The teen brain is blowing up. Hyperconnected neural pathways between the amygdala, responsible for emotions, and the immature frontal lobe, responsible for reasoning, are lighting up as if it’s the 4th of July. The teen brain is, at age 18, physically complete, yet, complex developmental changes continue into the early 20’s, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The frontal lope responsible for putting the brakes on risk-taking, thrill-seeking impulses, is the last to develop.
Parents may observe their teen’s complex behaviors occurring during problem-solving. Frustrations pile up with dirty laundry, as a teen tries on 10 shirts before school. Teen brains gloss over weighing risks for the rush of immediate rewards, such as video gaming and texting into the wee hours on school nights. The next morning, the overly tired brain fails to remember to place homework in the backpack. In class, the teen realizes the error. Adrenaline explodes. Panic. Desperation. Anger. Sadness. Acceptance. A range of drama—all a day in the life of the average teenager.
Check out this month’s Parents Use Your Power Newsletter to learn more.