Ever had a time when it seemed your teenager had turned into someone you no longer recognised? Worse still, actually resembled an alien from another planet?
You are not crazy and, the good news is, neither is your teenager. Neuroanatomist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, famous for a TED talk explaining her stroke in excruciating detail, now brings us fascinating insights into the evolving brain of the growing teenager. She energetically explains the teen brain’s stages of development, reminding us that the pre-frontal cortex of the brain doesn’t actually become fully functional until well after those painful teen years – not until age twenty-five. The pre-frontal cortex is responsible for things like planning ahead, impulse control, the ability to understand the consequences of behaviour and indeed, the appropriateness of behaviour. And on top of these challenges, the kind of confusion teenagers feel have them be particularly vulnerable to trying to make themselves feel better – oh, the wonder of alcohol, nicotine and worse. No wonder parenting a teen can be nightmarish.
I love her mantra “keep ’em alive ’til twenty-five”!