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Keeping up with a Growing Mind   

February 22, 2024

By Arielle Chung, Community Ambassador

“Look at life through the eyes of a child” reminds us to spark our creativity; it also reminds us that children see the world differently. Understanding the crucial stages of brain development helps us consider how to communicate better and connect with youth.     

1. Tween Transition (Ages 10-12):    

Welcome to the tween zone! Rapid cognitive, emotional, and social changes mark this period. As our kids transition from childhood to adolescence, they form their identities and test the waters of independence. For example, your tween might start questioning the reasons behind rules and decisions.      

Scene: During dinner, tween, 10, frowned at the no-TV-before-homework rule. “But why?” tween asked. “I can multitask.” Parents understand that when tweens comprehend the reasons behind rules, greater cooperation often follows. “It helps you focus solely on your homework,” the parent explained, “Hey, let’s work together to make an excellent planner that fits you perfectly! It’ll help you organize your homework and TV time just the way you like. “.     

Communication Strategy: Foster open dialogue by encouraging curiosity and respecting their opinions. When discussing rules or decisions, offer explanations and engage them in brainstorming solutions together. Encourage them to freely express their thoughts and feelings and listen with an open heart.   

2. Teenage Turmoil (Ages 13-19):    

Welcome to the teenage whirlwind! During this period, the brain undergoes significant changes, particularly in decision-making, risk-taking, and emotional regulation. Your teenager might struggle with peer pressure or manage their emotions effectively.    

Scene: A 15-year-old comes home from school looking upset. “Hey, what’s going on? You seem upset.” The parent asks. “Had a fight with friends. Can’t handle the drama.” the teenager said. “Arguments are tough. Want to talk about it?” Parent asked. “I don’t even know where to begin.” Teenager said. “It’s okay to step back. Let’s do something you enjoy to relax and do something fun,” Parent said.       

Communication Strategy: Practice active listening and empathy. Create a safe space for your teen to express their feelings without fear of judgment. Share your experiences to validate their emotions and offer guidance without being overbearing.    

3. Young Adulthood (Ages 20-29):    

As children transition into young adulthood, they face many challenges and opportunities. Our role now shifts to that of a trusted advisor. Offer guidance when asked, but allow them to make their own mistakes and learn from them. This period is characterized by increased autonomy and responsibility.    

Scene: The 20-year-old preparing for his first full-time job is frustrated by job-searching challenges. “I’m lost on how to find a job. Any advice?” Young Adult asked. “Sure, Let’s discuss your interests and skills. Then, explore job options together.” Parent said. “I’m looking for meaningful work.” Young Adult said. “Great! CharityVillage is a site for nonprofit professionals. Begin your search and applications by category. Mistakes are part of learning. I’m here to support you. “The parent said.     

Communication Strategy: Support their independence while staying connected. Offer guidance and encouragement as they make important life decisions. Maintain open lines of communication and be willing to adapt your approach as they continue to grow.    

Each child is different, and there’s no universal way to parent. By grasping the crucial stages of brain development from ages 10 to 29 and using effective communication, we can build strong bonds with our children through their teenage years and beyond. If you need assistance finding resources or assessing your needs, please get in touch with us at or visit the family wellbeing program page here.   


“Understanding Child Psychology for Better Upbringing” 

Author: Gaurav Garg 

Publisher: Draft2Digital 

Published Date: 2023 

“Emotional Development from Infancy to Adolescence: Pathways to Emotional Competence and Emotional Problems” 

Author: Dale F. Hay 

Publisher: Routledge 

Published Date: 2019 

“Early Adulthood in a Family Context” 

Editors: Alan Booth, Susan L. Brown, Nancy S. Landale, Wendy D. Manning, Susan M. McHale 

Publisher: Springer 

Published Date: 2011