Mya Dunlop is a frequent FHIXer, mom to 3, and Founder & CEO of Teen Brain Trust. The organization aims to reframe the way adults view and interact with teens and adolescents using fundamental neuroscience. They give adults the tools they need to support teens through adolescence healthily, happily, and with autonomy. Learn more below!
How long have you been taking classes at Fhitting Room?
I’ve been taking classes at Fhitting Room for years (not sure exactly when I started).
What keeps you coming back?
I have always been into fitness and group fitness classes. I remember doing aerobics classes in the 90s. I was very into spinning but then would find myself doing double spin classes and not feeling strong. We know as we age strength training is one of the most important things we can do. After trying kettlebells, I fell in love!! I have never gotten a better work out. My heart absolutely races from a 10 minute EMOM of 10 swings with my 28kg. I just was able to get my snatch with a 18KG, which I have been working on. I did not know how to snatch pre COVID and now I am loving the snatch! Such a full body exercise. I have never felt stronger! I now have a collection of kettlebells.
Tell us about your first FHIX!
I don’t remember my first FHIX but I remember one with Eric that was actually 3 FHIXes. It was Awesome!
FHIX #1: 21-15-9
KB Goblet cleans
KB Goblet Squats
FHIX #2: 21-15-9
Plank Pull Through
FHIX #3: 21-15-9
What inspired Teen Brain Trust? Tell us about that beginning journey.
When he was 5 years old my oldest son was diagnosed with dyslexia and I got introduced to this whole world of neuroscience and behavioral therapy. Understanding my kids’ behavior through what their brain was going through developmentally became my MO for parenting.
My 3 boys are now 20,17, & 14, and I have pretty much seen it all. Any parent with a teenager knows that the game totally changes as soon as they hit adolescence. The parenting tools and tricks that worked when they were younger become defunct and it’s like you’ve got to learn how to parent all over again. Unfortunately conversations at the playground where you can compare notes with other parents disappear by that time and there are precious few parenting resources for parents of teens.
Luckily, I already had my network of behavioral experts to draw on. Parenting adolescents is hard because you don’t know what will trigger them or set them off. They’re so enigmatic, as a parent you’re just like ‘what do I do with this’? But the more I learned about the adolescent brain and development the more my teens made sense. The more confidence I had in the direction they were going and I felt like I finally had a handle on how to guide and influence them.
I made it my job to translate the work of all these amazing neuroscientists and behavioral experts and make it available, digestible, and applicable to all parents.
What will parents of teens walk away with after taking the course?
Parents of teens will walk away with knowledge and tools to motivate and communicate more effectively with their teens. A lot of resistance parents face from teens comes from internal, biological triggers. Once you know what’s going on in the teen brain it becomes way easier to work with.
We also cover multiple scenarios of how to address specific scenarios (ex. What to do when your teen asks you about drugs).
Finally, we host regular live Q&A sessions with our experts so parents can get pointed feedback on what they’re running up against.
Learn more about our course here.
What is the most common misconception about parenting the teenage years?
There’s this general feeling about teenagers that they’re troublesome or problematic. You never tell people that you have a teenager and hear ‘Wow, you’re so lucky, what a wonderful age!’. But it’s a shame because it really is one of the most wonderful stages of growth. Adolescence is the 2nd most important phase of neurological development after early childhood. Teen brains are suped up and hardwired for learning and personal growth. We want more people to celebrate adolescence for what it really is, the age of opportunity. We speak to this a little more in our article, ‘Why to be a HopePunk Parent’.
What's some advice on keeping teens motivated, especially in a year where consistency was hard to find?
The fantastic thing about teens is that they’re naturally very motivated and driven. The trouble for parents is, teens are not often motivated and driven to do what their parents think they should be doing.
The key is to figure out how to harness their internal motivation. Ask a lot of open ended questions. If you want to motivate them to get off screens and get outside more (for example) ask them what they wish they could be doing outside. Then ask more questions to guide them towards actions they could take. Teens yearn to be independent so an important part of motivating them is letting them come up with their own solutions instead of telling them what they should do.
As a parent, how does consistently working out help to keep you feeling your best?
Thanks to neuroscience, we know that working out releases a lot of feel good chemicals into our brain and body. Working out literally helps us feel good. It helps us mentally relax, clear our heads, shift our perspective, and take a huge exhale, which every parent needs. All of that is like a reset button that helps us be patient and really supportive to our teens and anything they are going through.