“What Were You Thinking?!”
You climb into your automotive, flip the key within the ignition, and are assaulted by rap music so loud the car windows are vibrating. You just know your hearing will never be the same.
Blame it on the amygdala!
It is a record-breaking frigid day. You’re worrying concerning the pipes bursting and your teen is going to school without their jacket. You ask them where they place it is and you get a clean look, then, “Oh, it’s in the car” or “It is in my locker at school”.
Blame it on the amygdala!
While you’re muttering to yourself, ”What is she thinking?!” your teen’s is having a field-day. Now, confess: You might be wondering the amygdala is all about, its a brand new type of drug, don’t you? No, the amygdala is an almond-shaped part of the brain, nestled deep in the back, that just about who controls the way our teenagers act for their middle-school and high-school years. So the subsequent time you are able to bellow, “WHAT on the planet were you thinking while you did that?”, remember this intriguing reality: Teenagers are NOT thinking the best way adults suppose to think because they completely, positively cannot do that yet. Adolescent brains simply aren’t ” hard wired” like grownup brains.
Researchers not too long ago found that adults think with the prefrontal cortex, the rational part of the brain; teens process data with the amygdala, the instinctual, emotional part of the brain. Teens don’t think, ”Binge drinking could be very harmful and stupid.” Relatively, it is ”Oh, boy, a chugging contest! Wouldn’t it be cool if I won?”
What the Expert Say
Up until 1997, typical thinking, heralded through the White House Conference on Early Learning and Childhood Development, held that the greatest time of brain development occurred earlier than the age of 18 months, and was set forever by the age of three. However scientists spent the next years scanning teenagers’ brains in a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine and discovered that the prefrontal cortex, which makes people ”act like an adult,” isn’t fully developed in a teen until after the age of 18.
So parents watch their teenagers whiz through life manipulated by the wild whims of the amygdala, home to primal feelings such as rage, fear, and impulse. And to complicate issues much more, the amygdala gangs up with all kinds of hormones, and pumps them through puberty-ravaged bodies, making them unpredictable, moody, and seemingly irrational. It’s a constant battle to see if the still-developing prefrontal cortex can head off the amygdala and shout: ”Stop! Use good judgement on this one! Think about what can happen!”
And that is why teenagers parade by adolescence doing all these issues that keep dad and mom up at night. Sneaking out late at night. Moving from hysterics to hugs in warp-speed. Flaunting purple hair. Binge drinking, sampling medication, and smoking cigarettes. Ready till the final minute to do the term paper..and the checklist goes on and on.
However simply because they could not naturally think before they act is not an excuse for bedlam in the course of the teenage years.
So, what’s should parents needs to do?!
Ideas for Parents
”Adolescence is a time when every little thing is out of kilter, and nothing is stable in the body or mind. It’s the second time that children act like they’re two years old,” laughs Ruth Kraus, Ph.D, assistant professor of scientific psychology at the College of Chicago’s Youngster Psychiatry Clinic. ”The distinction is that after they’re young you say, ‘They’re only kids. Give them a break.’ But after they’re teenagers you expect them to behave like adults…and they’re not.”
Her recommendation? Parents must step in because the “designated” prefrontal cortex and dispense common sense, guidance, and advice. In other words, don’t just walk away out of your teen and assume that he or she is ready to make all the decisions without your input.
- Empathize and let your teen perceive or understand that impulses are hard to fight, however the end outcomes could be disastrous. Teens should take the time to ponder vital decisions and weigh the available options. They need to have a look at both sides of an issue and think about the consequences.
- Assist them get organized with calendars and planners. Educate them to jot down down deadlines, meetings, and dates after which post them in visible places. Help them understand that waiting till the very last minute to complete an important assignment is a sure bet for stress and disappointment.
- Be there for them. Remind your teens that while you’re not running their lives anymore, you are ALWAYS available for advice and help, no matter what comes up with it.
- Develop a sense of humor! Enjoy your teenagers as they turn into adults. After all, you can always blame it on the amygdala, you’re right?
AUTHOR: Barbara Cooke