Episode 65

Published on:

26th Oct 2022

Brain Function from Toddler to Teen with Dr.Sarah Bren

Ever wonder why your teen behaves like a toddler sometimes? There are legit reasons why and it isn’t because they are trying to manipulate you. This is a vital conversation for every parent, from toddlers to teens, to listen to and gain perspectives on what is happening inside of their wacky, brilliant, and growing minds.

About the Guest:

Clinical Psychologist






Sarah Bren, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and mom of two, whose passion is helping parents find their inner confidence and raise healthy, resilient kids. Dr. Sarah is the host of the podcast Securely Attached, and the creator of the digital course The Authentic Parent: Finding Your Confidence in Parenthood. She is the co-founder of Upshur Bren Psychology Group in Pelham, NY where she treats parents, children, and families.


About the Host:

Nellie Harden is a wife of 20+ years, mom to 4 teen/tween daughters, dreamer, adventurer, servant, multipreneur, forever student, and a devoted teacher, but her career passion is her work as a Family Life & Leadership Coaching, especially for parents of young women ages 9-18yo. 

Coming from a career background in marine mammal sciences, behavioral work, and a host of big life experiences, both great and some not-so-great, she decided that designing a life of purpose and freedom was how she and her husband, along with their 4 daughters, wanted to live. 

Her work and passions exist in the realms of family and parent mentorship because she believes that a family filled with creativity, fun, laughter, challenge, adventure, problem-solving, hugs, good food, and learning can not only change a person’s life but is the best chance at positively changing the world. 

She helps parents eliminate power struggles so they can focus on building their daughter’s confidence, wisdom, and respect as young women before they ever leave home.

With a lifelong passion and curiosity in thought, choice, behavior, and growth she has found incredible joy in helping families shift perspective, find answers, and a path forward.


(Nellie has been coaching families for over 10 years and has degrees in Biology, Animal Behavior, and Psychology. ) 



Website- https://www.nellieharden.com

Online Community- https://www.facebook.com/groups/the6570project

Instagram- https://www.instagram.com/nellieharden/   

Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/nellie.harden/

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Nellie Harden:

Hello and welcome to the 6570 family project podcast. If you are a parent of a tween teen or somewhere on the way, this is exactly the place for you. This is the playground for parents who want to raise their kids with intention, strength and joy. Come and hear all the discussions, get all the tactics and have lots of laughs along the way. We will dive into the real challenges and raising kids today how to show up as parents and teach your kids how to show up as members of the family and individuals of the world. My name is Nellie Harden, big city girl turned small towns sipping iced tea on the front porch mama who loves igniting transformation in the hearts and minds of families by helping them build self love, discipline and leadership that elevates the family experience and sets the kids up with a rock solid foundation they can launch their life on all before they ever leave home. This is the 6570 family project. Let's go

Nellie Harden:

Hello, everyone. Welcome back to another episode of the 6570 family project podcast where we are putting aside the power struggles and finding the path to lead our young women toward the confidence, respect and wisdom they need to prepare them for the world. And today we have a very special guest on Dr. Sarah Bren. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, a mom of two, who are almost three and four years old. Her passion is helping parents find their inner confidence and raise healthy, resilient kids. And we are really going to dive into what resilience is, what it looks like and how to help them build that in this episode. Not only are we going to do that, we are going to draw the parallels of basic brain chemistry, which will help your understanding as a toddler or teen parent, understanding what is actually going on in those little amazing brains that they have, or not two little amazing brains that they have. She is the founder of the digital course the authentic parent finding your confidence in parenthood, and the co founder of Upshur Bryn psychology group in Pelham, New York where she treats parents children and families. I hope you can join me in welcoming Dr. Sarah Bryn. Okay, everyone, I am so excited to have Dr. Brand on here today. You guys. She is such a treasure. And you are going to love every word that she says. And we're going to just be pouring out some parenting gold today as we do here on the 6570 Family Project podcast. And I'm just so excited to have you with us. Dr. Bren,

Dr. Sarah Bren:

thank you so much for having me. I'm really glad to be here.

Nellie Harden:

Oh, thank you. Okay, well, I want to get into the nitty gritty of all of this. And it always starts with a story. So can you share with us? Just your story? How did you become a clinical psychologist that helps parents find their inner confidence, love that by the way, and raise healthy, resilient kids? How did you get to this place?

