On 14th May, Humanistic Integrative Psychotherapist and Accredited Member of the BACP (British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy), Alicia Drummond, spoke to students, staff and parents about being a teenager and offered valuable parenting techniques from her book, ‘Why Every Teenager Needs a Parrot’.
As well as being a councillor and psychotherapist, Alicia has worked in 90 schools, helping students from Year 6, right the way through until Upper Sixth.
During the seminar, Alicia looked at the change teenagers go through, from being dependent on parents to becoming an independent adult. Puberty can be a very confusing time for a teenager and Alicia spoke of how physical appearance and feelings and emotions will become much bigger issues at this age.
Alicia spoke of the importance of making good decisions and keeping a positive outlook at this time to ensure that it’s healthy choices that are hardwired into the brain at this early stage.
Through adolescence, the bonds between parent and child will change and these strong bonds will start to be pulled apart to enable the move from child to adult. It’s at this stage that friendship groups will start to become more important and teenagers will start to go to their friends for social and emotional support. Alicia pointed out that peer pressure can often be seen as a very negative thing, however, it can have a positive effect, in terms of encouragement, as long as teenagers can identify when it’s positive encouragement and to only act when it’s something they are happy to do.
Alicia looked at the different sections of the brain, and what job that particular section does, to explain the mindset of teenagers. With research showing that the human brain is only fully-formed at the age of 25, or even 29, based on new research coming through, it’s during the years of adolescence when we really need to understand how the teenage brain is changing and what the best ways of communicating are to ensure the important messages can be fully understood.
Alicia’s seminars were informative, insightful and educational, with many parents who attended discovering helpful tips when communicating with their teenage children. The talk received extremely positive feedback, with one parent commenting,
“I can’t tell you how much I learned, and realised that there is a different way around communicating than ‘you can’t do this that or the other’. I found the speaker enlightening and entertaining, and wish and hope that you can get her back to teach us more - very soon! I feel she has touched the tip of the iceberg and we could all be much better parents for some more enlightenment!”
Alicia’s talk was part of our Parent Seminar Programme which has seen experts in their field visit to speak to students, staff and parents. Speakers have included actor, comedian, author, presenter, historian and political activist, Sir Tony Robinson, author of ‘Digitox’, Mark Ellis and e-safety expert, Karl Hopwood. Our next talk is on Thursday 14th June and will be given by our wonderful School Nurse, Deb Rennie, who will speak about emotional well-being.