The Workings of the Adolescent Brain

As neurology, psychology, and other social scientific disciplines advance and mature – namely through the help of new technology – we’re learning and more about the elusive workings of our own mind.

With that knowledge comes – albeit in fits and starts – an improved ability to work with one another and with ourselves. Once we realize that much of our behavior is shaped by forces beyond our control, we learn to appreciate the nuances and complexities of human nature. We learn that evil, ignorance, fallibility, hypocrisy, and other negative traits have at least some basis in our biology – thus we must confront them from a scientific framework that acknowledges their innateness and treats them as conditions to be understood and treated, rather than simply stamped out or punishment.

This is why I try to have patience with people, be they children, teens, elders, or adults. It’s hard to accept sometimes, but there are clearly certain deterministic biological factors that make some of our behaviors inevitable. This doesn’t mean we should excuse or accept such behavior, but rather that we must around it and adapt to it while the person (hopefully) grows out of it with time and experience. It’s easier said than done, but we were all there once, and responding negatively hardly helps matter — although research suggests that arguing with teens can ultimately be fruitful for their development in the long-term. Maybe we’re just supposed to go through the motions rather than try to fix everything.

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