Dr. Sarah Bren:

Yeah, I mean, kind of indirectly. Like I was, I was, I mean, I always knew I was gonna be a psychologist, I went to graduate school for psychology. That was the plan, right? But my work as a psychologist really started out working with adults, I did a lot of work with adults with chronic childhood trauma, a lot of attachment, repair work, people who really struggled in adulthood to feel secure in themselves and in their relationships, very dysregulated experiences in life, you know, highly volatile. And I was doing a lot of work in that population, loving it, had kids started you know, hat started growing my family I had my son and my son went to a daycare in Manhattan that was right and formed which ry stands for resources for our i e resources for infant educators. It is a funny name, but it's like a parenting philosophy that I'm I've since become very enamored with. But ultimately the sort of core of rise that you know, we look at children at these whole individuals from birth with these, their own sort of needs and perspectives and, and a lot of the work that we do in that parenting philosophy is like supporting their sense of self and their secure relationship with the parent. And I was like, wow, this is so between right and just wanting to like knowing what I know about attachment security and wanting to create this really secure relationship with my children. I was like, wow, parenting and the way I've been approaching parenting kind of has similar threads. As to what I do in therapy with these individuals who have such severe attachment ruptures in their life and such insecure attachment patterns. And the repair work that we do is a lot has a lot of parallels to the, you know, parenting a person who doesn't have attachment struggles. And I was like, you know, it kind of clicked for me, I was like, if I could help parents understand these fundamental ways of, you know, the fundamental ideas behind secure attachment, how to develop resilient children, you know, how to support resiliency in child development, how to use the parent child relationship as the vehicle by which you parents, rather than, like all these behavioral manipulation strategies, like, then I would likely be helping parents to raise children who and they're 30 and 40, you might not need me as a therapist, I was like, let's like, and so I was just kind of like, I don't know, I just wanted to like kind of reverse engineer the work I was doing and start at the core, which I really feel like starts in home with families and helping families helping parents feel healthy. I also feel like there's so much parenting stuff out there that makes parents feel less healthy. Like increases shame increases anxiety. And I and as a therapist who treats adults and mothers and parents, I was like, I don't, I need to figure out a way to teach parents about child development. And, you know, attachment health, while also holding space for their mental health, right. And finding him bridging that gap because I that's a thing. That's a big gap that does I feel like exists in a lot of the parenting stuff out there. Because So yeah, that's kind of how I started and I started, you know, doing more parenting support and my therapy, I was working much with many more parents now I almost exclusively, not exclusively, I still feel quite arranged. But I see a lot of parents in my practice. And, and I have, like, corset like parent education courses on helping that like, just build that knowledge. So that's yeah, I pivoted, and I'm so glad I did.

Nellie Harden:

Yeah, I'm right there with you, I pivoted to and it was it was out of realizations in my own family and my entire life, I have learned and taught and learned and learned, you know, and that's where my all of my pivots have come from. But for all the listeners, I do have to say my voice is off because I lost my voice on rollercoasters with my girls this past weekend, so if you're like, oh, no, she's sick, I promise I'm not sick. I just screamed a lot, dropping 325 feet in the air.

Dr. Sarah Bren:

So that's a really good reason to have lost your voice. How fun.

Nellie Harden:

Yeah, one of my daughters that was sitting next to she looked at me, she's like, Mom, you didn't like roller coaster scream, you like death screamed? And it's like you said, it's because I thought it was going to die. But it's fine. Let's do it again. So, okay, so I just had to say that aside, but I was just doing a talk yesterday and talking about how when my oldest who just turned 17 gas. So she just turned 17. But when she was two, I remember having this conversation with somebody that I had met, we were on a walk, and I don't know, it was another parent We had just met. And I said something to my daughter, I don't even remember what it was, but it caught this other person off guard. And she was like, Oh, you talk to her a little bit differently. And I was like, why? And we got into this conversation. And I told her, Well, she she's an adult in the making. And I've I've just always seen her as her own person. And this, you know, her own birth story of this adult that she's going to be some day. And so I don't know when you're talking about riot just kind of reminded me of that conversation that I had, of always looking at her and all of my children as these little individuals that we get the pleasure and great responsibility of raising and being the architects of their beginnings. So yeah, anyway. Yeah. But I love where you've come and I love, love, love the work that you do. I think it is I agree that having the work in the home is the best way to change not only their future, but honestly the entire world's future as a collaboration of what's happening in the homes today. So you mentioned in their resilience a few times and resilience is a core pillar of the work that I do as well in I work with parents that have young women in the second half of childhood. And that's really where I focus my energies. But resilience is obviously a big piece of that. So I would love you. I would love to know what does resilience mean to you and your practice? And what are some of the the ways that you help this be instilled in the bedrock of these children's childhood and subsequent lives?

