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TEEN ISSUES AND LIVING
Terrible Twos, Terrible Teens/Dr.
Bill Gallagher, DC
by Joan Bramsch
Someone once told me that being a teenager is a second
chance to learn what you missed when you were two. At
first it sounded like a stretch but, after taking a closer
look, it was right on target.
Growing up is a challenging process that does not end
after passing those teen years. Hopefully, it will continue
right on through adulthood and, for that matter, for as
long as you live. For now let's take a closer look at
that most difficult time of growth, both physically and
This is a time when your body goes through a tremendous
growth spurt. In a relatively short span of your life
your body grows to almost twice the size of what it use
to be. Arms and legs seem to have a mind of their own
as you try to coordinate their movement. Muscle mass increases
to help you run faster and jump higher. Everything changes
so fast that when you pass a mirror you may not be sure
who that is looking back at you.
It is a time of considerable learning. Information pours
in at such a pace and on a daily basis that it is amazing
anyone could process it all. Even so, you manage to catalog
most of it somewhere in your brain for future use. Then,
each time one of those stored bits of information shows
up again, everyone else in the room can see your lights
turning on. All that information will also be used to
help you make decisions as to what is right and what is
wrong. You learn more and more to avoid the things that
hurt and go toward those that bring you pleasure. Hopefully,
you also learn which are good choices.
It is a time when communication is probably the biggest
issue. Yes, you have a vocabulary that allows you to get
what you need but, in order to function, you need to learn
more words and how to use them more eloquently. Not being
able to do so can lead to insurmountable frustration,
where you don't know whether to be upset with yourself
or your parents, who simply don't understand you.
It is a time when, for some unknown reason, you have a
need to test the limits. When you are trying to convince
your parents that you are old enough to do what you want
to do and responsible enough to make your own decisions.
When you are not always understood. When the words fail
and you know you are not being heard, and the frustration
leads you to simply have a fit.
Such is the plight of a two-year old, or was that a teenager?
The only real differences are braces and acne.
Both have to learn how to maneuver in a body that is growing
faster than they are. Both have so much to learn. At two,
it is counting to ten; as a teen, it is algebra and calculus.
For each, it is just as much of a challenge. Both need
to explore their ever expanding world. At two, that is
rarely out of a parent's sight; for a teen, the limits
drop as the whole world is opened up. Decisions and responsibilities
expand too, from learning hot and cold, to more complex
issues of life and interpersonal relationships.
Then there is communication. At two, the vocabulary may
be limited but it is quite sufficient to convey one's
basic needs. With practice, single word commands expand
into three word sentences that make it easier to deal
with parents and others. Teens are no different. They
have more words, but need to develop a greater command
of the language in order to get their more complex ideas
across to others.
Both go through the frustration of all these issues and
of not being understood and, when that boils over, there
is little difference between a tantrum on the living room
floor and stomping off to your bedroom and slamming the
door. The lessons are basically the same, only the scale
Oddly enough, the lesson here is probably best given to
the parents or those teens who will be parents:
The "Terrible Twos" are not really that terrible,
especially once you get past them and, for that matter,
neither are those teenage years. Just remember that both
are growing and need to be understood. You, no doubt,
recall being a teenager yourself more than you do having
been two. As a parent, you have the advantage of seeing
both stages in your child.
The moral of this story is they are no different than
a one-year old who learned how to walk. No matter how
many times they fell they got back up and tried again
because you were there to support them.
Dr Bill Gallagher is the director of Run Drugs Out of
Town Run, Inc.
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About the Author
JOAN BRAMSCH is a family person, educator, writer and
E-publisher. Her articles appear internationally in print
and online. Six of her best-selling adult novels - near
one million copies - have worldwide distribution. Her
Empowered Parenting Ezine serves 1000 parents around the