Teen brain is is like a car with a good accelerator but a weak brake. With powerful impulses and without proper control, teens are likely to crash! Which is some of the findings of a new research on how adolescent brain works.
Parents and youth workers have always known this. Teenagers may grow into adult bodies, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually they may not be mature yet and might not exhibit any signs of responsible adulthood yet. Whether it be sexual experimentation, use of drugs, media consumption and gun culture, effect of accelarator without break can be seen.
Research confirmed that during mid teen years, kids are more impulsive and aggressive, emotionally volatile, likely to take risks, reactive to stress and vulnerable to peer pressure. They are also more prone to focus on and overestimate short-term payoffs and underplay longer-term consequences of what they do (no delayed gratification). They are less likely to explore alternative courses of action.
A safe and secure home environment is key to navigate them through this tumultous and potentially dangerous season of life. A healthy neighborhood and a community of faith is key to the adolescent development. Parents and youth leaders need to work together for the sake of kids. Each can do what the other cannot. In some circles the growing suscpion of each other turns out to be more harmful for healthy development of teens.
Check out these books – Family based youth ministry by Mark DeVries or God bearing Life by Kenda Dean.