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Brains - 'A' to 'Z' of Mental Health

B is for Brain:

Children’s brains go through significant growth spurts during their early childhood. Once they turn about 6 years of age, their brains are approximately 90-95% of the expected adult size. This is why the early years are such a critical time for a child’s development and their brain development. However, before this brain is ready for the complexities of adult life, it still requires some redevelopment.

Am adolescence brain goes through some remodelling which continues until their mid-20s. One of the main changes is “pruning”. Pruning is the process where any un-used connections are discarded while other connections are strengthened. This is how the brain becomes most efficient. Helping a teenager engage in good behaviour and positive activities will help strengthen positive brain connections.

Positive behaviour strategies:

- Healthy risks

- A range of different life experiences

- Small steps towards independence

- Creative and expressive outlets

- Guided problem solving, encouraging the consideration of behaviours and possible consequences

- Set boundaries and times to negotiate those boundaries

- Praise for desired behaviours

- Maintain connection

Cognitive behaviour strategies:

- Encourage empathy and to consider their and other people’s feelings

- Talk about consequences for the shorter and longer term

- Be mindful of language used and their understanding.

If you are interested in discussing any of the points further or would like to hear about a particular topic, we would be more than happy to hear from you. Feel free to send an email to and we will answer any questions you may have.

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