Your Amazing Teenage Brain
Most people know that bodies change during puberty, but do you know what happens to your brain? During adolescence (or the teenage years) your brain goes through a massive re-structure that helps to prepare you for becoming an adult. This process takes some time and full brain maturity isn’t reached until around 25 years old. During this development the pre-frontal cortex is the very last part of your brain to mature. This is the part responsible for logic, reasoning, forward planning and regulating our responses. So there’s actual science behind why young people sometimes take more risks, why their emotions can feel so intense and why it can be hard for them to see the bigger picture when they’re making plans or decisions.
Adolescent brain changes are vital for survival. They help you to develop the skills you need to be an “adult”, like independent thinking and problem solving. There are pros and cons linked to these changes and knowing more about them can help you to understand yourself, your behaviour and your feelings. Lots of young people might get frustrated by things like becoming less co-ordinated, finding it hard to sleep or wake up, or having more arguments at home. Understanding that these can be linked to brain development might help you to find solutions and be kind to yourself when things feel overwhelming.
It’s not all doom and gloom! Adolescent brain development also creates lots of great opportunities – it helps you to think creatively, work out who you are, build relationships and be passionate about life and new experiences. Young people have a unique way of looking at the world that is much less rigid than adults. That might explain why communication with parents, carers and others can sometimes be tough – we really do see the world differently.
You can find out more about how your brain changes and what impact this might have in the video below. If you have any questions or worries about this stuff please ask or come along to our 121 service for an online chat.