Insights Into Teens

Insights Into Teens: Episode 187 "The Importance of Being Challenged"

April 01, 2024 Madison and Joseph Whalen Season 6 Episode 187
Insights Into Teens: Episode 187 "The Importance of Being Challenged"
Insights Into Teens
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Insights Into Teens
Insights Into Teens: Episode 187 "The Importance of Being Challenged"
Apr 01, 2024 Season 6 Episode 187
Madison and Joseph Whalen

Ever wonder what's going on inside the mind of a teenager as they toggle between safety and thrill-seeking? Unlock the mysteries of adolescent development in our latest episode, where we dissect the compelling allure of challenges and risks for growing teens. Together with experts in psychology and teen behavior, we share insights into how these experiences are not just acts of rebellion, but crucial steps toward maturity.

Join us for a heart-to-heart on personal growth as we reflect on personal anecdotes and the surprising benefits of well-chosen challenges. From the satisfaction of creating art to the continuous learning within the tech industry, we reveal how facing the right kind of challenges can lead to lower rates of depression and foster fulfillment. Learn how to guide teenagers in embracing these opportunities for growth, steering them away from unhealthy risks and towards constructive endeavors.

Finally, we tackle the tough topic of unhealthy teen challenges and how parents can play a pivotal role in navigating this terrain. Discover effective strategies to channel your teen's energy into positive experiences, from outdoor adventures to creative arts, and understand the impact of parental support on their journey. This episode offers a heartfelt guide for anyone looking to help teens emerge as well-rounded, confident adults, while also shedding light on the value of challenges in our own lives.

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ever wonder what's going on inside the mind of a teenager as they toggle between safety and thrill-seeking? Unlock the mysteries of adolescent development in our latest episode, where we dissect the compelling allure of challenges and risks for growing teens. Together with experts in psychology and teen behavior, we share insights into how these experiences are not just acts of rebellion, but crucial steps toward maturity.

Join us for a heart-to-heart on personal growth as we reflect on personal anecdotes and the surprising benefits of well-chosen challenges. From the satisfaction of creating art to the continuous learning within the tech industry, we reveal how facing the right kind of challenges can lead to lower rates of depression and foster fulfillment. Learn how to guide teenagers in embracing these opportunities for growth, steering them away from unhealthy risks and towards constructive endeavors.

Finally, we tackle the tough topic of unhealthy teen challenges and how parents can play a pivotal role in navigating this terrain. Discover effective strategies to channel your teen's energy into positive experiences, from outdoor adventures to creative arts, and understand the impact of parental support on their journey. This episode offers a heartfelt guide for anyone looking to help teens emerge as well-rounded, confident adults, while also shedding light on the value of challenges in our own lives.

No Credits Rolled, where we play the games you love but rarely finish them!

Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

An original podcast by a husband and wife team of self professed pop-culture geeks. It is a discussion about all things entertainment from movies and music to television and pop culture. We examine some of the more obscure aspects of the entertainment industry.

Create Harmony

This is a podcast about setting an intentional rhythm, savoring life’s blessings and...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Buzzsprout - Let's get your podcast launched!
Start for FREE

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

Speaker 1:

Insightful Podcasts by Informative Hosts. Insights into Things a podcast network Podcast Network. Welcome to. Insights into Teens, a podcast series exploring the issues and challenges of today's youth. Your hosts are Joseph and Madison Whalen, a father and daughter team making their way through the challenges of the teenage years.

Speaker 2:

Welcome to Insights into Teens. This is episode 187, the Importance of being Challenged. I'm your host, Joseph Whalen, and my attentive and intelligent co-host, Madison Whalen.

Speaker 3:

Hi everyone.

Speaker 2:

How you doing today, Maddie.

Speaker 3:

I'm doing, I guess, how about you?

Speaker 2:

Well, that's not really encouraging at all, is it I?

Speaker 3:

don't know.

Speaker 2:

A statement like that does not inspire confidence.

Speaker 3:

Well, I don't usually exude confidence anyway, so True that, true that.

Speaker 2:

So we had a couple additional unplanned weeks off. We really need to kind of get back into the habit of doing this weekly, assuming our schedule permits. You've had a fairly busy schedule the last couple of weeks which has kind of kept us out of the studio schedule the last couple of weeks which has kind of kept us out of the studio, and that's because you've been challenged. You've had a lot of challenges you've been facing at school, have you not?

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So, if nothing else, maybe we have some fresh insights and some fresh input into today's topic, yippee. So we are talking about the importance of being challenged, at least from a teen perspective. Teen challenge plays a crucial role in the growth and development of adolescents. It taps into their inherent inclination to seek out challenges, which is essential for their maturation process. Engaging with challenges aids in fostering independence and self-discovery, enabling teens to gain insights into their capabilities and identities. In today's episode of Insights into Teens, we're going to take a look at the importance of keeping our teens challenged and how best to accomplish this.

Speaker 2:

But before we do that, I do want to remind all of our listening and viewing audience to subscribe to the podcast. You can find us listed on Apple Podcasts, spotify, google, iheartradio, tunein. Audio versions of this podcast can be found listed as Insights into Teens. Audio and video versions of this podcast can be found listed as insights into teens. Audio and video versions of all the networks podcasts can be found listed as insights into things. I would also invite you to give us your feedback, tell us how we're doing, give us show subjects you want us to talk about. You can email us at comments at insightsintothingscom, or you can get links to all of our social media sites on our website at wwwinsightsintothingscom.

