Teenhood a Time For Support

January 12, 2007

Neurological research is exploring why teens take risks, make poor choices, and are prone to addiction, depression and other mental conditions. Adult minds have an "early-warning" system that alerts them when errors are being made; teens have not yet developed this strategy. The area of the brain that responds to reward and novelty is also much more active and easily triggered in teens, leading to risk-taking behaviours. Youth are running on sleep deficits caused by changing body clocks conflicting with static daily responsibilities, and they are entering adolescence earlier (sometimes 8 or younger). Even the courts agree that the teenage mind is volatile and undeveloped and cannot be fully responsible for itself. Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required)