Being a teenager is hard. A lot of pressure is poured in by society and even worst no adult seems to understand this particular time of life. Teenagers are often labeled as reckless, impulsive and moody and are further pressurized to act as adults. *I mean already?*
The Science Behind A Teenager Acting As An Teen:
The teenage years are second critical period of human development. It was discovered in early 2000’s that teenagers fail to act as a mature adult because brain is not fully developed till under mid 20’s.
The frontal lobes, responsible for judgment, insight, empathy and decision making, are among the last areas to complete myelination (a forming process to allow nerve impulses to move more quickly) which explains how teenagers are wired to take risks but may also be clueless in a difficult situation.
“Teenagers do better when they’re focusing on a single task rather than on multiple tasks. That’s important for teenagers to know because they’ll still suffer the consequences of divided attention for encoding and recall of information.”, says Dr. Frances Jensen, chair of the University of Pennsylvania neurology department.
Even the brain reward system activation is increased and then goes back to normal in adulthood due to which a teenager is prone to peer pressure. This should be remembered whenever you pep talk a teenage through difficult times, they can not snap out of pressure because the brain is just not wired to do so.
Impulsiveness comes because teenagers are able to reason through but the split-second decisions are vulnerable and under emotional influence. The FMRI show that since the frontal lobe is still developing, the amygdala, the limbic system (emotional area) light up faster in teenagers which make them highly emotionally responsive as compared to adults which by the way also contributes to the moody attitude unlike how we blame the hormones for moodiness. Yes, the imbalance between frontal lobe and limbic system is more responsible for mood swings than hormones.
Teenagers also have trendy to form persistence memories as compared to adults and are more prone to adopt a bad habit because they are primed and equipped to learn. “They are also exceedingly vulnerable to learning the wrong things,” says a neurologist Dr. Jensen, author of The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults.
The time period of 18-25 is the vulnerable and important because the brain an individual has to live with rest of life is in last developing stages. Adults must assist and allow this age group to let explore and learn which will help in healthy development.