“Ah, those damn teenagers! “, Many of us have came across this thought at least once in the past by being frustrated with teenagers causing trouble around us. Science says that the troubled behaviours that adolescent youth produces is natural and has legitimate reason. It has been found that throughout development, teen years are a critical time for frontal lobe development that may explain reasons behind the maladaptive adolescent behaviour. Adolescence is known as the most difficult time period as parent to understand or control their child’s behaviour.
During these years, teens take risks, lash out, and sometimes become uncontrollable, leaving parents with anxiety and insecurity. Through recent years researchers have finally come across physical evidence that explains the reasons behind teen behaviour which leaves us with a little bit of relief and understanding The frontal lobe of the brain is a complex part region that has been researched for years and has been implicated to be responsible for a great amount of behaviours exerted including; behavioural inhibition, knowledge, the ability to control emotional, and social functions that are essential for the self-regulation, and much more. 1) As for teens neuroimaging studies demonstrate that the adolescent brain continues to mature well into the emerging adulthood, explaining reasons on certain behaviours in the during adolescence. (2) It is not fair to generalize all adolescence to negative behaviours as environment also plays a major role in development. Though the majority of maladaptive behaviours are performed during these years.
During early stages of adolescence, the brain experiences major growth and changes that gradually decrease as the human grows. Early developments begin near the back of the cortex in the brain, and tend to finish in the frontal areas (e. . prefrontal cortex), which develops fully during emerging adult hood. Specific development that occurs in the brain includes myelination, synaptic pruning, and increased connectivity and executive functions. Myelination occurs when nerve fibers in the brain are covered with a substance called “myelin”, which helps provide insulation to the neurons and helps transmit signals. This action allows us to perform more complex functions. Synaptic pruning is a process that occurs by which brain synapses in the brain are selectively “pruned” or eliminated throughout brain development depending on the environment.
Pruning is a process that occurs for efficient brain functioning. An increase in connectivity between brain regions allows the brain to be able to transmit greater amounts of information between regions and the brain performs better in planning, dealing with emotions, and problem solving. Lastly the prefrontal cortex develops and it is responsible for executive functions. The pre frontal cortex allows us to help assess risk, think ahead, evaluate ourselves, set goals, and regulate our emotions. (3) This might explain why teens are rude, self-centered, and rebellious.
For example, if we cannot we assess risk, or think ahead, how can be cautious to the consequences? In addition to all of this brain development, during adolescence children also need to adapt to new experiences they encounter (e. g. , first heartbreak, transitioning schools, peer pressure, etc. ) Furthermore, some may experience traumatizing events during adolescence, such as a death in the family, abusive parents, sexually being abused, etc. , which leads them to be more vulnerable to cope with life in more maladaptive ways. Environmental factors, genetics, mental/physical disorders, also play a major role on the process of development.
Despite the anxiety or emotion the parent feels towards their child’s behaviours, they should aim towards understanding that the child is going through much more than the parent feels them to be. The adolescent is being introduced to a big new world, and the reality of a more complex life in which they are still learning to cope with. The intent of this position is not to cut the adolescent youth slack and leave them be, rather be more empathetic, supportive, and provide them with a wise knowledge to motivate them to function in more adaptive ways.
The impact of parenting styles on child development is crucial as well as positive or negative long-term effects may arise accordingly. Despite multiple theories of parenting styles, a recognized theory that will be discussed is a specific parenting style determined that comes from Diana Baumrind’s Parenting Typology. Baumrind was a developmental and clinical psychologist that conducted extensive home observations of parents’ interactions with their children, and concluded childrearing styles predicted children’s long-term social, emotional, and cognitive development and functioning. 1)
Authoritative parental style is one of the styles that Baumrind found to be the most effective. With a reasonable amount of control over their child’s development, a parent in this context will expect fa maturity levels, obedience and provide guidelines for the child to mature properly. There is open communication between the child and the parent, which allows the child to trust their parent. The parent is consciously open to opinions of the child but also makes sure the child takes into consideration the parents’ perspective as well.
An authoritative parent will discipline the child to an extent, and will nurture, accept, love the child, and support the child to be autonomous and independent, despite failure. A study was conducted that looked at family patterns as determinants of adolescent competence, and of types of adolescent substance users. The researchers found that authoritative parents who are highly demanding and highly responsive were remarkably successful in protecting their adolescents from problem drug use, and in generating competence. 2)
All of these things occur in a span of eight to twelve years, yet it is generally assumed that teens are rebellious, wild and unmanageable because they simply choose to be. Very little consider the physical pressure they are vulnerable to during these years- not to mention, puberty also plays a role in physical pressure, frustration, and stress on the adolescent. The underdevelopment of the frontal lobe plays a major role of the misunderstanding and confusion adolescence goes through.
Both parents and the adolescent can benefit from an understanding that how there own parenting style can affect the developmental outcome during these crucial years. Adolescence shouldn’t be perceived as a punishment, but more as a gift to learning and experiencing beautiful things. Teenagers are not aliens, enemies, or evil beings; they are just a product of natural evolution like the rest of us. Despite the rationale changes and new generations being compared to the old ones teenagers of all generation should be admired, and treated fairly. After all, at the end of the day- we all too were teenagers as well.