Speaker 2:

Shall we get into it? Sure, here we go. So why do teens seek challenge and risk? It seems to be an inherent trait in most teens. While challenges are integral to personal growth, some teenagers might gravitate towards unhealthy risks and choices. Engaging in such activities like drug use or reckless driving can pose life-threatening consequences. Parenting teenagers necessitates guiding them towards safe and constructive avenues for challenging themselves positively. By helping teens navigate towards healthy challenges, parents contribute to their overall well-being and growth.

Speaker 3:

Adolescence is a period marked by an intense desire for novelty, challenge and risk-taking behavior, a phenomenon underscored by a comprehensive study conducted by University College London. This stage of life is characterized by the development of the social-emotional system which drives teenagers to actively seek out stimulation and excitement through a variety of activities.

Speaker 2:

The study's findings shed light on the motivations behind teenagers' engagement in risky behaviors. Despite having a reasonable understanding of the potential consequences, adolescents are drawn to risky activities because they find them exhilarating and exciting. The allure of these experiences often overshadows their inherent sense of caution. This propensity can be attributed to the incomplete maturation of the teenage brain, particularly in regions responsible for impulse control and decision-making. As a result, teenagers may struggle to effectively weigh the potential risks against the rewards, leading to a higher propensity for engaging in risk-taking behavior.

Speaker 3:

The research, which encompassed participants ranging from 9 to 35 years of age, consistently demonstrated that teenagers exhibit a distinct inclination towards risk-taking compared to other age groups. Particularly noteworthy is the behavior of 14-year-olds, who displayed the highest levels of risky conduct. This pattern suggests an ongoing and consistent pursuit of challenges and thrills throughout the adolescent years.

Speaker 2:

The study illuminates the profound impact of developmental changes on adolescents' propensity I think I put that in there too many times, like I'm getting a commission for propensity every time I say it for propensity every time I say it On the adolescent's propensity for risk-taking behaviors. The interplay between the developing social-emotional system and the yet-to-mature brain areas responsible for impulse control underscores the intense desire for challenge and excitement during this transformative phase of life. Understanding these dynamics is crucial for parents, educators and caregivers as they navigate the complexities of guiding adolescents toward healthy outlets for their innate craving for novelty and adventure for novelty and adventure, do you?

Speaker 2:

think that you have unsafe risk-taking tendencies. No, not really.

Speaker 3:

Now I would agree. But why do you think that is? Um, I guess maybe it's because I'm a more cautious person, or it could be how I was raised. I like to say that you guys kind of raised me in a not necessarily isolated sort of way or I'm not like not like a entirely a sheltered way, but kind of in a sheltered way because, like a lot of the stuff I do, like a lot of the stuff I do like a lot of the stuff I'm into, I normally learn from you guys and I very rarely exceed outside of that. Maybe that's because I only ever wanted to listen to whatever you guys said. Maybe that was. It's just like an inherent thing when it comes to me, to where it's like I just kind of listen to you guys and then it's like, oh cool, I like this and I kind of want to stick with this. And I don't know, because it's like anytime I hang out with my friends and like they tell me about the different shows and movies they watch, I'm like I've never seen any of that.

Speaker 2:

Hmm, that's interesting. So what are some of the examples of healthy challenges or activities that you believe you could safe, that you believe could satisfy your desire? Do you have a desire for excitement and stimulation? Let me ask you that question first, because if you don't have that desire, there's really no need to satisfy it, right?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, not really Anything that I do. I kind of am the opposite, in that sense I'm not a very risk-taking. I'm not that's a weird way to say that I'm not a very I'm not a person that really likes to take risks all that often and if anything, I prefer to stay in like my sheltered bubble half the time. It's like I'll obviously take in new information as it comes and I'll accept it. But at the same time, when it comes to like my own hobbies and interests like yeah, I get new ones periodically but then I kind of just harbor over those for like years on end until I find, eventually find a new one- so there may be a better it might be a better question to ask what types of activity do you get the excitement and stimulation from?

Speaker 2:

if it's not risky type of activity, Is there something out there that you enjoy doing that kind of fills that void.

Speaker 3:

I mean there's drawing, playing video games and watching YouTube videos. You know typical isolationist, introvert mentalities and activities, I suppose.

Speaker 2:

Okay, I guess that all fits, considering the incomplete maturation of the teenage brain we discussed, how do you think this knowledge could influence the way parents and guardians approach conversations about risk-taking behavior with teens?

Speaker 3:

Maybe they'd have a better understanding to it. I know we've kind of addressed the idea of like the whole point of us making this podcast was to get rid of the stigma and stereotype of teens just being rebellious because they can and oh, they're just going through a phase, they'll grow out of it. Really, this is just a really big time for us, mentally, emotionally and physically, so like there's obviously major changes that occur and one of which being intense risk-taking, because, you know, we do have like, because of everything going on, we have desires for excitement, desires for change, because we're constantly changing again, physically, mentally, emotionally. So our interests are going to change, what we like is going to change, how we act is going to change and really it's just a big time for us, time for us and the stereotype that, oh, we're all just being rebellious and just, you know, going against our parents' wishes. We may be doing that, but it's not without reason.

Speaker 2:

And that makes sense, and I think all adolescents and teenagers kind of go through that at some point in time. Now, do you have any friends that are in your inner circle who might be more inclined to taking some of these risks that we're talking about to get that jolt of excitement out of things?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, I mean, like I'm friends with, I'm surprised at how some of my friends, I was able to become friends with introverts well, no extroverts rather, although, you know, I guess we can complement each other in that way.

