Blame It on the Brain

dcmntosYour 12-year-old jumps off the roof and onto the trampoline, heedless of the danger of broken bones.  Your 14-year-old experiments with dumping six rolls of Mentos into a gallon of Diet Coke – inside your kitchen.  For years I have explained to parents that this kind of behavior is due to unbalanced brain development.

The back part of the teen brain, the part that says, “You know what would be cool/fun/exciting?” is much more active than the front part, which says “Not a good idea – you could get hurt/paralyzed/dead.”  Asking your teen “What were you thinking?” after the fact will get you the same results as asking your dog why he chewed up the couch:  a blank stare and shoulders hunched in guilt.

I read an article this week on the website of one of my favorite magazines, Mental Floss, which gave brain-related explanations for other teen behavior, including giving in to peer pressure (it actually activates the reward center of their brains), being overly emotional (they have a hard time reading faces and may mistake your look of confusion for one of disgust), and spaciness (their brains are rearranging themselves, much as they did when they were toddlers).

Knowing that much of what they do is caused by their goofy brains, can make their annoying behavior a little more tolerable.  It doesn’t give them an excuse to be lazy or disrespectful or irresponsible, but it may help the adults who deal with them to be a little more patient and understanding.

At least – every other day or so.

You can read the entire article by clicking here: 5 Reasons Teenagers Act the Way They Do