Excerpts from “Teenage Girls: Exploring Issues Adolescent Girls Face and Strategies to Help Them” by Ginny Olson:
“…the frontal lobes are one of the last areas of the brain to finish developing, sometimes not until well after the age of 20. The frontal lobes (or prefrontal cortex) are the areas of the brain that direct our moods. They also assist us in planning ahead.”
“…the frontal lobes also help us control our impulses.”
“…the frontal lobe area is also the part of the brain where consequences are thought through. With this part still under development, it’s easier to understand why an adolescent can make quick decisions without thinking through the consequences….They have the passion and the strength but no breaks and they may not get good breaks until they are twenty-five.”
In our youth and family ministry class, we learned that research shows that the “adolescent” years has actually expanded from the ages of “12-19” to now “10-25ish” in the course of the last few decades. Its psychologically proven. Weird. Since this age span has increased, this now means that early adolescence ranges from “10-17ish” while late adolescent brain development ranges from “17-25ish.” So my brain is still in late teenager mode!!! WHAT!? Well ANYWAYS, if this IS true, this explains SO MUCH. It explains why I’m still figuring out who I am…why I’m still learning how to control my impulses…why my thinking seems to expand more and more each day. Seriously, sometimes i feel like my brain is being fried with all of the information I’m learning, processing, exploring. It explains why I seemingly just “DONT GET IT” while my 25 and 26 year old friends do.
Parts of this is reassuring because i dont HAVE to have everything figured out, because my brain is still developing and its totally natural to be thinking at the rate that I am. However, doesnt it kinda freak people out knowing that a 21 year old (in late adolescent brain development stages) is leading adolescents!?! Um….is this a concern to anyone or does no one see this as a problem?