Speaker 2:

Let's say opposites attract right.

Speaker 3:

I guess so. So yeah, some of my friends are definitely more extroverted and are more willing to take part in activities, and some of them are even trying to get me to do activities as a result, Now, do you find that the things that your friends are doing, do you just not like doing those things, or do you consider them inappropriate or dangerous, that you don't want to? Do them. It's kind of a mix of both. Honestly, some of my friends do stuff that I'm like, okay, I'm definitely never doing that.

Speaker 2:

And then other stuff it's like you know more innocent sort of stuff where I could see myself doing it, but I just don't want to so in those situations where you have a friend who's doing something that you fundamentally feel is inappropriate, do you take an active role in trying to discourage them from that or understand why they're they?

Speaker 3:

that I definitely try to understand more. So if they are doing something more inappropriate, I don't really stop them, because I personally don't think it's really my responsibility to do that. If it gets to a point where it's like, okay, I probably need to let somebody know, I'll probably do that. I probably need to let somebody know, I'll probably do that. But for the most part it's just kind of the typical, like some more typical stuff that teenagers just tend to do, and while I personally won't do it myself, I'm not going to stop my friends from doing it because it's their life, they have their own stuff going on and I, more so, do my best to understand and possibly push them in a more positive direction.

Speaker 2:

Have you run into a situation where you've had a friend engage in one of these activities and have negative consequences? And if you have, what was the ultimate outcome and how did you respond to that type of activity?

Speaker 3:

Well there were really no like negative consequences. I kind of saw for myself Any negative consequences they kind of like told me about.

Speaker 2:

What about for your friend? Any negative consequences for your friends?

Speaker 3:

Yeah, there were negative consequences for my friends and like most of it was like having their phones taken away and like there were some instances where like it wasn't that justified, other instances where it was probably justified and honestly, like my friends didn't seem all that worried about it and like hearing the situation, I was a little more concerned about it, but it sounded like everything was mostly fine going forth and it did seem like they learned a lesson afterwards at the very least.

Speaker 2:

Okay, well, that's good. I think the important thing is assuming that you're that responsible adult who doesn't take a responsible friend, let me say, who doesn't necessarily take those risks. Being that voice of reason, I think kind of of comes hand in hand with that, with your friends trying to not necessarily steer them or tell them what to do, but at least advise them on what the better course of action probably would be. So that makes sense. We're going to take a quick break and when we come back we're going to talk about the benefits of Teen Challenge. We'll be right back.

Speaker 1:

We're going to talk about the benefits of Teen Challenge. We'll be right back. Insights into Entertainment, a podcast series taking a deeper look into entertainment and media. Our husband and wife team of pop culture fanatics are exploring all things, from music and movies to television and fandom. We'll look at the interesting and obscure entertainment news of the week. We'll talk about theme park and pop culture news. We'll give you the latest and greatest on pop culture conventions. We'll give you a deep dive into Disney, star Wars and much more. Check out our video episodes at youtubecom backslash insightsintothings, our audio episodes at podcastinsightsintoentertainmentcom, or check us out on the web at insightsintothingscom.

Speaker 3:

Welcome back to Insights into Teens. Today we're talking about the importance of being challenged, and now we're going to talk about the benefits of Teen Challenge. The adolescent phase of development is characterized by a myriad of changes and challenges that contribute to the formation of one's identity, cognitive abilities and social interactions is intrinsic to adolescent growth. It is essential to explore the distinction between constructive challenges that adhere to safe boundaries and potential detrimental risks. Recent research led by neuroscientists from the University of Illinois delves into the relationship between engaging in healthy challenges, the neurobiological response within the teenage brain and the potential preventative role against teen depression.

Speaker 2:

The study utilized advanced neural imaging techniques, particularly MRI technology, to investigate the neural mechanisms underlying adolescents' engagement in challenges and the impact on their mental well-being. The research team closely examined brain activity patterns in response to rewarding tasks, including scenarios where participants donated money to their family members and made decisions involving financial gains through risk-taking. Prior to the study's commencement, participant levels of depressive symptoms were evaluated. Commencement participant levels of depressive symptoms were evaluated, forming a baseline against which the subsequent challenges would be measured over a year.

Speaker 3:

The study's findings brought to light several intriguing insights into the interplay of challenges, brain responses and depression. During the execution of challenging tasks, adolescents displayed heightened neural activity in brain regions associated with reward processing. This phenomenon suggests that engaging in challenges triggers a rewarding neural response, potentially reinforcing the desire for further engagement in such activities.

Speaker 2:

A particularly noteworthy discovery emerged in relation to the motivation underlying risk-taking behaviors. Counterintuitively, adolescents who took calculated risks for the purpose of benefiting their family members demonstrated a reduced likelihood of developing depression over the course of benefiting their family members, demonstrated the reduced likelihood of developing depression over the course of a year. This observation unveils a nuanced perspective on the relationship between risk-taking and mental health outcomes. It underscores that the nature of the challenge and the underlying motivation significantly impact the consequences on emotional well-being.

Speaker 3:

The research marks a significant step toward comprehending the intricate relationship between challenges, brain responses and mental health outcomes among adolescents. It highlights the potential of engaging in healthy challenges and a means of bolstering emotional, mental and social development. The revelation that calculated risk-taking motivated by pro-social intentions can act as a preventative factor against depression offers a fresh perspective on the complexities of risk behaviors. Offers a fresh perspective on the complexities of risk behaviors.

Speaker 2:

So what do you think about the idea that facing challenges makes teenagers' brains feel rewarded? Do you feel rewarded?

