How To Understand Teenage Brain Development?


From the very first time that you held your baby in your arms till now, there have been many phases and changes that you have seen in your little one. Being a tiny infant to a toddler to a naughty and inquisitive child, the growth of a baby is truly fascinating.

As parents, we try to understand each of these phases, in a way that is age-appropriate and will help us connect better with our kids. One phase though, that parents have been struggling to understand, is the teenage years.

Understanding Your Teens:

The teenage brain is more like a sponge. It soaks in as much as you want it to. As a parent you need to take special care towards your teenage child. This is the age when habits will be formed for life, and it is your responsibility to steer your child towards the good ones. It is important for you to monitor, supervise and guide your child through his teens. We have comprised this section in the following way to help you understand your teen better:

  • The teen years are a phase when the
    brain is developed to a certain extent, but not enough to act mature in all situations. As most parents can vouch, it is one of the most difficult times for any child, as well as the parents.
  • The teenage is a crucial time in your child’s development. It is a time when the changes in your child’s body, energy and mind are at its peak. And most often than not, this creates a contradiction and leads to a lot of confusion, which is normal.
  • One thing that can further aggravate the situation is the fact that most parents lack sufficient knowledge about these developments, mainly emotional and otherwise and hence cannot understand the child fully.

Ask a parent of a teenager how they feel about their teen and they would invariably sound worried and scared. But ever wondered why your teens behave the way they do? The answer lies in teenagers brain development.

[ Read: Teenage Behaviour ]

How Does A Teenage Brain Work?

Brain development in teenagers involves various stages and to understand the behavior better, it is important to understand these stages first.

1. Still Under Construction:

Your teenager’s brain is a work in progress. Though development happens in certain areas, there are various sections of the brain that still function as a child, as opposed to others that think more maturely. This is what leads to entirely extreme reactions and behavior – some very mature and some entirely childish.

  • Parents must understand their teen’s brain development to help themselves better deal with the ups and down of their child’s adolescence.
  • Just as a teenage body grows and changes during adolescence, so do the vitals. While most parents simply notice the physical changes, it is essential for parents to identify the stages of their child’s brain development too.

A child’s brain develops almost 95% during childhood. However, around adolescence, the brain goes through a kind of re-modelling. This starts with puberty and continues until the mid-20’s. There is a spurt of growth in the child’s brain during the younger stages. But this growth is trimmed away later in some parts of the brain, only to make it more efficient.

2. The Prefontal Cortex and Amygdala:

The Prefontal Cortex (PFC) sits right behind our forehead. In a certain way, this is the main controller of our brain. It helps us plan, coordinate and organize, as well as gives us working memory. PFC takes different time in different children to mature. In some cases, it keeps developing and maturing until the age of 24!

On the other hand, Amygdala (AMG) is another part of the brain which is said to mature way earlier than the PFC. Amygdala is responsible for our emotions, reflex responses and aggression. It is the walnut-shaped part of our brain.

This mismatch in the growth of brain parts is said to be one of the main reasons behind the conflict, confusion and contradiction in a teenager’s mind. While your child’s emotions are at its peak, his brain is not developed enough to plan ahead, differentiate between right and wrong or foresee consequences. The AMG caters to their extreme emotions and impulses but the PFC does not support it enough to take them in the right way. It is almost like your right side walking at a fast pace while the left side struggles to even move.

As a parent, it is important for you to help them slow down and judge better. Make them understand what they are doing and what it might lead to later. Help them see through things.

Research suggests that most teenagers, due to their extremely high energy levels, have a habit of staying up till late. This results in sleep deprivation and fatigue. Doctors highly recommend teenagers to get proper sleep. This helps control the extremities and impulses in their behavior.

Remember, teenage is an individual’s transition from the age of dependence to the age of independence. Make it easy and worthwhile and enjoy the company of your new friend!

Share your experiences with us:

Recommended Articles:

  • Top 10 Helpful Tips To Deal With Teenagers
  • 10 Important Teenage Behavioural Problems And Solutions
  • 7 Symptoms and 7 Best Ways To Tackle Self Harmimg Behavior In Teenagers
  • How To Handle Social Anxiety Disorder In Teenagers?