables the brain to develop and internalize new memories which then inform the decisions of a person for the rest of their lives. The frontal lobe is responsible for a significant component of factors and traits that make up a person; it is the centre where learning, cognition and emotion take place. The brain increases during adolescence and the part that receives the most attention is the frontal lobe beca...

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Parenting Adolescents: Tips to Navigate the Most Challenging Age - Research Paper. (2023, Jan 04). Retrieved from

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