The developing teenage brain

As your child’s teenage brain is not mature until the age of 25 they cannot think like a logical adult. They can make a wrong decision fuelled by too much emotion driven by anxiety and panic.  This lack of logic, and, too many reactionary decisions can fuel your child’s anxiety to the point of no return.

The Brains massive change from adolescence to maturity.

Ok here is the technical jargon!

A brain does not mature and solidify until the age of 25, so a teenage brain relies on what is known as the limbic system, the primitive part of the brain, also known as the sympathetic nervous system, or the fight or flight brain.  Therefore, adolescent thinking can be a huge reaction rather than a logical thought process, and so meditation and mindfulness techniques switch the brain from fight and flight mode into the rest and digest mode, the calm brain also known as the parasympathetic nervous system, or logical brain, which helps to make a more logical, calm, better decision.

As the brain matures and we turn into adults, we rely on the prefrontal cortex, at the front of the brain, our logical & reasoning brain. This part of the brain is the last bit to finish maturing. It means we can weigh up outcomes and form judgements, and control impulsiveness and emotions, and helps people to understand one another in a calm way.

In adolescence, teenagers experience a wealth of growth in synapses, which, are nerve connections in the brain that get trimmed back so the brain can reach maturity.  Unfortunately, this process works its way from the back of the brain to the front, and, why the logical centre is the last to mature!

Studies show that most of the mental energy a teenager uses comes from the back of the brain for decision-making. After the age of 25 a mature brain uses the front, that prefrontal cortex bit.  If a teenager uses the frontal brain too much, they can overdo it, causing all sorts of meltdowns, chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, self-harming, addiction etc. This is where the meditation and mindfulness helps the teenage brain as it calms them down and releases tension and anxiety.