Dr. Sarah Bren:

Yes. Well, I think one of the things that I do with with parents and with families and with kids is, is help people realize that resilience is not like this innate, inborn thing. Like, I think that's a myth that people have about resilience, like some people are resilient, and some people aren't. And that if we start to think about resilience as a series of skills, that and almost kind of like musculature that we have to exercise. And it's, you know, built up around distress, tolerance, frustration, tolerance, the capacity to keep going when things are hard to, you know, resist the urge to quit, also, to give ourselves permission to quit, when we don't want you know, honoring our truth, being able to be tuned into that internal experience, like these are all things that it's almost like, yeah, those are all the muscles. And when you strengthen all those muscles, by practice, and, you know, having an environment that supports that musculature, then that all kind of comes together to create this package of resilience. And, you know, resilience requires a lot of flexibility. It requires a lot of self compassion, and requires a lot of mindfulness. And so it's not just one thing. And I think that also helps us to realize that there's a lot of things we're probably already doing, that support our own resilience as parents and our children's resilience as parents, and just logging a lot of that stuff helps us to say, Hold me, maybe I am more resilient than I realized, like, and then when we see ourselves as resilient. It's a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy, right? If I think about myself, or if my child thinks about themselves, as a resilient human being, when faced with a situation where we have to use those muscles, we're going to have a lot of confidence that we can do that. Mm hmm.

Nellie Harden:

Exactly. Yeah. And so when I start working with families, one I there's this very large questionnaire that they fill out so I can really get into their family, but one of them is talking about and having the parents understand, what have you gotten through in your life? Right? What have you been through? Not that, you know, killed you and brought you down? Because you're still here? But what have you really walked through? And it is very eye opening to have those conversations with adults? Because they're like, oh, you know, it's been okay. Well, actually, there's this one time I got through that, that was really hard. And I got through this, and then that was really hard. I mean, pregnancy itself or adoption itself, or what have you like, that is really hard stuff to get through. But you did, right. And so bringing that bringing that confidence to the surface, because the world is quick to push it down. But you said something in the beginning that I wanted to kind of reflect on because I run into this a lot, since I work with helping helping families get to a point that their daughters and themselves are in a self discipline, leadership position before they leave home. And leadership, like resilience is one of those things that so many people say, Oh, born leader, not a born leader, you are born leader born follower, right? And which is even more diminutive. So anyway, I see this a lot and helping people realize that, yeah, you actually have a lot of this in you. Oh, it's so encouraging. And it just puts a fire in them that I can. And when you have confidence, you're so much more capable of everything that you want to do. So I love I love that you brought that up. And it goes with because I work a lot in vision, right? Like, forming core beliefs, forming core values. And then also vulnerability is another one. I'm not vulnerable. I'm not vulnerable at all right? And I was working with a dad recently. And he was he's like, Yeah, I don't do that girl stuff. I don't do you know? And I was like, that's okay. Have you ever told your daughter? I don't know what to do here. So can you help me help you? And he's like, No, and I was like, Well, that might be a really good thing. Just like just being vulnerable, that you are not vulnerable right? In his eyes. And just having that raw conversation with your daughter and just, I believe in you and I want to help you but I have no idea. How can you help me with that? So powerful to that child? Yeah,

