What you need to know

During the teenage years (aged 11-19 approximately) there is a huge amount of growing and changing going on inside your brain.

Connections are being made between different brain parts, slowly and over time. This can affect the way you think about things, your impulses, your likes and your dislikes.

  • Taking more risks
  • Swinging between needing to be independent and wanting to be looked after
  • Finding it hard to understand and care about others’ problems (lack of empathy)
  • Finding it hard to think ahead and think through the consequences of your actions
  • Having intense mood changes and struggling to deal with them
  • Finding it hard when people leave you out of social plans.

  • Keep up a wide range of activities, this can help the front of your brain develop and make managing emotions easier over time
  • Try to keep up good sleep and daytime routines
  • Try to go a little easy on yourself, these changes are hard
  • Exercise is super helpful for managing emotion.

  • Supporting you to recognise that these behaviours are confusing but all part of normal development
  • Taking time to listen to you and share ideas about how to deal with emotional ups and downs calmly
  • Not reacting to you with big emotions (like anger) which can add fuel to the fire
  • Encouraging good routines and a diverse range of activities.

Learning to recognise, speak about and manage feelings is an important part of social development in children and young people. Learning to identify your own emotions and the emotions of others is the starting point for then learning how to regulate (or take care of) stronger emotions when they pop up.

Learning how to regulate emotions will help you to feel confident in yourself and will make your relationships with others better.

Strong emotions that can easily feel overwhelming. Emotions such as anger, excitability, worry, sadness and disgust are all strong, negative emotions that everyone has. Trying to push these away isn’t helpful since they all tell us something and can at times be helpful for us. Knowing how to keep them in balance though is useful so they don’t take over and make you (or others around you) feel bad.