Tennant’s got teen behavior on the brain

Victoria Tennant saved her most compelling statement for last — giving people something to think about, to hang onto.

Victoria Tennant

Victoria Tennant saved her most compelling statement for last — giving people something to think about, to hang onto.

“Really know your kids, look for changes in behavior that don’t make sense,” the veteran education consultant told the crowd at the Northshore Senior Center May 20. “Don’t lose hope. Hold a vision and communicate with teens.”

Tennant took center stage for two hours and spoke to 57 Northshore Healthy Youth Task Force members about “Understanding the Mysteries of the Teenage Brain.” She discussed brain growth and development, emotions, drugs and health, mixing in serious talk with humor and getting the audience — consisting of parents, teachers, coaches and more — involved by telling personal stories about their experiences with teens and students.

“I’m not an expert on the brain or teens. I’m a translator,” Tennant said. “You are the experts to relate to teens as parents, teachers and mentors.”

She emphasized the positives about the teen brain — but also delved into the challenges.

“To the teens in the audience: the brain is so rich with growth, it’s working much faster than an adult’s — it’s amazing,” Tennant said. Later, she added: “It’s more impulsive than an adult’s — and that’s a good thing. But they can get themselves into some really sticky situations (like drugs). They need some coaching and need to implement some fun, safe, healthy activities.”

Tennant encouraged teens to take “positive risks” like playing sports, volunteering and getting jobs. She noted that the right experiences are critical to the brain’s growth.

And while video games are popular with the teen set, they may not be the most productive activity, she said.

“Video games stifle the use of the brain. They’re not interacting with people, not solving real-life problems,” Tennant added.

Justin Better, a 2005 Bothell High graduate, said he used to hole up in his room and play video games when he was younger. However, he broke out of that phase and got into reading and other activities.

Tennant’s talk gave him insight into the emotions of the teen brain.

“(I learned) how to handle things in a positive way,” he said.

Joanne McDaniel, a paraeducator at Maywood Hills Elementary and parent of a Bothell High senior boy, was upbeat after Tennant’s presentation.

“Having a teenager is interesting in and of itself,” McDaniel said, adding that she will apply some of Tennant’s suggestions at home — and at Maywood. “It makes you wonder about what they’re thinking. Now we can try to understand those neurons that are firing in their brain. It (the talk) makes it easier.”

More in News

Tasting room proposal could redefine alcohol production in King County

Pilot program would benefit wineries, breweries and distilleries. Several farmers are concerned.

Driver who intentionally hit Bothell pedestrians given jail time

Striking two with Camry leads to 14-year sentence.

Bothell state rep gets Democrats’ nod for Senate appointment

Derek Stanford was the party’s top choice to fill an opening left when Guy Palumbo resigned.

Talks will continue on combining Northshore Fire Department with others

Plan will be formulated for joining Woodinville, Shoreline and Northshore fire departments.

90-day notice required for rent increases in Kenmore

Manufactured housing communities will continue to have different standards, per state law.

In a 2015 report from the Washington State Department of Ecology, King County’s Cedar Hills Regional Landfill received 53,739 tons of of plastic bags and wrap from housing and commercial sources alone. File photo/Sound Publishing
No good solution to the plastics problem

Plastic is piling up everywhere from King County to ocean floors, and humans keep making more.

Bothell City Hall. Katie Metzger/staff photo
Bothell recognizes Pride for the first time

The city joins several other Eastside cities in recognizing the month.

NSD held a dedication ceremony for the district’s newly installed Veterans Memorial on May 27. Madison Miller / staff photo
NSD unveils Veterans Memorial at dedication ceremony

The Veterans Memorial honors alumni who died while serving in the military.

Most Read