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Teen Brain Troubles

New research, however, demonstrates that understanding of possible consequences may not actually be the problem, but the perception of potential reward for taking a risk.

It has been pointed out that the 17-year-old suspected of being responsible for  those Ohio school shootings of few days ago was  a loner who came from a troubled family background. Scientists have done a lot of research, which indicates that human brains are in a limo state of adaptation to adult life during adolescence, so that heat of the moment decisions are more  challenging for teenagers to make. Trying to rationalize the  actions of the 17-year-old suspect will keep many people occupied for a long time, and in all likelihood, no one will ever be able say for certain.

There is no doubt whatever that adolescents are capable of good decision making under normal circumstances, but in moments of stress,  because reward-sensitive areas of the brain began maturing with the onset of puberty, and are still developing, long-held views of some have it that teens rarely think through the consequences of their decisions.

New research, however, demonstrates that understanding of possible consequences may not actually be the problem, since teenagers take risks similar to those taken by adults in emotionally neutral situations, but the difference lies in the perception of potential reward for taking a risk, peer pressure hugely influential in teenage life.

Professor of developmental psychology at Temple University, Laurence Steinberg,  watched teens and adults playing a driving video game, noticing that the two groups ran red lights at about the same rate, until friends of the teens involved entered the fray, when their risk taking antics doubled, while adult ones did not.

In yet another study, researchers found that showed that teenagers employ different brain areas in perceiving emotions, evidenced by McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts scientists. They showed groups of both teenagers and adults images of faces, adults correctly identifying fear as the emotion portrayed, while the teenagers answered in various ways.

Functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed that the youths employed the gut-reaction area, the amygdala, whereas the adults used the frontal cortex of their respective brains. When children are young, it seems,  parental maturity acts as their prefrontal cortex, but teens venturing out into the world have to adapt.

Upon reaching puberty these young people need to pull themselves out of the comfortable environment of home life, and learn how to be able to adapt to social pressures.  This could easily explain why some teenagers occasionally go off the rails, but it seems the only way to combat this is for parents to really engage much more with their teenage children.

No parent can realistically lock the unruly teenagers up, but when the youngsters are stressed out, whatever the cause be, allowing them time to cool off whilst still letting them know that you are there for them can be very effective in defusing tensions. Talk to them about joining in with some of your hobbies, keep in touch by text messages – without being too pushy – and they will be appreciative, even if they rarely say so,

Thing is you see that they do recognize their limitations, and whilst almost certainly primarily in tune with peer teenagers, they actually do want and need parents to set limits.  If you approach the situation in the right way, and give enough leeway that the teenagers genuinely feel that, despite the rules they have a say, then those  things that marked out the Ohio shooting suspect – the troubled home, bad behaviour generally as well as an exceptionally quiet manner – need never present themselves in your life.

such young people are in desperate need of help, and finding ways of drawing them kids out could make a big difference to their lives. The trouble is that such youngsters can easily remain undetected in the larger schools of today, so some method of finding them and being able to help needs be found urgently, if such awful incidents are to be avoided in the future.

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