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How To Outwit Your Teenager

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Mood Swings? Whatever!

August 13th, 2009 · No Comments

I caught the ‘moods’ episode of Whatever! The Science Of Teens on the ABC tonight. There was a huge emphasis on depression and its causes.

We all know that teenagers experience vast mood swings (and due to proximity, we do too), but I had no idea that psychologists consider the ‘downs’ to be as important to a teen’s life learnings as the ‘highs’. The thinking is that if a teenager doesn’t suffer those feelings of helplessness then they won’t learn how to lift themselves out of it.

Although that makes perfect sense when it comes to reasonable people, it can be extremely worrying for most parents when it happens to their largely unreasonable teen.

Teenagers that “ruminate” are apparently the greatest candidates for depression. This is one of the reasons that twice as many girls than boys get depressed. Girls tend to go over the same ground, dissecting every detail of a troubling event, working it over and over again in their minds. The resulting effect can be a dangerous downward spiral.

The single most troubling event that is believed to lead to depression is a broken relationship. Again this is largely why depression hits girls harder than their male peers. Boys are still doing the dumping, largely unexplained. Girls are still workshopping the agonising what-might-have-beens. It’s been that way for generations.

My teenage son is yet to experience heartache and with a bit of luck he will be through high school and out of the precarious teen years before he does. Another big tick for our decision to send him to a boys’ school.

Tags: Depression · Education · Media · Relationships

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