Important Facts About the Teenage Brain

I recently read a meme that made me laugh: The book we really needed was “What to Expect 17 Years After Expecting.”

The teenage years can be some of our most challenging as parents, but also some of our most rewarding. In a recent article entitled “The teenage brain: Seven things parents should know about adolescent behaviour” featured on Women’s Hour, BBC Radio, we can read about some of the characteristics that affect our teenagers. A few that I appreciated:

  • “The teenage brain undergoes a huge transition. Contrary to what was believed for many, many decades, the teenage brain in fact undergoes really substantial amounts of development, both in terms of its structure and its function throughout childhood, throughout adolescence and it only stabilizes around the mid-20s.” This can certainly explain how I saw much maturity from my oldest daughter by the age of 21.
  • “There is a biological reason why teenagers find it hard to get up. Essentially, their circadian rhythm is changing. We know that melatonin, which in humans is the hormone that makes us feel sleepy at night, is produced in the brain about two hours later during the teenage years, than during childhood or adulthood.” Gee, so I guess they aren’t just lazy 😉
  • “Long term health risks don’t scare teenagers. When we are worrying about the kinds of risks that adolescents take, research shows that focusing on the long-term health risks, or the long-term legal risks of decisions, does not work as well as focusing on the social consequences of those risky decisions. This is because the social world is really paramount to teenagers. They care very much what their friends think.” 

Knowing some of these facts can help to temper the frustration we sometimes feel when our teenagers are making impulsive choices or pushing back as a way to gather their independence. We are much better served to be flexible in our attitude towards what is proving to be a very important time in our children’s lives –  I still would have appreciated that book though 🙂

To read the full article: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/29h0HQPw8L8xJmyNh1Ss7Qb/the-teenage-brain-seven-things-parents-should-know-about-adolescent-behaviour

Photo credit: http://Photo by Eliott Reyna on Unsplash

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2 thoughts on “Important Facts About the Teenage Brain”

  1. My mother had some wisdom. After raising six of us she used to say that teenagers needed to sleep up to 12 hours at a stretch, her theory being that we were undergoing as much growth as a toddler, and actually weren’t lazy, as you would agree Kristine. I’m keeping in mind she was sharing this theory, about 40 years ago based on natural observation and anecdotal evidence. Kind of like Jane Goodall’s research on primates, only it was us! Lol

    • Haha! I guess having six children would give you lots of opportunity to observe and conclude. Sounds like your mom was a wise woman 🙂
      Thanks for sharing, Gurlie. You always have a gem of advice that is so relevant to the post.

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