Speaker 3:

when you face a challenge and you overcome that challenge. Not usually, at least, I don't have any that really come to mind for the most part, so sorry.

Speaker 2:

So let me throw out a scenario here. So you've got a test coming up okay, let's say for the purpose of this argument it's a history test, which I know you love history and you spend two or three days studying for that test and then you go and take that test and you don't know if you you don't get your grade back immediately, but you feel as though the questions that were on the test you were familiar with, the concepts and the answers, and you kind of breathe through that test After the test, but before you get the results do you feel any kind of level of confidence? Do you feel as though you met that challenge face on and accomplished something after all that studying and hard work?

Speaker 3:

No, not really. I don't really have any confidence, at least when it comes to history. I don't really have that confidence and honestly I don't know. Maybe history is just a bad example, but no, not really.

Speaker 2:

What about after you get the results back and you realize that you scored an A, you scored a high grade on that test? How do you feel at that point? Do you feel like you accomplished something? Do you feel getting that grade was a reward, a rightful reward, for the amount of effort that you put in?

Speaker 3:

I mean I guess I mean I'll be shocked if I get an A, but I don't know. I mean I don't really know if I'm feeling the exact same amount of accomplishment that you kind of are expecting me of. If you want a better example that, where I do feel accomplished, it's usually when I have to do like a new style of art. Typically it's like I don't always feel like have the confidence that I'm like okay, I'm going to be trying something new with my art. I don't know if it's going to look good, and then I try it and then like oh, that actually looks really good. I'm surprised that I was able to do it and I feel good about it.

Speaker 2:

It's interesting that you use that as an example, because doing art is one of your feel-good therapy type things, so you get a reward when you're doing something that you enjoy. Do you not get rewards when you face challenges that you don't enjoy? Is that kind?

Speaker 3:

of where we're at. Yeah, like, even if I do good on a history test, it's like okay, didn't expect that to happen, well, better, just maybe. It's just because I can't really expect to like, hold on to the victories, because it's like, oh, I did good on that, well, I have to get ready for the next one. Then.

Speaker 2:

Well, and you know it's funny there's a in development, software development.

Speaker 2:

There is a methodology called agile, where you do a series of sprints and each sprint has a certain amount of work that you do and there's an output to it. There's an older philosophy in development that's called waterfall, and waterfall is a much longer process. It's all project based, and at the you finish a project and then you move on to something new and the agile. A lot of the industry focuses on agile now because it tends to be more efficient, especially with changing and changes in requirements and stuff. But I never found the agile method particularly rewarding for exactly that reason. Ok, let's get in here, let's work, work, work, work. Okay, we finished this sprint, we got this done. We don't have time to enjoy it because we have to get on to the next sprint. Sprint, sprint, sprint, sprint, get to the end.

Speaker 3:

Move on to the next one.

Speaker 2:

There was never, like in Waterfall, there was always a defined end, there was a transition period and then there was a start. So with school for you, you've got four periods, four marking periods, right. So you're doing that sprint from test to test, quiz to quiz, week to week, and you eventually get to the end of the marking period. You test out of the marking period and you got to turn around and do it all over again. Is that that monotonous cycle that you're kind of referring to?

Speaker 3:

that monotonous cycle that you're you're kind of referring to pretty much and I honestly feel like it's with, honestly, any sort of schoolwork like even with, like, my slower classes. It's like I took this test, I got my grade for it back to, you know, the back to like worrying about the newer subjects, because immediately after the test you have to get into another subject and then you test on that subject and then you get into another subject, and that's also kind of how I forget a lot of this stuff from subject to subject, because it's like, okay, I feel somewhat, okay, I did a good grade on that one. Let me forget all that information so I can bring in new information and just repeat the cycle over and over again.

Speaker 2:

Well, and I think you know, in the spirit of how it's meant, the idea isn't to forget what you did. The idea is to build upon that and acquire more knowledge on top of the stuff that you've learned already. That's the intent.

Speaker 3:

Honestly, the way that it goes for me it's kind of just like okay, you had all this time to study for this big test and now you have to learn new information and then you gradually just forget all the other stuff that you just learned. Because you have to make room in your mind for all this new information, because you just crammed so much of it into your brain for the test. You got to get rid of all that stuff so that you can get ready for the new test.

Speaker 2:

That's probably not the best approach to learning in school at this point. Unfortunately that's how I've been doing it. Okay, well, I mean, the problem you run into is at the end of the year you need to know all the stuff, or at least a portion of all of it, because you're going to have well, you probably won't have finals, not really, because you're grade average have well you probably won't have finals, not really.

Speaker 1:

Because, you're grade average.

Speaker 2:

But most kids will have final exams and final exams are going to touch on everything you got all year long. So forgetting about it probably isn't the best philosophy. And the brain, the human brain, doesn't work like that. You don't have it's not like a hard drive where you have a finite capacity.

Speaker 3:

The human brain is quite capable of a lot more than that. Like sure, I'll probably like still remember aspects of it, but it's like it's not in the front load of my mind, so it's not like I'll remember everything.

Speaker 2:

Okay, well, I can understand that the the. I think part of the problem with that approach is that challenges are a part of life. It's not just a school thing. The phase of adolescence frequently frequently entails encouraging unanticipated obstacles. I'm sorry, let me try that again, and this time I'll read the words that are actually written. The phase of adolescence frequently entails encountering unanticipated obstacles and difficulties that adolescents themselves did not deliberately choose. Despite their initial unfavorable appearance, these circumstances possess the potential to significantly foster personal growth and development. This viewpoint is underscored by the outlooks of a mentor and therapeutic facilitator who accentuates the influence of life's trials and tests on shaping individuals.

