Facts: What do we know about the brain? • Adult = 3 pounds • 2% of our body weight but consumes 20% of our calories • 70% water, it consumes 30% of the water we drink • Unfolded it would measure 2 ft x 2 ft. • composed of a trillion cells, 100 billion neurons
Neuroscientist at the National Institute of Health, Chief of brain imaging in the child psychiatry branch • Used MRI to scan the brains of nearly 1000 healthy children ages 3-18. • Between ages of birth-2 and 9-10= tremendous growth of neurons • Ages 2-3 and 11+= massive pruning • Teenagers are more like toddlers than adults in brain growth Dr. Jay Giedd, Neuroscientist
Used connections will flourish, unused will be pruned and die. • Fewer but faster connections During adolescence…use it or lose it
The CEO of the Brain • The frontal lobes: executive decisions and moral/ethical control • Development continues from back to front through early 20’s • “It’s sort of unfair to expect teens to have adult levels of organizational skills or decision-making before their brains are finished being built.”- Dr. Giedd
Problem solving • Judgment • Inhibition of behavior • Planning • Self-monitoring • Personality • Emotions • Organization • Attention • Concentration • Mental flexibility • Speaking • Awareness of abilities • Self-control • “do the right thing” Frontal Lobe
Teens relied on the amygdala, associated with emotion and gut reactions • MRI tests: Teens see anger when it was not intended • Teens can be irrational and overly emotional Don’t believe everything they tell you…..
Intelligence and emotional maturity do not develop in the same way. • Let’s look at a teenage genius… What about Intelligence?
Drugs and alcohol can alter normal development of the brain • Teens who drink are exposing their brains to the toxic effects of alcohol at a critical time of brain development, approx. 10% memory loss • Hormonal rush of testosterone and estrogen causing chemical changes During adolescence… period of high risk Image from Susan Tapert, PhD, University of California, San Diego. http://www.sfn.org/skins/main/images/brainbriefings/bb_Oct2002_large.gif
Impulsive ADHD kids will often get into trouble • The inattentive ADD kids tend to be non-compliant, have trouble remember the things, will feel “stupid” despite a above average or high intelligence • “ In clinical studies, researchers confirmed that teens with ADHD were twice as likely to have abused alcohol within the past 6 months. They also found that teens with ADHD were likely to abuse drugs and three times more likely to abuse drugs other than marijuana.” WebMD.com • ADHD teenagers are 400% more likely to have an automobile accident What about adolescence and ADD/ADHD?
They need 9 ¼ hrs… • They get…6-7….! The biological clock shifts in the teen years by up to 2 hours. Sleep deprivation can have a major negative effect on learning and memory! TV’s, computer monitors, and cell phones can keep adolescents from getting enough deep sleep; remove them from their rooms! Catching ZZZZZZs
How does it help the TEEN to know this? • Understand themselves and their behavior • Allow adults around them to guide them • What they do in the next 8 years makes a difference for the rest of their lives!
It is a privilege to teach adolescents whose brain development is highly dictated by external influences • It is a privilege to help shape the pruning during this crucial time of brain development • We have the opportunity to help adolescents create good habits How does this information help EDUCATORS?
Good parenting continues to help teenagers *develop in healthy ways *stay out of trouble *do well in school They need for you to be a support to do the right thing! 1. What YOU Do Matters!
Tell them you love them • Show them you love them • Give them specific and timely feedback • Praise them, even if you have to dig to find it! 2. You Can’t Be Too Loving
BE there! • Participate in school programs, sports • Help your teen with a homework schedule and to plan ahead • Get to know your child’s friends and your child’s friends parents • Spend time together 3. Stay Involved
Change at each stage of development • Provide opportunities for the teen to make choices as they mature • Keep up with the Internet and cell phone usage, including text messaging 4. Adapt Your Parenting
Provide structure • Set rules and provide limits • Be firm but fair • Give curfews and stick to them • They have to learn to accept “no” • Be the parent…they have friends. 5. Set Limits
It is healthy for an adolescent to push for autonomy. • Give them space to grow, and resist the temptation to micromanage! adult teen 6. Foster Independence Parent/child parent
Have clear and appropriate rules • Be clear in your expectationsBe sure to point out consequences • Talk when you’re not angry • Distinguish between immaturity and defiance. Explain Your Decisions
Don’t expect them to think or reason like you. • Don’t “allow them to fail” classes! Help them get organized, keep up with homework, and study for tests • Allow them to make mistakes…that is one way we learn best. 9. Don’t give up on them!