What we now know about the teenage brain may surprise you. It is definitely a work in progress. The study of the brain (neuroscience) has made great strides over the past decade due to the development of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that provides accurate pictures of the living, growing brain and of molecular biology.
We once thought that the brain was fully formed by the end of childhood, but research has shown that adolescence is a time of profound brain growth and change.
We now know:
Between childhood and adulthood the brain’s “wiring diagram ” becomes more complex and more efficient, especially in the brain’s prefrontal cortex.
The greatest changes to the parts of the brain that are responsible for impulse-control, judgement, decision-making, planning, organization and involved in other functions like emotion, occur in adolescence. This area of the brain (prefrontal cortex) does not reach full maturity until around age 25!
Adult response to stimuli tends to be more intellectual, while teens’ is often more “from the gut.”
The fastest growing group for suicide is youth aged 10 to 14.
Unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death of adolescents.
What’s REALLY important: 1) your relationship with your kids, 2) the BIG stuff (not the small stuff).
From: “The Adolescent Brain: A Work in Progress” by Weinberger, Elvevag and Giedd. June 2005