Speaker 3:

These challenges, although demanding, are asserted to play a pivotal role in nurturing an individual's character and abilities. Overcoming these challenges emerges as a pathway to unveiling concealed inner strength, latent skills and inventive solutions that might otherwise remain undiscovered. The process of grappling with adversity leads adolescents to a pivotal realization they inherently possess the capability to directly confront issues and carve out their own trajectories, detaching from external influences.

Speaker 2:

It is also proposed that successfully addressing and prevailing over hardships holds the potential to unlock dormant qualities within teenagers. These attributes encompass determination, creativity and resilience. As adolescents navigate through the terrain of challenges, they gain a distinctive opportunity for profound self-discovery and self-awareness. This advancement prompts introspection, enabling them to forge deeper links with their identities and capabilities to forge deeper links with their identities and capabilities.

Speaker 3:

Essentially, the challenges that adolescents encounter act as a unique platform for delving into their strengths and capacities Through their triumphs over why don't you put all that together and make one word out of it?

Speaker 3:

Sorry, brain not working right now. Through the triumphs over these obstacles, they assemble a collection of invaluable skills that contribute to their empowerment. This accumulation of skills, coupled with the experience of surmounting difficulties, plays a pivotal role in cultivating a sense of self-value. This transformative expedition not only facilitates adolescents in acknowledging their inherent potential, but also bolsters their trust and their aptitude to navigate impending challenges.

Speaker 2:

The intricate interaction between unforeseen challenges and personal growth. Intricate interaction between unforeseen challenges and personal growth constitutes a central facet of the adolescent journey. Guided by the insights of experts, it becomes evident that surmounting obstacles functions as a conduit for self-discovery, self-enhancement and the fostering of resilience, and the fostering of resilience. Ultimately, this transformative progression shapes not only I'm sorry, I'm not reading where the commas are Ultimately, this transformative progression shapes not only adolescents' abilities but also their self-perceptions, contributing to an elevated sense of identity and a fortified outlook on life. So it's worth noting. You know we're talking about some of the challenges that you face at school right now, as a manager of employees myself and as someone who has higher ups. As someone who has higher ups, challenges themselves in a professional environment aren't just unavoidable, they're a requirement. I have to give my guys challenges and I work with highly technical, very intelligent, very methodical people. They're all technicians or developers or something along those lines. So keeping them challenged keeps them interested in the work. If I can't provide a challenge to them, they're not advancing their skills and in the world of IT, you're constantly learning. There's no oh, I've learned this and I'm done, and I can just sit back and enjoy what I've learned. Technology is constantly changing, so you have to keep people interested in that. To do that, you keep them challenged. To keep them challenged, they keep learning. So not only does it keep them learning, it keeps their skills honed and focused, it teaches them how to think differently, how to troubleshoot things differently, and it keeps them interested in the work. And if I can't and this is a struggle I have with my developers if I can't keep my developers interested in the work that they're doing, I'm not going to be able to keep them as employees. They're going to go somewhere else and find something that's challenging.

Speaker 2:

The vast majority of people in the professional world are motivated by challenges. It keeps them going, it keeps them learning, it keeps them growing and becoming better people, better workers, better at their job. So challenges are a very welcome thing in the professional world. Nobody wants to be bored at work because it takes an eight-hour day and turns it into a 16-hour day. If you're bored at work, if we're busy, if we're challenged, we're learning, we're expanding, we're better. I'm a firm believer that the people that work for me, when they go on to work somewhere else, they should leave, under my employment or my employer's employment, a better person than when they came in, and the only way to get that is through challenges. Every challenge is a learning opportunity. That's how I look at it and that's the philosophy that I preach to my people. That's how I look at it and that's the philosophy that I preach to my people. How do you think encountering unexpected challenges can help teenagers grow, develop and grow and develop, according to viewpoints of mentors and therapeutic facilitators?

Speaker 3:

Do you think that that's a viable approach to growing yourself as an individual. I mean, of course, because you know, obviously, if you do the same thing over and over again, you're never really going to change because you're not challenged and you kind of just stay the same. If, like that's how your life is, if you're not given new, like opportunities to challenge, to be challenged, then you're really not going to improve all that much. So I definitely understand why challenging yourself is important.

Speaker 2:

Well, and I'll be honest with you. I mean, I'll go back to the professional environment thing and I have a tendency, if I'm not being challenged by my higher-ups, to excel at what I do, I'll go out and find my own challenges and, you know, I'll identify areas that we have a need or there's a shortcoming or something can be improved and I'll take on that challenge so that I can make a difference and have that personal growth myself. And hobbies are like that. You know, when we do our, when we do hobbies. You know my hobbies tend to revolve mostly around technology and stuff, but it's a challenge for me to take on these hobbies and learn new things.

Speaker 2:

I've been embarking on a pretty aggressive learning schedule with some of this online learning material that I have from work, and it's not just stuff that's related to work. I'm not just looking at IT stuff or computer stuff. I'm looking at management challenges, I'm looking at personnel and human resources. I'm looking at things that make me a more well-rounded person. And every time I go through one of these courses or overcome one of the challenges that they throw at me, that's an extra skill set, that's an extra arrow in my quiver that I can use later on in life and say, hey, you know what I can speak to, that I'm an authority on that and it makes me a better person. If I didn't have those challenges, I'd be bored out of my mind at work. Do you get bored at school if you're not challenged?

