The Teenage Brain 

 

Research suggests that during the teen years the brain goes through significant changes and these changes can often continue well into adulthood. Unused connections in the brain are pruned away and others are strengthened.

 

                                                     

 

All this pruning activity happens at the back of the brain whereas the front part, called the pre-frontal cortex, which is used to help us plan, think and regulate emotions, develops last. When it comes to making decisions, young people may often rely on a part of the brain called the amygdala. But this bit of the brain is designed to help us survive so is much more responsive to emotions, impulses and aggression.

 

So what does this mean?

During this period adolescents can sometimes be more prone to riskier behaviour, act impulsively or be more likely to have emotional outbursts. This doesn’t mean that young people shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions but it’s good for parents to understand that the teenage brain is going through these changes because it can help to explain some of the behaviour that adults find difficult.  

                                      

Video - Sarah-Jayne Blakemore: The mysterious workings of the adolescent brain - https://www.ted.com/talks/sarah_jayne_blakemore_the_mysterious_workings_of_the_adolescent_brain