Understanding The Teenage Brain
Have you felt that your teenaged son or daughter is a stranger to you? Do you find yourself trying hard to understand their actions and decisions? There may be a scientific reason for this. For the past 25 years, several neurological studies have been performed. They all seem to agree that parts of the brain mature at different times.
“Of all the organs in our bodies, the brain takes the longest to develop. Frontal lobes—the seat of judgment—are the last pieces to be fully connected to the parts of the brain that sense danger or solve calculus problems. A growing body of neuroscientific evidence places full brain maturity at about age 25, well past the point when young people begin to drive, drink, vote and go off to war.”-The Boston Globe, 2010.
One example of this is the frontal cortex, responsible for planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making and moderating social behavior, which matures late in a child’s development. It’s possible that the delay in the formation of the frontal cortex may be linked to the reason why teens take more risks, often acting more impulsively than their older counterparts.
Because of this, decision-making is “inconsistent” in adolescence. “’It’s kind of like a learning disorder. They’re so strong in one area and weak in another,” says one teacher. However, the ability to learn is heightened for teenagers. As a parent, understanding these strengths and weaknesses can help with understanding your teenager.
BrainStyles can help your teenager understand how his or her brain works, as well as how other people learn and process information. Knowing this will better equip them to handle new situations. One college student said:
I’ve learned that my brainstyle mandates how I learn and I’m amazed how it exactly describes me. As a college student, I’m bombarded daily with new situations and my brainstyle has really been busy this freshman year! This has been such helpful information and I’m approaching difficult new situations and decisions with much more confidence and direction as a result.
As your teen leaves home for college this year, they will experience many new things. By understanding how they learn and process information, you can better prepare them for decision-making away from home.