First, let’s be clear: these are explanations, not excuses. No one’s condoning your son’s tendency to drive 20 miles over the speed limit or your daughter’s ability to shapeshift from angel to imp in 10 seconds flat. But if nothing else, understanding the physical developments (or lack thereof) behind that “thick skull of theirs” may help you realize that your teen’s crazy behavior isn’t necessarily due to bad parenting.
So until they mature into responsible and congenial adults, you’ll have to work hard to open the door to understanding, communication and compromise. Even if it’s only to hear it slam when you enforce curfew.
10. The best brain news might be that your teen’s brain is “plastic,” that is, always capable of change. In fact, numerous studies have shown that our brains can be trained (to increase attention, strengthen memory, raise IQ, etc.) well into our 80s. Teenagers who undergo intense one-on-one brain training can strengthen the neural connections, making them faster, smarter thinkers and learners – in school, athletics, extracurricular activities – and on the road.
So there you have it – a rundown on your teen’s ever-changing brain. It’s not always pretty, easy or predictable, but it’s also not permanent. Remind yourself that it’s a normal phase of development and it won’t last forever. And while you can’t lock them in their rooms until they’re 18, you can tighten the door’s hinges!