Do you remember the day your first child was born?

If you are like me, you can remember the occasion as if it were just yesterday. For all parents, it is one of those life-defining moments that stays with you forever. You look down at your brand-new bundle of joy and see a beautiful, helpless person; a tiny human who is completely and utterly dependent upon you for everything. Your heart is bursting with joy, pride and love, and you think it would be impossible to love anyone more than you love your beautiful little baby. Could you ever be any happier than this?

Fast-forward 13 years. 

Your tiny bundle of joy is now a moody, defiant teenager! Perhaps they won’t listen to you anymore, or they always seem to challenge what you say. Or, perhaps you find out they’ve been lying to you, or that they don’t seem to care about the things that you think are really important.

You think to yourself, “Where has my compliant child gone?” and, “What have I done wrong to deserve this?”

After yet another fight, where you just can’t seem to get through to them, you are tempted to give in and give up; “Anything for a bit of peace!”

If this experience seems familiar, you are in good company. In fact, many parents (like me) will be reading this with a wry grin on their face, saying, “Oh, I remember those days!”

An increase in challenging behaviour, arguments and tears is all ‘par for the course’ in parenting teenagers. It’s a very normal part of adolescent development for young people to challenge their parent’s authority and to push the boundaries. It’s all a result of the complex and rapid changes occurring within their body, and the restructuring which is occurring in their brain at this age. 

Over the past 20 years, neuroscientists have studied the changes in the adolescent brain and have found that the nerve connections to their prefrontal cortex (the executive decision-making and behaviour modifying part of the brain) are greatly diminished during this time. This means that teenagers are much more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviour, and they are far more likely to make poor decisions. Add to this, the rapid increase of mood-altering hormones that begins to flow around their body, and you’ve got a perfect storm called the ‘moody teenager!’

The good news is that somewhere around the age of 18 to 20 years old, the nerve connections to their prefrontal cortex grow back more numerous than before puberty. After some time, their hormone levels stabilise and your teenager becomes human again!

Another piece of good news is that we (i.e. the school’s staff) are here to help! One of the difficulties we face as leaders and teachers is when parents come to us when things are at ‘crisis point’ with their teenager. At this point, patterns of negative behaviour have been established and bad habits have been formed. We strongly encourage you to contact our school staff as early as you can, so we can work together in partnership for the good of your child. 

We have many staff members who are available for you or your child to speak with:

In Primary School:

  • Your child’s Class Teacher
  • Sharaine Talip (Head of Primary School)
  • Soraya Fisher (School Counsellor)

In High School:

  • Your child’s Class teacher
  • Kirstie Brass (Year 5-12 Welfare Coordinator)
  • Kelly Armstrong (Deputy Principal)
  • Soraya Fisher (School Counsellor)

Of course, I am also more than willing to do what I can to help. Having had four children go through their teens myself, I can empathise with you! Please remember we are here to help, and no issue is too small (or too silly) for you to raise. 

Please also remember that our next Morning Tea with the Principal topic is ‘Teenagers, Drugs and Alcohol’, and it will be held at 9.00am on Wednesday 8 June 2022.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Mr. Geoffrey Fouracre – Principal