The tee n brain

My teen and I are getting into power struggles. From my point of view, he’s been making a lot of bad decisions. What’s going on here? Is this behavior due to my parenting, his peers or his biology?

To make decisions, children and teens rely on a part of the brain linked to emotion and stress. Adults, on the other hand, can more easily access the part of the brain that helps make reasoned, informed decisions.

For the logical and emotional parts of the brain to talk to each other, we need a white fatty substance called myelin. In kids, it’s not all there yet – and it won’t be until they’re in their mid-20s. Until then, kids have a greater tendency to act emotionally and excitedly. That’s good for helping them get involved in learning new things. But it also makes them more impulsive, quicker
to take risks and less likely to see the consequences of their actions.

Until the brain is fully connected, adults can be the center of reason. As a parent, remain involved and engaged with your teen. Try to help him talk through his decisions and learn from his mistakes. Be a role model for good decision making. And most of all, keep the patience flowing.

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