Parents should stay informed about teen technology

Cinical psychologist Sarah O’Doherty to discuss parenting teenagers at Wicklow talk

Inform yourself about the technology your teenagers are using - it is part of your role as a parent, says clinical psychologist Sarah O’Doherty.

Inform yourself about the technology your teenagers are using - it is part of your role as a parent, says clinical psychologist Sarah O’Doherty.

Fri, Oct 4, 2013, 14:22

Inform yourself about the technology your teenagers are using - it is part of your role as a parent. That’s the advice of clinical psychologist Sarah O’Doherty who says that the reason teenagers act as they do is because their brains are different.

She explains how research has shown that biological changes are taking place in teenagers’ brains, while they are growing. “Teenagers do not think things through,” she says, “ and their brains are not fully developed.

“Part of your role as a parent is to keep them safe.”

O’Doherty, who will be giving a talk on parenting teenagers next Wednesday evening in the Grand Hotel Wicklow, says this is why they are much more prone to taking risks which they do not see as risks in the first place.

O’Doherty says “huge structural changes are taking place in teenagers’ brains. Their brains are melted with all that’s going on.”

She says the issues which teenagers worry about and the issues of concern to parents are completely different.

“It is important to know what is going on in their world, to know about cyberbullying, technology changes, etc.”

It is about communicating, rather than lecturing, she says. And about keeping the lines of communication open at all times. “You have to change your style of parenting from when they were younger. It must be a two-way conversation.”

O’Doherty says parents instinctively switch into lecture mode when they see something wrong. Instead, they should watch their teenagers’ body language and pick their moments for conversations. “Teenagers often communicate in grunts and when they decide to talk it may not suit you,” she says, “but you should just go with it.”

She also advises that rather than directly confronting an issue, it sometimes works better to talk around it, or for example, mention something similar that you read about in a newspaper.

Sarah O’Doherty, who is also gives teenagers advice through her column in Kiss Magazine, will be giving the talk at 7 pm in the Grand Hotel next Wednesday, October 9th. Admission is free. To book a place contact Niamh O’Keeffe, WHPR on 01- 6690299 or email: niamh.okeeffe@ogilvy.com