Profile of the Modern Teenager


Anna G, Staff Reporter

Teenagers’ have it rough. The early starts and the late nights.The hours of studying, belligerent deadlines, and social and educational anxieties. The ever-present and looming threat of college, the workforce, or the armed forces. The competition of classmates or siblings. The constant vexings of school, work, family, friends, social events, sleep schedules, the future, classmates, politics, athleticism and appearance. Phew!

So why is so much being asked of them? It has only been within the past decade or so that we have begun to truly understand the complexities of the teenage brain. Scientists are only now discovering that teenage brains have yet to reach their full biological maturity, and many actions, thought processes and lifestyle choices made by teenagers can be scientifically explained rather than taken at face value. Many times teenagers can be seen as immature, ignorant, and sensitive but in reality, many attitude problems, irresponsibility, and memory problems can be accounted to the lack of brain connectivity. “The prefrontal cortex communicates with the brain’s emotional centres through intricate connections,” says B.J. Casey, director of the Fundamentals of the Adolescent Brain Lab at Yale University. “In adults, these connections have been strengthening with experience and maturation, but during adolescence, the connections are not fully developed, so it’s more difficult for a teenager to shut off these emotional systems.”

What teenagers need more than anything to make it through the adolescent years are adults that model responsible decision-making and the patience of their elders. Just because a teenager struggles with something different than adults, this simply may be because their brain has yet to develop and mature enough to fully understand a concept. this does not make their emotions or stress levels any lesser, in fact, teenagers are more susceptible to depression and anxiety.

The best thing to do as a teenager is get a lot of sleep, drink water, and find a stable group of friends, friendships made in adolescence will lead to deeper and more meaningful friendships later in life. Stay away from unnecessary stressors in life and respect one another always. Opinions and attitudes of teenagers may not be fully developed, but their opinions and beliefs are still strong and important.