The teenage brain: still under construction
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What does this mean? Research suggests that, as smart as they are, teens don’t access their frontal lobes as frequently as adults do. Parents’ lectures become background when competing with electric, adrenaline-filled, charged up activity. Boring for teens is mega bad. Their brains are wired to seek out thrills, court danger, take a dare, as they convince themselves that nothing bad is ever going to happen.
So, if you have raised a considerate, caring, well-mannered kid and now have a surly, rude alien being on your hands, know you are not alone. The more you lecture your teen, the more he (or she) will have a tendency to blow you off. Some do it defiantly (Get out of my face, ma). Some. sarcastically (Yeah, you always know best, ma). Others, passive aggressively (You’re right dad and then does as he pleases.)
As bright as the young people are today, there are still scads of things they do not know that adults have down pat. This is not their fault. They are “baby adults.” Knowledge can smooth the transition, but it is mostly time and life experiences that will guide young people into mature adulthood.
I do not intend to insult the intelligence of young people. Indeed, many of them are super smart and have a great deal of savoir faire. They are equipped with skills and self-confidence that one can only envy. Still, these kids have “aged out” of childhood without successfully transitioning to the social roles, decision-making and myriad responsibilities of adulthood.
We adults should not confuse looking like an adult, talking like an adult, even acting like an adult with being an adult.
Linda Sapadin, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice who works with individuals, families and couples to help them overcome self-defeating patterns of behavior. You can reach her at DrSapadin@aol.com. Visit her website at www.PsychWisdom.com