The Teenage Brain

Ah. The teen years. Often a time of great anxiety and stress for both the teen and their concerned parents. I remember giving my parents quite a few gray hairs when I was younger. Now, I have a son who is a freshman in high school. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t worried. Every parent hopes their child will make it through unscathed until they reach a more mature and stable point in their development. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they succumb to peer pressure, stress, and emotional or mental health problems. As parents, we do the best we can. This article in Time Health shares some of the latest research on the teen brain. We already know that this is a vulnerable age that may place a young person on various paths for their future. The article shares how brain development is very unique for young people and why they may have difficulty in certain areas such as emotions and addictions. The author, Alexandra Sifferlin, suggests sharing this kind of information with young people may help them to understand themselves better as well. Sifferlin writes, “This new understanding of the biology that underlies these behaviors can be helpful to both teenagers and their parents. Jensen and Casey stress the importance of setting examples of appropriate emotional responses and helping young people navigate difficult situations that are increasingly common among teens and adolescents.”
Though young people face many challenges on the journey to adulthood, we can try to help turn these situations into learning experiences. Their future is not certain, as with time they may change. Some simple tips such as helping teens to get enough sleep could also help them throughout the day. This is a common struggle and one I deal with myself. My son has to wake up before 6 am and go to the bus stop in the dark every morning. He often does not get to sleep as early as he should. Hopefully, this article may inspire some hope. Young people have a lot of growing and changing to do. We can be there to help guide them. Getting outside help when needed is also a great way to point young people in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to embrace whatever support you can find.