Dr. Sarah Bren:

yes. I love that. You I think that that idea that like, you know, sometimes we have to break through when we're working with families or parents or individuals, like we have to break through that, like, belief that I'm not that thing, or I can't do that thing. And usually, I think one of the ways I help people break through that belief is to sort of find the roots of that belief. Right? Like you learned that somewhere. Where did you learn that? Where did was that something that was explicitly told to you when you were growing up? Like, you know, big boy, Boys Don't Cry, so stuff it down, like, I don't want to hear that stuff, right? And so you internalize that and you start to grow up as a human being, it's I don't do that girly stuff, right? That's not me. Is that rooted in maybe an implicit communication, right? You had a parent who either was incredibly emotionally volatile, and you were like, I just can't be like that. So I don't, I'm going to go the whole opposite direction, because that's too scary. Or maybe you had a parent who never shared their emotions with you, or was really stunted in that way. And so that you didn't get an emotional education by modeling and CO regulation with them. So like, if you have if you're sitting there listening to this mean, like, I'm not resilient, or I don't do vulnerability, or I don't, I don't, you know, whatever the I can't do, or I don't do. Explore the roots of that belief, because I bet you it's rooted in an earlier experience.

Nellie Harden:

Yeah, yeah. And that's what's so touching with your work, my work, you know, working in this childhood experience. So much, I would, I would go to say, nearly everything. And I don't say that word lightly, nearly everything in our adult experience, our knee jerk reflex reaction has roots in those first, you know, 18 years before you left home, nearly everything, right? It's so

Dr. Sarah Bren:

that's why that word that we do like that a reverse engineer stuff, help the parents create that. And that early experience for the child that's a little healthier, a little bit more open, a little bit more safe to have all the feelings so that people aren't growing up and then cutting off parts of their emotional experience. And not knowing what to do when they're adults when those emotions are in their lives in their children's lives. So it's like, it really is an intergenerational transmission of trauma, like, right. And we're part of that we're part of that cycle. And we can break that cycle by becoming a lot more aware of how our our childhood stuff is showing up in our parenting. And not necessarily doing the exact opposite. Sometimes it means being in that middle space and saying, my gut wants me to like run the complete opposite direction. But sometimes that's not helpful, either, because we end up in a knot like a polar extreme.

Nellie Harden:

Yeah, absolutely. And I'd love to hear your take on this too. So I feel like I mean, we don't feel like we are we live in fast forwarded lives, I mean, the fact that when we get up in the, in the day, the first 30 to 60 minutes of our day, we take in more information, typically, unless you're getting up and meditating or what have you, but we're taking in Mormon or information, then, like, you know, Paul Engels did in a year, you know, and so we are living on fast forward compared to our ancestors. So when we are when they were talking about, oh, I'm feeling this, I'm going to ponder this for three days, maybe I'll take a week. I don't know, maybe I'll have a discussion with this in two weeks. That's not our world today. And our kids especially are living on even faster forward than we were because I didn't have these little, you know, techno boxes in my hands all the time when I was growing up like they do. And so they are running through these emotions, like water coming out of a faucet. And if they don't know how to deal with them, it just, they drown really, really easily compared to how it was, you know, way back when or even when I was a kid. And so that's another reason why I mean, and you can speak to that to why the work when they're now and helping them with emotions. Emotions are a much bigger part of the story than they were back then.

Dr. Sarah Bren:

Yes, yes. And I think that yes, the speed, the liability of emotions, like, you know, we as a grown up, you know, if I'm on my phone, and I'm going through Instagram, which I do, definitely do. I will feel, you know, 10 different motions in like the scroll of like, the span of a minute scrolling, right? Yeah. And I am an adult with a fully formed frontal prefrontal cortex and you know, I have skin To regulate my emotions, I have skills to protect perspective. I so when I see something on Instagram that's like, Oh, that makes me feel bad about myself, I have the capacity to notice that I'm having that feeling. Check in with myself and say, does that feeling hold? Wait, do I? Is it true? Or was that just kind of like a quick automatic thought, because I saw something that made me feel not so great about myself. Do I feel good about myself overall, I can do all that work. And I can do it kind of fast, right? I can't always do it. Sometimes I'm like, in a funk afterwards, in my mind in such a bad mood. And then I'm like, oh, because I just like, I know, compared myself to 10 people, and I'm feeling kind of crappy. Yeah, but our kids don't have that structural resilience yet, right? That comes with brain development and maturity and like lived experience and practice and a lot of intentional self education. Right. And we, of course, as parents want to support that. But we also have to have realistic developmental expectations of our kids, a 12 year old girl who's scrolling on social media is not going to be able to have that level of introspection, and self compassion, and reflective functioning and perspective taking that I just kind of described, no matter how much we support them, that's just a 12 year old brain isn't going to be able to do that much work that quickly. Those that muscular, or that musculature, while there is not yet that strong. So we also have to really remember that like, some stuff is just too big for these kids. Right? And yet, they're using it. And they're not saying they can't use it, or they shouldn't use it I'm, I really approach tech and kids from a harm reduction model. Like it's there, it's happening, we need to create support to have them feel like educated consumers of technology and educating users of technology, because we're not going to be able to remove, we cannot excise this, it's here. So how do we do it as safely as possible. And part of that is helping outside of those moments, build resilience skills, build reflective, functioning, skills, reflective functioning, is our ability to notice what we are thinking in the moment and reflect on its impact on our emotions, our physical body. So it's sort of that ability to say, I just saw something on social media, it made me compare myself to that other person that made me feel bad about myself, I noticed that when I feel bad about myself, I kind of want to curl up in a ball, my my stomach kind of flips a little bit, my mood drops, I want to do less fun things, I kind of want to isolate, like that's reflected noticing that having that narrative is reflected function, we want our kids to be able to notice those things. Because when they notice it, they could do something about it. Yeah,