Speaker 3:

I mean I guess, but in some way I'm always able to really keep myself occupied, Like there are definitely times where, like I'm bored because I don't really have anything to do, but then I kind of have assignments that I have to do, and then the rest of the time I'm not really that bored because I have to— if I'm not doing an assignment in one class, I'm doing an assignment for another class.

Speaker 2:

Now, do you feel that the assignments themselves are self-elevating, where you, going through these, you're actually getting something out of it? Or is it just make busy work for you, or you just I'm cranking out this, this poster project or this writing project, because I have to and you don't feel like?

Speaker 3:

there's any benefit that you're getting from it. It's mostly that. But, like, sometimes I feel like I get some stuff out of it, but a lot of the time it kind of just feels like busy work, to the point where it's like, oh, it's probably just supposed to teach me time management, in the sense of like, oh, you have to get this done in such and such amount of time. The content itself really isn't all that engaging. It's just like I mean sure, I'm gaining like time management from it, but really when I'm actually doing it it's just like okay, I have free time to do it now, I'll just do it now. I'm not really gaining much from the actual assignment, I'm just going to finish it because I know I have to finish it.

Speaker 2:

See, and that's something that I blame on the teachers in the schools, because I'm the type of person that when I ask an employee to do something, whether it's a highly technical thing or hey, the room is messy, let's clean it up and get rid of these empty boxes. It's not meant to be a make busy type thing, and I don't just expect my employees to just do what I tell them, because I told them. It's important that they understand why we're doing. The teacher should articulate okay, today you're doing a poster project and you're going to make a I don't know a movie poster of the 1930s on the subject that we're doing now and this is why we're going to do it. It's going to help to reinforce the facts that we have that you're going to be tested on later. It's going to help you learn in different ways because, instead of it just being text-based, you're going to have some visual, like you know from your own experience.

Speaker 2:

People retain information differently when they digest it differently. Some people can retain it better if they read aloud. Some people can read into a recorder and listen back and they hear it back and they've retained it better. Some people, visually, can do it by writing it down. So everybody learns differently and part of the reason that you do these projects is to figure out how you learn. You know, when we study, we study for your history stuff. We've probably done five or six different study techniques to see which one sticks best with you. Some work better than others and we try to stay with the ones that work the best. But that's what the projects, that's what the projects are designed to do.

Speaker 2:

It's to get you to learn in a different way or retain things in a different way or figure out how to learn things in a different way. You know, when I throw a problem at my guys, I did it today. We had a development meeting today and I threw a couple of things out there to my guys, not because I expected them to solve it, but because I want them to start thinking about it. You know, if this scenario happens, what are the solutions? How can we fix it? What are the best ways to fix it? Well, there's three different ways that we can fix this problem. Okay, what's the best way? What's the way that's going to be the most efficient? What's the way that's going to be the most impactful and what's going to be the lowest cost? So there's all different factors that you have to look at, and I think part of the thing that you might be missing when you get these assignments is that's what they're trying to do. They're trying to try these different techniques. See what sticks keep you interested, keep you engaged.

Speaker 2:

Some kids like art projects, so we got to throw some art in with our history stuff so that we can keep those art kids, those creative minds, engaged. Some of these kids are the type that you know they can watch videos and they'll learn from that. So we're going to watch this video today and you know it's not going to work for everybody, but it's going to work for some of the kids. So, as much as it may seem like make busy work, it's really trying to cater to everyone out there and figure out how everybody learns best. And when you've got a class full of what 30 kids or something like that, you can't have 30 different ways to teach, so you kind of have to pick and choose some of the ones, the more mainstream ones, that that'll help the kids out.

Speaker 2:

I think that's probably what you're running into and for you, because you're you're like my developers If the teachers can't keep you engaged, you get bored and you dislike it. My developers are just like that, and it sounds like some of your teachers are not keeping you engaged. And you're the intelligent, creative kids are the ones that are really hard to keep engaged. Because you're the ones that you know you can figure things out very quickly. You know, I hand you a Rubik's cube and you solve it in five minutes. You're bored with it at that point.

Speaker 2:

What am I going to do? Then I start taking the colored stickers off of it and I started putting different colored stickers on there and seeing how you figure that one out. That's how you would do something like that. You know, give, let you think outside the box, because all the myths, all the techniques that we use to think inside the box you've already figured out. So you're going to get bored with it. And that's challenging for teachers, because most teachers have to teach from a curriculum that they don't define themselves and they're kind of bound by that. But the creative ones your chemistry teacher, I think, is one of the creative ones where he can react on the fly to how the kids are learning and he can be a little more adaptive. Not everybody's a good teacher like that.

Speaker 3:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

So you kind of have to take it with a grain of salt. We're going to take our second break here, and when we come back we're going to talk about the common types of unhealthy teen challenges. We'll be right back. We'll be right back.

Speaker 1:

Insights into Entertainment, a podcast series taking a deeper look into entertainment and media. Our husband and wife team of pop culture fanatics are exploring all things, from music and movies to television and fandom. We'll look at the interesting and obscure entertainment news of the week. We'll talk about theme park and pop culture news. We'll give you the latest and greatest on pop culture conventions. We'll give you a deep dive into Disney, star Wars and much more and much more. Check out our video episodes at youtubecom backslash insights into things, our audio episodes at podcastinsightsintoentertainmentcom, or check us out on the web at insightsintothingscom.

