I think the main take-home message of this article is that the part of the brain that modulates planning, risk-taking, and emotion is not fully formed yet. That area of the brain will continue to develop until your child is in their mid-twenties. Keep in mind that this does not have anything to do with intelligence. Just because your adolescent is smart, does NOT mean that he or she is able to modulate his or her behavior. My favorite quote from this article is, "very smart adolescents will do very stupid things in a very impulsive way". This is absolutely (and unfortunately) accurate. So be patient with your teen and take the time to understand how to support his or her brain formation. Don't tell them how to do everything, allow them to struggle a bit, but scaffold for them and guide them so they don't fall completely flat on their face. Every teen is different so pay attention to what your teen needs, but recognize that you are not alone in your frustration. ALL adolescents go through this. However, if you see signs of a deeper problem, such as a mental health issue do NOT ignore it. This is not something that will just go away on its own and the earlier the intervention, the more successful the treatment is likely to be. Contact me or another mental health professional with these concerns.
Enjoy the article and comment here, tweet me @fpschDrSweeney, or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Monday everyone!