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Instructions and materials are provided below. Initial response to question/ topics: 300 to 500 words • Response to peer 1: a

Instructions and materials are provided below.

Initial response to question/ topics: 300 to 500 words

• Response to peer 1: at least 100 words  

• Response to peer 2 at least 100 words

Initial Discussion

· What did you learn about adolescent development, the adolescent brain, the adolescent experience, or contextual factors in adolescent development (bullying, school shootings, the criminal justice system, etc) that you didn’t know before? 

 

· What, if anything, surprised you? 

 

· What, if anything, was very different from your own experience as an adolescent?

 

· After completing the course, do you see your own experience as an adolescent (and/or as a parent of an adolescent) any differently? If so, how?

 

· What can we, as therapists, parents, aunts and uncles, mentors, coaches, church family members, etc. do (whether individually, as a community, or as a society) to support and guide adolescents as they transition from childhood to adulthood?

 

Responses:

1st Response

In this course I gained a lot of information about bullying, school shooter information, developmentally appropriate interventions and non-suicidal self-injurious behavior. It has certainly piqued my interest in learning more about school counseling and crisis counseling. In some of the other courses I have taken I felt that theory was presented but not how to apply them or what an intervention would look like. I enjoyed learning more about RCT especially as the idea that connection with others informs our idea of safety and feelings of security really resonates with me. Additionally, I felt that the PowerPoints and supplemental material possessed a lot of valuable knowledge of how to engage clients and parents/guardians. I found it alarming to know how little educators are intervening when an adolescent is being bullied, I am wondering what a zero-tolerance system regarding bullying would look like?  Some of the teens I have spoken with have explained that at times their schools can mimic a lawless land, and since the Covid-19 pandemic even more so. Some of the information I gained certainly did aid me in feeling a sense of normalcy. Throughout the course I was practicing a lot of reflection as I was writing about Omarina and reading about other case studies within our text. I found myself relating to a lot of their experiences and found comfort knowing that I am not alone. As a future counselor I am tasked with guiding those who may feel powerless, hopeless, or lost within their family, schools, or existence. At times adolescents who I see may be court ordered to services or are disengaged as their parents want them to attend counseling which is difficult. I can only hope to earn trust and to be someone who can help them navigate the experiences and pressures they face over time. Helping an adolescent grow and thrive is a joint effort on every level of influence, if it begins in a counseling session, I can only hope to engage the other systems an adolescent has to help them transition into adulthood and to have security.     

2nd Response

Throughout the course on adolescent development, I gained a deeper understanding of the complexities and nuances of this critical stage in life. One of the most enlightening aspects was learning about the adolescent brain and its unique developmental processes. I discovered that the brain undergoes significant restructuring during adolescence, particularly in the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for decision-making, impulse control, and emotional regulation. This knowledge helped me understand why adolescents often exhibit risk-taking behaviors and heightened emotional responses.

Reflecting on my own adolescent experience, I recognize stark differences in the challenges faced today. Growing up, I did not have to navigate the pressures of social media or the heightened awareness of school shootings, which adds a layer of stress and anxiety for today’s youth. This realization has led me to view my own adolescence through a new lens, appreciating the relative simplicity of my formative years.

As a parent, this course has equipped me with a greater empathy and understanding of what my children might be experiencing. I now recognize the importance of fostering open communication and providing a supportive environment where adolescents feel safe to express their feelings and struggles. Understanding the developmental science behind their behavior allows me to be more patient and better equipped to guide them through their challenges.

To support adolescents effectively, whether as therapists, parents, or community members, we must prioritize creating safe, supportive environments both at home and in the broader community. This involves actively combating bullying, advocating for mental health resources in schools, and promoting healthy, open conversations about the pressures adolescents face. As mentors and role models, we should strive to exemplify healthy coping mechanisms and provide adolescents with the tools they need to navigate their complex world. Additionally, community programs that offer safe spaces for adolescents to explore their identities and build positive relationships can be invaluable in supporting their transition from childhood to adulthood.

In summary, this course has significantly deepened my understanding of adolescent development and the various factors influencing it. It has shed light on the unique challenges faced by today’s youth and underscored the importance of supportive, well-informed adults in their lives. With these insights, we can more effectively guide adolescents on their path to becoming well-adjusted, resilient adults.

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