Speaker 3:

Welcome back to Insights into Teens. Today we're talking about the importance of being challenged, and now we're going to talk about common types of unhealthy teen challenges. While the pursuit of challenges is a natural aspect of development, the absence of constructive challenges can lead to the adoption of risky actions with potentially harmful consequences. Here are five primary categories of these risky actions, shedding light on the importance of fostering healthy challenges for adolescents' well-being.

Speaker 2:

The first we're going to talk about is violence or injury. The first category of risky actions pertains to behaviors that may lead to violence or injury. This encompasses actions such as physical altercations, bullying, weapon possession, self-harm and the contemplation or attempt of suicide. Adolescents who lack appropriate channels for challenge and self-expression may resort to these behaviors as a misguided way of asserting control, seeking attention or coping with emotional distress.

Speaker 3:

The second is unsafe sexual behaviors, which encompasses actions such as engaging in sexual activity at an early age, forgoing protection during intercourse and neglecting to undergo testing for sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, the consumption of alcohol or drugs before engaging in sexual activity heightens the risk associated with these behaviors. Unhealthy challenges in this context can stem from societal pressures, lack of comprehensive sex education and limited awareness to potential consequences.

Speaker 2:

Alcohol, drugs and tobacco use are. Another Third category encompasses a range of behaviors from alcohol consumption in any quality to binge drinking, prescription or illegal drug use, as well as smoking cigarettes or using chewing tobacco. Adolescents may gravitate toward these substances as a result of peer influence, curiosity or as a means of escape from stressors. The absence of meaningful challenges may contribute to the allure of such behaviors as a form of experimentation.

Speaker 3:

The fourth category pertains to unsafe driving or riding behaviors. This encompasses actions like texting while driving, driving under the influence of substances, failing to wear seatbelts or being in a vehicle with an impaired driver. Similarly, riding a bike under the influence or without proper safety gear falls within this category. The lack of constructive challenges can prompt adolescents to engage in these hazardous actions as a way of seeking excitement or asserting independence.

Speaker 2:

The final category concerns poor self-care behaviors. This involves inadequate attention to physical and mental well-being, including unhealthy eating habits, insufficient sleep, sedentary lifestyles and excessive screen time on social media and electronic devices. The absence of positive challenges and productive outlets may lead adolescents to neglect self-care, resulting in various health and emotional issues.

Speaker 3:

The innate drive of adolescents to seek challenges and take risks is a fundamental aspect of their developmental journey. However, when constructive challenges are lacking, adolescents may resort to unhealthy behaviors. Recognizing the correlation between the absence of healthy challenges and the adoption of risky actions is crucial in shaping interventions and programs that foster a balanced and constructive adolescent experience. By providing opportunities for positive challenges, society can contribute to the cultivation of responsible decision-making and the overall well-being of teenagers.

Speaker 2:

So what role do you think the absence of meaningful challenges plays in teenagers' decisions to experiment with substances like alcohol and tobacco?

Speaker 3:

Well, we actually recently did some drug projects in health when it came to like you pick a substance, you research it and you talk about the dangers and why you shouldn't be using it and so forth. And one of the categories we could talk about or topics related to our drug is who uses it and why. And adolescents, like in a lot of the substances, like adolescents would use them and they were like one of the target demographics for it. And I feel like because they would have like either they just wouldn't have healthy or had the absence of healthy challenges, it would pretty much like they would end up resorting to such substances as either a means of escape, as a way of like, just feeling like they were like in forms of like empowerment Because, again, like drugs kind of affect you mentally and physically and a lot of teens would probably use that in the sense of like, oh, I don't feel great right now, maybe I'll take this and it'll make me feel better, or it'll alter their perception of reality to make it seem better than it actually is.

Speaker 2:

That's a very good point, very well thought out. So there are healthy challenges for teens as well. The journey of adolescence is marked by a crucial need for healthy challenges to foster growth, with parents holding a pivotal role in guiding their teenagers towards constructive avenues that expand their horizons. A range of options exist for parents to facilitate these beneficial challenges.

Speaker 3:

One is outdoor adventure therapy, encompassing activities such as rock climbing, kayaking and ropes courses. These experiences are designed to cultivate problem-solving skills and self-reliance, leading to enhanced self-esteem and stronger interpersonal connections.

Speaker 2:

Engagement in sports. The realm of sports provides teenagers with an environment to test their physical and mental limits. Within a supportive framework, they can explore their capabilities and extend them to new boundaries.

Speaker 3:

Engaging in creative endeavors like art, theater and stand-up comedy presents teenagers with meaningful challenges. These challenges can gain prominence when they present their creative work to an audience, encouraging confidence and personal growth.

Speaker 2:

Activities such as indoor rock climbing, roller coaster rides and visits to theme parks offer teenagers a controlled outlet for their innate desire for excitement and thrill-seeking, Venturing into uncharted territories by learning new skills through lessons or partaking in family activities like river rafting opens avenues for teens to challenge themselves while enjoying familial support.

Speaker 3:

While encouraging healthy eating habits is beneficial, parents must tread carefully to prevent it from evolving into disordered eating behaviors, especially among those susceptible to eating disorders. Engaging in roles like camp counselors, club memberships or after-school classics exposes teenagers to unfamiliar environments, encouraging them to transcend their comfort zones.

Speaker 2:

And finally, we have embarking on travel adventures which you'll be going on in the not-too-distant future. The prospect of studying abroad or participating in group trips introduces teens to novel challenges and risks, enriching their growth through diverse experiences.

