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Psychologist discusses stress among teens during Penn Foundation lecture


Penn Foundation welcomed Dr. Michael Bradley, a Doylestown-based clinical psychologist and leading expert on adolescent behavior and parenting, as part of its Dr. Michael Peters Lectures Series on May 7.

An award-winning author of a 2017 book with the same name, Bradley spoke on the topic of “Crazy Stressed: Saving Today’s Overwhelmed Teens with Love, Laughter, and the Science of Resilience.”

Bradley discussed the many pressures that teens face today – increasing academic demands, time-consuming athletic and extracurricular commitments, screen addiction, cyber bullying, and sleep deprivation. When you add in mood swings, impulsiveness, poor judgment, and the other natural challenges that peak during adolescence, it’s no surprise that today’s teens rank as the most anxious in 50 years, and rates of depression, substance abuse, and suicide are on the rise.

“While teen brains are hardwired for risk-taking behaviors and overactive emotions, their coping abilities are at all-time lows,” said Bradley.

How can parents help? According to Bradley, build resilience. “Teens with this valuable quality know how to handle difficulty, overcome obstacles, and bounce back from setbacks.”

Bradley provided some practical strategies to help parents connect with their teens and build this life-saving resiliency. “Remember,” he said, “your children are watching you and your behavior. Raise the parent of your future grandchild.”