The experiences we have throughout this period shape our brains so that when we reach maturity, we are more mature and logical because of it. This continuous reshaping creates mental instability over time, which is the root cause of the many shifts.
The limbic system, which includes the hippocampus and amygdala and is responsible for emotions, rewards, and motivation, is one of the most unstable parts of the brain. The frontal area of the brain, located directly in front of the limbic system, is in charge of thinking and making decisions. Because these two areas are initially unconnected, young adolescents often rely on their limbic system while making choices, which causes them to be emotionally charged. Adolescents gradually grow more logical when the limbic system connects to the frontal cortex throughout adolescence, utilizing the frontal areas instead of the amygdala to make choices (the main emotional center of the limbic system). It takes time for these two areas to come together, so adolescents are prone to making unwise choices depending on how they are feeling at the moment. The worst thing is that it can be very stressful and be one of the causes of hair loss in teens.
Teenagers should be aware of the changes taking place in their brains because of this. We will be better able to identify our emotions and try to actively minimize their effect on our thinking if we are aware of all the development that is taking place and the consequent changes in behavior. Learning about the teenage brain is the most excellent place to start if you want to achieve success.
There is no doubt in our minds that as adolescents, we are prone to acting on impulse and making bad choices that we later regret. On the other hand, some psychology research suggests that peer pressure amplifies this hazardous conduct even more.
Adolescence is a formative time for the limbic system, the brain responsible for emotion regulation. Another part of the brain, the prefrontal cortex, is critical for decision-making, grows considerably slower throughout adolescence. The prefrontal cortex thus helps to restrain hazardous conduct that is prompted by limbic brain activity. Because adolescents spend most of their free time with other teenagers, they want their peers to hold them in high esteem. Pals will stick with those who are “cool” to stay friends. As a result, they become more irrational in their behavior.
According to the research, while in a driving simulation, teenagers were 1.5 times more likely than older teens to take risks than when driving alone. The ventral striatum and the orbitofrontal cortex, both of which are reward regions in the brain, become more active. This demonstrates the dangers of peer pressure, not just for the teenager but also for others around them. It’s critical for adolescents to understand how their brains are developing to withstand social pressure better. Conversely, adolescents should realize that their risky conduct isn’t always their fault. They aren’t terrible or stupid; instead, they should use these lessons as learning opportunities to mature and become responsible adults.
Adolescents and young adults can benefit from the processes outlined above, but keep in mind the following:
- Keep your cool. When we respond to the emotions of a teenager, things become worse. Keep your cool and wait for them to gather their thoughts. Keep them involved by working to provide dignity instead of humiliation. It’s the most acceptable method to do it.
- Don’t make snap judgments based on how they respond. Respect them and show empathy while dealing with a tough person.
- Pay attention attentively. As you can recall,” I went through a period when… I can well see why you’d feel that way.”
- Look for nonverbal signals and secondary behavior. When they’re upset, adolescents often want to know that someone is listening to them. Therefore, let them express themselves.
- Avoid using clichés. Avoid saying, “Well, at least you’re not living on the street” or “You’re fortunate to be around still.” These statements reflect toxic positivity, and you can replace them with accepting statements that will allow them to describe what they’re feeling.
- Understand their emotions. Before recommending a course of action, learn why they are upset, dissatisfied, or frightened.
Acquiring knowledge is the most significant step in finding a solution. Family tension would be non-existent if parenting were simple. As families expand and children enter adolescence, we must all change and adapt along the way. What matters most is being the parent and maintaining open communication with your children, no matter what they do or say.