Speaker 3:

Teenagers are inherently inclined to seek challenges that stretch their boundaries and offer excitement. Parental guidance is paramount in channeling this natural inclination toward healthy challenges that facilitate growth while mitigating potential risks. By providing platforms for outdoor exploration, participation in sports, creative expression, controlled excitement, skill acquisition, balanced nutrition, social engagement and exploration through travel, parents can empower their teenagers to embark on a journey of personal development and self-empowerment.

Speaker 2:

So how can parents support their teenagers in exploring new activities and venturing in unfamiliar territories, while ensuring a balance between challenging experiences and safety?

Speaker 3:

Well, I think the idea is one of the main ones is finding a good balance between how involved the parent is, because you don't want to like completely hover over your kid the entire time and, like you know, dictate what exactly they're going to be challenged with, or like tell them how to face the challenges on their own, or just give them too many pointers and so forth. But you also don't want to completely throw them into a challenging situation without any sort of guidance, because that's a good way for them to engage in more dangerous activities as a result, without you know the proper guidance and way to at least have a little bit of a steering toward the right path now.

Speaker 2:

Do you think that mommy and I provide these challenges, these constructive challenges, to you in an appropriate manner and sufficient volume to keep you challenged? Do we not challenge you enough? Are we challenging you too much? What are your thoughts on that?

Speaker 3:

um, I feel like you guys like it's not an often sort of thing, but like you guys definitely try to provide challenges for me I either either challenge myself more than you guys do or I refuse to challenge myself. It's an interesting streak. Occasionally you guys will give me certain challenges to overcome, and most of the time I'm fine with that. Me certain challenges to overcome, and most of the time I'm fine with that. Most of my challenges and not challenging myself can usually come from myself. See, and in my experience.

Speaker 2:

There's really two types of challenges that you you tend to face. Either it's a creative, fun, artistic expressive creative, fun, artistic expressive type of challenge, like making a picture for a special occasion or something like that, and you excel at those. Then there's the uncomfortable challenges, where we try to kind of get you to step outside your boundaries, your comfort zones a little bit and expand your boundaries, and those like driving. You know, we try to make you drive as often as we can because I think it's an important learned skill that you should have, and there's a lot more resistance from you for these things. Do you agree with that? Do you think that there's challenges that you are always going to be resistant to unless it's kind of forced down your throat, and do you think there are certain challenges that if you enjoy them, they're not really challenges? That's kind of the concern that I have with the ones that you do enjoy doing. I don't think they're challenges to you at that point.

Speaker 3:

I don't think they're challenges to you at that point. I mean, that is kind of how it goes. I guess I really have nothing much to say on that. Yes, I am, Like I kind of mentioned before, I'm not really one that likes being challenged, Like, in certain instances I feel fine being challenged and others it's not fun and I don't like it.

Speaker 2:

Right, you'll find being challenged and others it's not fun and I don't like it right. Well, and that's like for mommy and I. The challenge to us not to keep using the word challenge, but I will it's finding out, one, how to challenge you in a way that you'll be accepting of it and two, finding a challenge for you that you can get something out of. Like, if I ask you to draw me a picture and you do it in your regular style, you're not getting anything out of that. But if I come to you and I say I need you to draw me a picture in this style and it's a style you've never done before You're very receptive to that. You'll accept the challenge that pushes your artistic boundaries. But if it's your comfort boundaries, you tend not to want to engage in those challenges. And I think maybe mommy and I need to challenge those comfort boundaries but in a less aggressive way, and maybe introduce you to expanding those boundaries in a more gradual way. Do you think something like that would be more effective?

Speaker 3:

I mean, maybe I don't really have.

Speaker 2:

You don't seem very enthusiastic. I'm not really enthusiastic, I appreciate my comfort zone.

Speaker 3:

Thank you very much. I understand that if you don't challenge me, then I'll probably just be forced into it and then I won't have anything. I won't have any way of how to manage it. But even then, it's like I have my comfort zone right now and I still don't want to leave it.

Speaker 2:

Well, and nobody wants to leave their comfort zone. That's why it's a comfort zone. But our comfort zones tend to silo us. They pigeonhole us, to silo us, they pigeonhole us. We can't really grow when we're always staying in our comfort zone, and I don't want to rip you out of that comfort zone and throw you into an uncomfortable situation. What I'd much rather do is kind of slowly and gradually increase the discomfort in your comfort zone so you can learn to expand a little bit more, and I think we may have not have found that scenario just yet. I think that's probably where we're working right now. But you know, you certainly do accept the challenges that we send to you. I don't think there's much of a problem there. That's about all we have. We're going to take a quick break, come back and we'll get your closing thoughts and finish up the podcast. We'll be right back.

Speaker 3:

All right. So to everyone out there, I just wanted to mention that challenges are a part of life and it's not really something we can entirely avoid. There can be very positive challenges that can help us grow as people and expand our horizons, but then if we don't have those positive challenges, we can usually take up more negative challenges and risks that can harm us more than they can help us. So much, like everything with life, you kind of have to find a good balance between both of them and hopefully you'll be able to grow as a person as you discover it.

Speaker 2:

All right, sage advice, as always. I think we're going to skip the plugs to the end here and we're getting kind of redundant with those and say that's it, another one in the books.

Speaker 3:

Bye everyone.

Speaker 2:

Bye, thank you.

Teen Challenge and Risk-Taking Behavior
Understanding Teen Behavior and Risk-Taking
Adolescents, Challenges, and Personal Growth
Challenges and Personal Growth in Adolescents
(Cont.) Challenges and Personal Growth in Adolescents
Unhealthy Teen Challenges and Parental Support