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'Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains' really interesting interview with a neuroscientist about how the

(6 Posts)
Longstocking2 Wed 20-Apr-16 12:35:38

the teenage brain works. It makes me feel more compassionate for my ds and the challenges he faces.


Try to listen to this if you are struggling with your teen, it helped me.

Maryz Wed 20-Apr-16 12:38:03

Just placemarking to listen later, thanks.

I have three teenagers (well one is 22 now) and I am only now getting to grips with how their brains work (all differently) and how and why they make the mistakes they do.

It's ten years this year since ds1 went off the rails, and if I knew then what I knew now I would have managed it so much better, and we would all be so much happier sad

Longstocking2 Wed 20-Apr-16 12:45:12

Maryz, huge empathy, I keep getting angry with my ds but this neurosurgeon says that we shouldn't stress them out too much.

My poor ds and his year are going to be the first to do the new GCSE so the year and the teachers are totally stressed out!

I think this science helps explain why a teenager can be hard to reach at times.

And the really fascinating thing is how much more prone to addiction the teenage brain is than the older brain. It's plasticity makes it perfect to establish addictive systems. And the damage binge drinking does to memory in a growing brain is much much greater than in an established brain!

I wonder if Mr Gove read this when he redesigned this month's schooling system.

corythatwas Wed 20-Apr-16 15:26:18

Just to play devil's advocate, I think it is fair to point out that not all teens are affected in the same way- and not all adults grow out of the same behaviours. I think there is a risk of seeing everything a teen does through that perspective, whilst adults exhibiting similar behaviours are accorded some kind of rationality.

I remember reading about teen hormones and mood swings when doing a course in child development at secondary. At the time my role in the family was very much that of emotional prop/unofficial therapist for my dm who was going through the menopause. Someone in the family had an excitable brain, but it certainly wasn't me hmm I basically did whatever it took to restore peace, so I could get back to my books (and to be fair, because I loved her and wanted her to be happy).

I have since gone through the menopause. I didn't experience any mood swings then either basically, I'm as dull as ditchwater

My dm otoh, while calmer than she was, is still noticeably more excitable and unpredictable than me.

In my family, it doesn't seem to be so much about ages as about personalities: we are basically divided into take-after-father and take-after-mother: the people who were excitable aged 15 are still prone to flouncing and door slamming at 50; the ones who don't do it at 50 didn't do it when they were 15 either.

corythatwas Wed 20-Apr-16 15:31:37

What I am trying to say is, I think, it is the middle-aged people who study teen behaviour, not the other way round. And it is socially acceptable to speak openly about irrational teen behaviour, involving individual named teens, but not about similarly irrational adult behaviour.

I remember slipping up badly about this at an extended family gathering when the talk fell on difficult teen behaviour and my dm said (very sweetly) that one thing she really appreciated about her teens was that they never flounced and slammed doors. And before I could stop myself I blurted out "no, there is only one person in the family who does that". And then I realised that I SHOULD NOT HAVE SAID THAT. Because when it's an adult, it's different and you can't just mention that openly in the same way. I still cringe at the memory, not because there were any repercussions, but because I just felt that I had overstepped a line. These things WE DO NOT TALK ABOUT. But I do wonder sometimes if that doesn't distort perceptions.

Longstocking2 Thu 21-Apr-16 11:59:58

I think this scientific research is most useful when looking at how we treat the mass of teenagers, I think individuals will hugely vary.

But if you are looking at the pressure we put on teenagers in school and then look at this neurologist's assertion that stress in teenagers significantly increase their chance for adult depression - then it makes me wonder about what questions we need to ask to understand what our young people need and if there is anything we could do to decrease the pressure and promote good mental health.

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