How to deal with your adolescent…BTW: you are not alone

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Do you have one of those mysterious creatures living in your household? The oft-misunderstood adolescent that has parents sometimes wondering: “Who replaced my sweet child with this strange kid?”

A free workshop presented by Rachel Wigglesworth of Growing Great Families will take place tomorrow at the Teton County Library. It should offer a great opportunity for parents of middle school- and high school-age teenagers to learn skillful and effective ways to build stronger relationships.

Maybe the first thing to remember is your teenager is probably not the first of his or her kind. Not by a longshot.

Teenagers: Still surly after all these years.

A recent discovery making the rounds on social media shows the reconstructed face of a female believed to be aged between 15 to 18 based on an analysis of her bones and teeth. The young woman was discovered in 1993 in Theopetra Cave, in the Thessaly region of Greece. She has been named Avgi (Greek for Dawn), because she lived during what is considered to be the dawn of civilization.

The scowling expression of Dawn is attributed by scientists to be a protruding jaw caused by chewing on animal skin to make it into soft leather—a common practice among people of that era. Many parents, however, of one of the modern-day versions of this 9,000-year-old Mesolithic period teenaged girl will recognize the look as the type they get all the time, even today.

When asked why she looked so angry, even orthodontics professor Manolis Papagrikorakis, who created the silicone reconstruction of her face from a terracotta mold of her head, had to joke: “It’s not possible for her not to be angry during such an era.”

So, you see, mom and dad, your kid has been acting like this since the beginning of time. How about joining Wigglesworth and other parents to discuss developmental relationships, and how to best engage with adolescents during times when their behaviors and reactions seem challenging.

During this interactive workshop, participants will discuss discipline and relationship strategies that are drawn from brain science and research-backed ideas of what adolescents need and what we as parents need in order to respond calmly to our kids, set important limits, and teach them the skills they need to become thriving adults.

According to Wigglesworth, research shows that strong relationships lead to positive outcomes for young people. Youth who experience developmental relationships get better grades, have higher aspirations for the future, and are more engaged and motivated in their academics. These types of relationships with parents, peers, coaches, or other caring adults can also help youth attain psychological and social skills, and character strengths essential for life when they leave the home.

“It’s all about the Relationship!” Thursday, February 8, 6-8pm in the Youth Auditorium at the Library.