Why Teens Do Stupid Stuff, Part 2

Not only do teens sometimes make bad choices because of their need for affirmation, but there can also be physiological reasons as well. I read an interesting article about the teenage brain. We all know it’s a scary place, but this article explains why. It seems like the brain actually “rewires” itself between the ages of 11 to 14. It then takes several years for all the new “circuits” to work properly. We should remember back to our teenage years to think about how our own emotions were amplified and about how we struggled to make logical decisions at times. We should keep this in mind as we work with teens and not underestimate their feelings and their pain that they experience.

If you are a teen, then this should make you think about those times when you over-react or those times when you make crazy choices. It shows the importance of listening to your parents and other Godly people that have been placed in your life.

From ages 11 to 14, a young person loses a substantial fraction of the connections between cells in the part of the brain that enable him or her to think clearly and make good decisions. This loss is a vital part of growing up. It clears out, or “prunes,” unneeded wiring to make way for more efficient information-processing in adults.

“It certainly seems possible that normal adolescents who are experiencing these brain changes can react emotionally,” said Ian Campbell, a neuroscientist at the University of California-Davis Sleep Research Laboratory.

“Teens may process emotions differently than adults,” said Giedd, who calls the teenage brain “a work in progress.”

The process brings about “an improvement in speed in information-processing and a greater ability to build the long neuronal chains required for complex problem-solving,” Campbell said.


I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 28 years, and we have three adult children.

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