2 Jul 2015

Why punishing teenagers won't work

From Nine To Noon, 11:24 am on 2 July 2015

Pouty male teen crop PD

They talk back, roll their eyes and refuse to get out of bed in the morning… that unique species known as the teenager.

So what are the best ways to deal with kids who were previously even tempered, but almost overnight have become moody and defiant?

Nathan Mikaere Wallis of  the Brain Wave Trust, and X Factor Education joins Kathryn Ryan with some tips and answers some audience questions.

He says at about 12 years of age, the intelligent part of a child's brain, the frontal cortex that controls their emotions, effectively shuts down for renovations.

He says it is vital to avoid getting into an argument with your child, when they initiate it.

Whatever part of the brain you exercise is the part that grows. So if you’re punishing them and getting into conflict with them, arguing with them and having big emotional scenes, you are exercising the emotional brain, and it doesn't need your help. It's already in charge. 

Nathan Mikaere Wallis is an expert on brain development, language and communication and risk and resilience.