Nellie Harden:

absolutely. And I mean, you just sitting here and talking about that. It's like scrolling. It's crazy when you are scrolling and you know, you're me by myself, I do it too. And but with my kids, they can scroll past a, you know, a death, someone just died in a horrific accident. Oh, look at that pretty dress. Oh, there's a party I wasn't invited to, oh, that's really happy for Aunt Judy, I don't know, and all of these things in four seconds, right? And they go through all of these things. And it becomes that they're paralyzed to the effects of it. And I mean, that is ubiquitous across humanity right now with these with these phones, but helping our kids feel those I love, you know, I love that reflective functioning, because well, how did that make you feel to not be invited to that, because that really sucks. You know, that that hurts and, and allowing them to feel that way, allowing them to mourn whoever passed away in some, you know, terrible way or what's happening in the world right now. So yeah, slowing down a little bit and having them be able to have those but, or have those feelings, but that takes conversations with the parents. It takes a lot of conversations, which are a beautiful thing, but okay, so speaking of, I want to ask you a little bit us, you like to help parents better understand their children by looking under their behavior for emotional communication or unmet need. Can you elaborate on that a little bit looking under the behaviors and unmet needs? Yeah, so

Dr. Sarah Bren:

the idea is like, Okay, we behave we all do stuff, right? Very rarely do we do stuff for no reason. And so, and typically, the reason why we do stuff in my opinion is not and I'm talking about like, I mean, we sometimes we have very conscious meditative behaviors, like I want to do this thing and I I'm going to do this thing. What I'm talking about is like when I, especially with little kids, right? When little kids, I have a four year old and a two and an almost three year old, they hit, they push each other, they, I'm trying to get out of the house, they run away from me, they do these things that sometimes they do them on purpose. But I would, I really do believe that most kids do really problematic behaviors, because they're dysregulated. Because and when I say dysregulated, I mean, their nervous system is in fight or flight, their prefrontal cortex is offline, their amygdala has pulled the fire alarm, their nervous system is getting ready to run or fight to the death, like these are our primitive are like, evolutionarily based threat responses. And when our kids are tantruming, or, or getting becoming very aggressive, or having these out of control behaviors, especially young kids, but also this can happen in teens, I mean, I've had tantrums, I'm 37, right? Like, we, we all have dysregulated moments where we go into this, like really just, you know, out of control threat response. But our littlest kids do it all the time. And I work with a lot of parents, very young kids, that's a big area of you know, of the population that I work with a pet parents who like my kids keep hitting or their, or their tantruming all the time, or they're throwing their food on the floor, like, you know, they can't get them to listen or cooperate. And I you know, a lot of the work I do with parents is understanding dysregulation, and realizing that a lot of the behaviors that we are observing all these dysregulated behaviors are really, you know, the tip of the iceberg, and really what's, what we need to do is look underneath, that's why I say underneath the behavior to what is driving the dysregulation what's what pulled that fire alarm for the kid, which is a mindset shift, because it's taking people out of thinking about children's behaviors, as they're doing this on purpose. They're pushing my limits, they're testing my boundaries, they're, they're looking for a fight. They're manipulating me, instead we're looking at is like, wow, this is like a volitional, my kid is really they've they're no longer in control of their brain and their bodies. Because when we're in fight or flight, our frontal lobes are offline. So we're really not making choices. We're really in reflex mode. And so that's what I mean by going under the behaviors trying to figure out like, what is the the, the perception of threat that triggered this chain reaction. You know, there's, there's a lot of people in this in my field who are doing work on this too, like Mona della hook. And Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson. And like, this is a lot of the work that I do stems from, you know, the, the the ideas of the regulated and dysregulated brain and body versus my child is doing this behavior, on purpose, and I have to punish them so that they learn not to make that choice. Again, it's a very different way of thinking about behaviors. It's really not about when we take that part of like, this is not volitional, our our feeling state changes, right? If I have the thought, my kids do this to manipulate me, I'm gonna get frustrated and angry. If I have the thought of my child's out of control right now. And they need my help to calm their body down. Well, my emotional response to that thought is very different. I lean in, I'm like, How can I help you, I have a lot more empathy and compassion, and I'm more calm. So that's, that's a lot of the work that I do. And the course that I have, the science of tantrums really goes into, like the neuro psychology of dysregulation what's happening in your child's brain and body when they're dysregulated, when they're having a tantrum or a meltdown. And then all the ways that we can kind of respond to that, from this sort of, how do we share our calm with them instead of how do we try to change their behaviors?

