Modern times have brought parenting challenges unimagined a generation ago. Thankfully, the last decade has produced a ton of research about the teen brain.
“Scientists believed—incorrectly, as it turned out—that brain growth was pretty much complete by the time a child started kindergarten; this is why for the past two decades parents of infants and toddlers, trying to get a jump on their children’s education, have inundated their kids with learning tools and accessories like Baby Einstein DVDs and Baby Mozart Discovery Kits. But the adolescent brain? Most people thought it was pretty much like an adult’s, only with fewer miles on it. The problem with this assumption is that it was wrong. Very wrong”.
Misconceptions about Teenagers/Adolescents
According to Neuroscientist Frances Jensen, there are several serious misconceptions we’ve had about teenagers and the teenage brain.
- Teens are impulsive and emotional because of surging hormones
- Teens are impulsive and emotional because they want to be difficult and different
- If teens get involved with drugs, drinking, and sex, their brains are resilient and they will rebound without suffering permanent effects
- The die is cast at puberty: the IQ or apparent talents in teenagers stay that way for the rest of their life
“Again, all wrong. The teen brain is at a very special point in development…there are unique vulnerabilities of this age window, but there is also the ability to harness exceptional strengths that fade as we enter into adulthood….Functioning, wiring, capacity—all are different in adolescents”.
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