Recent studies are bringing the teen brain into sharper focus, and providing a deeper understanding of the developmental processes that take place between the ears during adolescence. Using the information gathered from these studies, this Edutopia article highlights some practical ways for adults to get through to the teenagers in their lives. Part of the reason teens are more prone to risk-taking and susceptible to peer pressure seems to be due to an imbalance between the limbic system, the brain’s reward system, and the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for things like self-control, planning, and self-awareness. While the limbic system is up and running in teenagers, the prefrontal cortex is still busy developing. The article suggests talking to teens directly about the ways in which their brains are developing during adolescence, using social influence for positive outcomes in behavior, and teaching self-regulation as ways to help our teenagers make better choices as their prefrontal cortex plays catch up to their limbic system.

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