Index - Science - Our heads can boil because of the adolescent brain

Index – Science – Our heads can boil because of the adolescent brain

To an outside observer, be it a parent, teacher, or even a sibling, teens may seem like aliens with constant mood swings, insecurity, crying, sleepiness, and nervousness. They are perhaps in the most difficult stage of their lives, where they have to accept their changing bodies, study hard, meet external (contemporary) expectations, and endure the agony of first love and leaving childhood. Anyone who has ever seen a teenage bed may have been shocked, not only by the clutter, but also by the number of marigolds covering everything, occupying the 40-45-foot-high beds of hairy giants. Because teenagers do not want to grow up, but the poor still have to get out of childhood. This is a huge drama which is also accompanied by changes in the brain.

It’s big on brains

Only in the last two decades have scientists mapped neural changes, and finally to untie They knew the secrets of a teenager’s mind.

The frontal cortex builds networks during adolescence and becomes more functional, in the lobes (frontal, parietal) the brain strengthens the most important connections and significantly increases white matter. As these changes occur, some areas of the brain develop faster than others, which can affect behavior. One rapidly developing area is related to rewards, and this knowledge can actually help us treat teens: we reward them more often and quickly if they deserve it (praise, hugs).

Many brain regions, such as those involved in sensory processing, stabilize well before adolescence, but the frontal cortex continues to build its networks into early adulthood. Although their brains are no longer as flexible as they were when they were young, they are still very sensitive to intellectual stimulation and have a tremendous ability to learn.

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Neurological and psychological changes can seem overwhelming, just think of her impulsiveness, rebelliousness and irritability, although this is only due to increased activity of the medial prefrontal cortex. Research shows that activity in areas of the brain related to self-esteem typically peaks in mid-adolescence.

Drowsy, but they insist

In the 1950s, Anna Freud, the youngest of Sigmund Freud’s children, also a psychoanalyst, suggested the following:

For teens to separate from their parents and thrive on their own.

But although teens may seem rebellious, they will (apparently) go their own way, in fact they want nothing more than their parents’ approval and support. If we want to help them, we must pay attention to their fears caused by physical changes, says psychologist Terry Apter, and boost their self-confidence.

But why do their moods change so much and why do they always feel sleepy?

Their mood swings can be explained by the interaction of physiological and psychological processes related to maturation – hormones, serotonin, cortisol. Their annoying loafing does not come from laziness, but rather their biological clock does not fit into the rhythm of adults or the day. The level of melatonin can also drop during the day, which is why they lie for hours on a bed full of plush clothes (clothes, phone, textbooks, etc.). According to clinical psychologist John Coleman, adults don’t have melatonin left in their brains by 9 a.m., but about half of teens do.

Let them rest and grow and deal with the mood and hormonal fluctuations that come with growth. This is enough for them to do.

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(Cover Image: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images)

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