Tag Archives: pre-frontal cortex

“You just don’t understand!” ~ a teen’s lament

Sound familiar? And I have to agree. We don’t understand. Most of us have locked away the pains of our teen years and approach this raising children business with a hindsight perspective (read, I now know better). Teens feel misunderstood, angry and detached from the most important people in their lives when their parents appear clueless to what is important to them.

Parents are at their wit’s end with fear and worry about their children’s activities (or inactivities) once parental supervision is reduced. We want the best for them. We want them to be safe and smart and make good decisions. We want them to do well in school so they have opportunities for success in life. It drives us crazy when we see that “I don’t care” attitude at our cautions.

Brain research tells us that the prefrontal cortex is not complete until age 25, which means the ability to look ahead, gauge the consequences of particular choices, and make decisions based on those assumptions is trumped by the excitement of risky activities. And what’s more—this delay is apparently biologically important for the evolution of the species. (Learn more in Dan Siegel’s, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.)

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