Brain Development – Adolescents (14–18 Years)
Brain development shows a child’s increasing ability to
understand his or her environment. As children grow and develop, they
will learn many new things and begin to solve problems in their daily
For adolescents and older teens, the following skills will typically be developing:
1. Teenagers show continued growth of capacity for abstract thought.
2. Older adolescents have a greater capacity for setting goals.
3. Teens will normally develop deeper moral reasoning.
4. Adolescents begin to think more deeply about the meaning of life.
Adolescents will begin changing the way they process decision-making and risk-taking behaviors. There should also be changes in self-control and emotional behaviors/reactions.
What else should you keep in mind?
• In terms of sheer intellectual power, the brain of an adolescent is a match for an adult's. The capacity of a person to learn will never be greater than during adolescence.
• Adequate sleep is central to physical and emotional health. In addition to fatigue and difficulty maintaining attention, inadequate sleep can contribute to irritability and depression.
• Evolving hormone systems (including stress hormones) can have major effects on the brain, and as a result, teen behavior.
• Teenagers’ evolving decision-making and risk-taking often translate into questionable sexual behavior, alcohol and drug use, and dangerous driving.