THIS IS A CRITICAL PERIOD OF DEVELOPMENT The brain grows throughout life, but between the ages of 11 and 17 is one of the biggest leaps in our development. Many of the things we learn now will will stick with us them for the rest of our lives.
YOU ARE GETTING NEW THINKING SKILLS An increase in brain matter causes the processing power of our brains to increase. Our decision making skills and ability to calculate risks, rewards and consequences start getting better.
INTENSE EMOTIONS ARE NORMAL Puberty is the beginning of major changes in the brain. Its development, combined with hormonal changes, may give rise to newly intense experiences of rage, fear, aggression (including toward oneself), excitement and sexual attraction. As additional areas of the brain start to help process emotion, older teens gain some equilibrium and have an easier time interpreting others. But until then, they often misread teachers, parents and friends.
PEER PRESSURE IS REAL As we become better at thinking about things outside of ourselves, our social anxiety increases. We are now starting to see ourselves from the eyes of another and spend time thinking about what others are thinking of us. We start looking for more reassurance from our peers and so are more likely to take risks in front of them.
YOU NEED SLEEP A common myth is that teens needs less sleep than young children, but at this age our brains our growing crazy fast so they still need 9-10 hours to make sure that nothing is hindering that growth. So if we don’t get the sleep we need, expect to see some increased moodiness and some evidence of a drowsy brain as the week progresses.
SELF ESTEEM STARTS TO EXIST This is the first time we are really seeing ourselves in the world. We start to see how the world looks at us and put ourselves in a place we feel fits our own view of ourselves. This causes the “I’m not good enough” emotion seen in a lot of us. It also causes a lot of questions that can seem to have very black and white answers, instead of grey.