Judgment Call: Maturity, Emotions and the Teenage Brain


By Guest Blogger:  Amy Williams

Working day in and day out with a primarily teenage crowd can be a bit of a daunting task. Throughout the school system there are countless positions, situations, and jobs, which call for an understanding between an adult (usually an authority figure) and a teenage pupil.

Communicating with teenagers as an adult can sometimes require a combination of patience and know-how. While there is no one trick for this, there is certainly a required understanding of what sets us apart not only emotionally, but also biologically from the younger populace. Maturity does not simply come from experiences; it can happen over time as well.

Recent studies have shown that a child’s brain is not simply an adult brain with less life experiences. This belief has been responsible for the myriad failing systems for reaching children and young adults and helping them understand things from a different angle.

School authorities, educators, counselors, as well as parents would benefit from broadening their knowledge on the teenage brain.

When meeting with students, and especially when trying to help or better understand them, it would be wise to do so under the pretense that their minds are truly working in a different way than yours, and to remember that yours once worked that way as well.

We now know that the frontal lobe does not finish its maturation process until a person reaches around 25 years of age. During this time, the thought-processing center is still at an impressionable period.

While many of us have heard this factoid, it is of equal importance to take a look at the rest of the young developing brain and learn, (or remind ourselves for those already in the know), that a teenager’s brain is ripe with changes and imbalances.

The field of child and adolescent psychology is still progressing, and more is being discovered every year. What we have now is a great understanding of why younger people act or think the way they do, and the biological process behind “growing out” of things.

Take a look at this infographic “Judgment Call: Maturity, Emotions, and the Teenage Brain” for a succinct look at the adolescent brain as it grows and develops. From the hormones that help dictate at teens emotional experiences, to how adults interpret emotion differently than their young counterparts, it provides a glimpse of what we know regarding the teenage brain.



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