It’s 2:38 a.m. and the phone rings. The sound of the phone in the middle of the night is the sound parents of teens hate most. The voice on the phone is the police or medical personnel. Hopefully, it’s a fender bender or your teen was picked up for speeding or driving under-the-influence. However, every parent is aware of other nightmares that lurk in the shadows.
Science has shown that there is a reason teen-agers think they are invincible. A reason why they behave in a way that seems to be illogical. The part of the brain that tells us a certain behavior is not reasonable is not mature enough to do that for teens. Young brains frontal lobe, the portion of the brain where reasoning is, is not fully developed until their mid to late twenties.
“According to studies, the nerve cells that connect the frontal lobes with the rest of the brain in teens are slow. There is a fatty coating, myelin or white matter that teenagers have little of. In order for nerve signals to flow freely, they need myelin. Therefore, since teens have smaller amounts of myelin the communication between different parts of the brain is not efficient.
Another difference in the teenagers’ brains is that their excitable. They learn easily because the brain chemistry is responsive to everything in the environment. However, that includes addiction. With a teen, drugs enter an environment that is a much more robust habit-forming environment. In other words, it takes a teen longer to recover from the effect of drugs”. (Knox 2010)
So, your young adult may look like an adult, but their brain is not finished growing. Their reasoning skills are not functioning efficiently yet.
References: Knox, Richard “The Teen Brain: It’s Just Not Grown Up Yet" NPR Mar 1, 2010