Nellie Harden:

Right. And so I'm such a nerd, I love I have biology, psychology degrees. And so I'm like, I want to know how you're thinking. But I also want to know, like, literally what's firing in that brain of yours? You know, I love it. And so I love that you have that in there. But I think that is that is key to parenting. When we can look at them and not think I mean, the manipulation especially because I work with teens, right? So many parents think they are just being purposely manipulative and terrible human beings, and I've given up and they're 14 and I'm like, oh, no, no, no, you know, and, but understanding that that there's There's a story, there's a root there, and we need to help them calm down. There's so much happening in their brain. They're not only going through massive life developments during, you know, late elementary, middle and high school, but their brains are literally changing to you know, it's, it's, it's the ultimate and build the parachute on the way down, you know. And so I want to talk a little bit about those parallels that happen with brain development since we're, you went there and open that box, I would love to so with, even like, neonatal or or like fetal development, fetal development, toddler brain development and teen brain development, it always, it's always, you know, starting at the back and going front, starting in Backbone front, you know, and so I find it fascinating. And if, if there's a weirdness as a parent of, oh, their brain is changing again. And we need to do this, I think it just brings so much more compassion to the table. So can you talk a little bit more about the, the nitty gritty of that brain development and those stages with toddlers and even teens?

Dr. Sarah Bren:

Yes, and it's funny, I always joke, but it's not. It's not that funny, because it's really kind of true, that toddlers and teens, kind of are very similar, because they are both developmentally their prefrontal cortex is are under construction heavily in that period of time, there's sort of like this massive burst of prefrontal cortex development. And the prefrontal cortex is where is the part of our brain like right behind our forehead, and it's responsible for the higher level thinking that makes us kind of like, human right, the thing that separates us from our animal counterparts, right? It's where we it's executive functioning skills. It's how we perspective take problem, solve, plan and sequence behaviors. Inhibit impulse, right, there's a big parallel between toddlers and teens is that impulse control is under construction. So language, communication skills, all that stuff, emotion regulation, skills, like all that stuff is housed in the prefrontal cortex. And so when that part of the brain is under construction, which developmentally happens in toddlerhood, it happens throughout life, right? The prefrontal cortex is not done being developed until we're about 24 to 26 years old, depending on if you're male or female. males get it later. That's shocking, right. But the, there's a huge like, like huge leap, and like exponential growth that's happening in the toddler years. And there's another and then there's sort of like a late we call it latency period. There's like a slowing down of the speed with which the brain the brain is always developing, right? Even grownups, we our brain is plastic, we can create new neural pathways till the day we die, right? We can always learn new things, but the speed and the intensity of change that's happening, there's a big, big peak and toddlerhood and then it sort of slows down, it never stops. But it just this, the intensity slows down through like that middle elementary, middle school age, and then you hit adolescence, and that that construction zone picks right back up. And now there's this new transformation from childhood to adulthood that's happening. So the brain is changing again, to become its more adult self. And even though we're trying to turn into adults with our brain, that construction really impacts the prefrontal cortex is ability to access those executive functioning skills. So we see way more risky behavior, difficulty with organization, difficulty with planning difficulty with perspective taking, right so egocentric, so this sense of omnipotence, right? Like there's, it's this is kind of similar. Who am I talking about here? A four year old or a 14 year old? It's hard to tell, right? Because they're really similar because their brains are under very similar changes.

