Understanding teens, and sorting myth from reality, is a challenge for both adults and teens themselves. So check out this quiz and update your knowledge on the latest findings.
1. Which of the following is not true:
The adolescent brain leads teens to:
Seek out the good in life
Feel things passionately
Process information rapidly
Need their parents less and be less affected by parents’ disapproval
All of the above
Though teens have gotten a bad rap, the adolescent brain has enviable features that give them unique potential for optimism, vitality, innovation, and positive change. Peers may seem to be all that matters to them and are, in fact, a key ingredient in helping teens forge their own identity. But, in spite of appearances to the contrary, adolescents still need their parents’ availability, guidance, and support, delivered in a way that respects teens’ opinions and autonomy. The challenge for parents is to tolerate, and not take it personally, when teens pull away, and refrain from withdrawing in retaliation in the guise of giving them space.
2. True or false: Adolescents feel more intense temptation than other ages, which makes it harder for them to say no to alluring things.
Adolescents experience overwhelming temptations and cravings for excitement. The depletion of dopamine in parts of the teen brain makes them easily bored and ready to rev up. On top of this, the reward centers in the adolescent brain are more active and easily stimulated, leading to a more intense and irresistible rush when they get excited. When things feel good in adolescence, they feel better than at any other time in life. This biochemistry is adaptive in that it pushes adolescents out of the comfort of the nest — driving them to seek out new experiences and learn the coping skills they will need as adults.