Science: Adolescence Now Runs to Age 24

Posted by on Dec 09, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Well, at least this explains the lefty juice-boxers. Though in some cases adolescence runs way past age 24. Barack Obama comes to mind.

Miley Cyrus’ parents, take note: It’s probably not all your fault.

Thanks to emerging adolescent brain research, we are learning that many reckless, erratic, downright befuddling teen behaviors (twerking, et al) might have more to do with their not-yet-fully mature brains than just bad parenting.

Many behaviors once chalked up to hormones, immaturity, laziness and over-coddling are rooted in our adapting brain chemistry and structure.

For example, the prefrontal cortex, the master control center of the mind, doesn’t fully mature until our mid-20s. Researchers have even lengthened what we consider our “adolescent years,” which they say now runs from age 12 to 24.

Maybe if they had to make real-life decisions before their mid-20s they’d be better off.

In “Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain” (Tarcher) a new book by UCLA clinical psychiatrist Daniel Siegel — who also has two teens at home — readers glimpse into the adolescent mind and learn how to deal with their teens with a better understanding of brain science.

During this key time in brain development, there’s a “burst of growth and maturation taking place as never before in our lives,” Siegel writes.

That seems to coincide with an overblown sense of entitlement and self-esteem.

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