Nellie Harden:

And right there, I think is such a great checkpoint for parents because when your kid went to you know, jump off of something when they were four, you'd be like, no, no, no, you can't do that. I you know, I love you and, and that's dangerous and everything and when they go to do it at 14, you're like, you fool, you know, what are you doing? Yeah, better. Right. And having that same and I'm not saying talk to them like a four year old and not that and they are grown and they have gone through 14 years of life now. And yes, they know more things but still them like you were saying that is under construction. So helping them be there. I mean, there's a reason why childhood is 18 ish years, you know, and different cultures, it's somewhere else in the teens. But, you know, and some, some people stay home until they're 26. You know, it just depends on where you are. But in general, probably the average is about 18 years. And there's a reason for that they need guidance, they need support, they need someone to believe in them. During that time, I saw the other day, you know, we're going through this terrible epidemic of teen suicides and, and it's, it's really, really heartbreaking. But there was a study that was done. And I apologize, I forget who put it out. But they said that people who had attempted suicide, and in lived that the difference, they had large questionnaires, large studies, and the biggest difference was they needed one person, one person to just be able to see the potential in them. And not. And, you know, we've ran into a lot of teens that are bigs you know, fill in the blank stars, you know, track stars in this, but that is ambition driven do this, you got this, you know that, but actually believing in them and who they are as a person without just their talents running the show or driving the bus, you know? Oh, yes. And that is so huge. And as a family architect, which is what I call parents, we are, you know, building, designing, planning the beginning of someone else's life, we can either be that person, or we can help them find that person. And we don't, it doesn't always have to be us. In fact, there's different seasons, and there's going to be different things coming in and out. But we can recognize that fact and know that they need to find that person. Because, yeah, in some ways, they're still a toddler, right. And under under construction, I love that that phrase, I'm definitely going to use that they're under construction. So wow, this has been such an amazing talk today. Thank you so much for being here. I have three pages of notes. So that's awesome. And it is just such a treasure to talk to you always you're a wealth of knowledge. And your heart is just out there to serve your own family and all of those people that you have been able to help throughout the years and in the future. So thank you for all the work that you do.

Dr. Sarah Bren:

I so appreciate it. And thank you for having me. Absolutely.

Nellie Harden:

Well, I know people are going to want to find you. So can you tell people where they might be able to find you?

Dr. Sarah Bren:

Yes, absolutely. So you can find me on Instagram, Dr. Sarah, Brian, and I have a podcast securely attached Nellie has been on it has graced us with our presence, and it was a wonderful episode. So you should check that out if you're a big Nelly fan as I am. And I have, I have a parenting of two courses. The authentic parent, which is really about finding your confidence in your child's first year, whether you're a first time or a second time or third time parent, I've had third time parents take it, it's been great. And then I have this new course the science of tantrums, which is all about child dysregulation and understanding what's happening in their brain and body so that we can help them move out of tantrums more effectively. So you can find all that on my website, Dr. Sarah brown.com. And then I also I see patients and I have a group practice in Pelham, New York. So if you're in New York, and you want parenting support or child or adolescent therapy or maternal mental health support, check us out at Upshur brand.com.

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About the Podcast

The 6570 Family Project
with Nellie Harden
If you are a parent of a tween, teen or somewhere on the way, this is exactly the place for you!
This is the playground for parents who want to raise their kids with intention, strength and joy to come and hear all the discussions, get all the tactics and have lots of laughs along the way!

We will dive into the real challenges in raising kids today and how to show up as parents AND teach your kids to show up as members of the family and individuals in the world.

My name is Nellie Harden. Big city girl turned small town, front porch, iced tea sippin’ momma who loves igniting transformation in the hearts and minds of families by helping them build Self-Led Discipline™ and Leadership to elevate the family experience and set the kids up with a rock solid foundation they can launch their life on all before they even leave home!

About your host

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Nellie Harden