The Teen Brain

brainThis week I will focus my posts on the teen age set. This is a very unique and key developmental time period in one’s life.

The teen brain is not fully developed. There is a definite connection between the undeveloped areas of the brain and typical teen behavior. The prefrontal cortex continues to develop well into the 20’s. This area weighs outcomes, forms judgments and controls impulses.

Teens also register emotion differently than adults. Teens and adults use different parts of the brain to process what they are feeling. Teens rely mostly on the amygdala, a small almond shaped region in the medial and temporal lobes that processes memory and emotions. For adults, they rely more on the frontal cortex which governs reason and forethought.

Basically there are neurobiological reasons that teens and adults often disagree. They really do process completely differently. It is really important to understand these differences when parenting teens. Knowledge really is power.

Another really difference for parents to be aware of is in the area of sleep. Teen sleep cycles are often reversed. Many teens are operating during the day in a sleep deprived “fog”.

Understanding the developmental issues of the teen and practicing effective communication will set the stage for success in terms of your relationship with your teen during these critical years.

Keep reading this week as I discuss more about how you can stay connected with your teen during this critical time period in their life.

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