The Doctors: How Teenage Brains Develop & Advice for Parents

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The Doctors: Teens & Consequences

A woman is concerned about her 16-year-old daughter’s driving habits. Her daughter Kami admits to speeding, but accuses her mother of setting a bad example. The pair clashes about a variety of topics, including whether the daughter is old enough to date.

It’s safe to say these two won’t be getting Mother-Daughter Breast Implants anytime soon. Kami admits she hides her boyfriends from her son. Kathy uses an app to track her daughter’s phone, and doesn’t understand why Kami doesn’t understand that her actions could have consequences. This is rapidly devolving into an episode of Maury.

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The Drs: Teen Brains

Because teenage brains are still developing, they perceive risk and consequences differently than adults.

The Drs TV: Teenage Brains

Dr. Travis Stork said teens don’t think about consequences, because their brains aren’t fully developed. Teens tend to be driven by Dopamine and Oxytocin, making them crave peer approval and take risks in the hope of rewards.

“The frontal cortex is not fully developed either. That helps with decision making capabilities,” he said. Now we all have excuses for our questionable teenage behavior.

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Dr. Travis said these factors make teens more likely to take risks to impress their friends and peer group. This dates back to prehistoric times, when cavemen needed to socialize for protection.

How Teen Brains Develop

As Dr. Lisa Masterson confirmed, if our brains were fully developed at birth, we wouldn’t ever make it through the birth canal. Instead, the brain develops all the way until age 25. Neurons continue to form connections, helping you make better decisions.

Drugs and alcohol can have a greater effect on teen brains compared to adult brains, and you can actually measure a drop in IQ in the adult brains of people who abused substances as teens.

Teens & Risky Behavior

That’s why parents have an important role in guiding their teenage children. Kami admits to driving faster when her friends are in the car, going 60 miles an hour when the speed limit is 35.

Dr. Jim Sears asked if she has considered the consequences of hitting a pedestrian or causing another accident when you’re speeding with your friends. He explained that Kathy is trying to protect her daughter and the family.

Advice for Parents of Teens

He added that being honest with each other will help the mother and daughter build a bond of trust. He also suggested that they work out some ground rules that work for both of them.

Dr. Travis concluded that parents and teens will always clash, and hopefully these two will work out their differences, acknowledging that their brains work differently.

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