Adolescent Brain Coping Changes

Dr. Purushothaman
September 5, 2013

It is important that pre-teens, their parents and teachers understand three factors that are responsible for many brain function and behaviour difficulties during adolescence: Hormonal changes affect brain functions. Our human brain makes mistakes. It can be easily confused.

These three issues can make everyday upsets bigger problems for adolescents since at this time of life our brains become more sensitive and confused by the stress of emotional pain. Since we all go through adolescence, pre-teens and teenagers they need to be aware of coping challenges during this period that often make it difficult for them to get over emotional stress. Pre-teen students can strengthen their coping ability not just to feel better, but so their amazing thinking brain can help them learn more about how to get over upsets more easily. Too often emotional upsets and stress cloud our ability to learn, pay attention and concentrate. Stress also makes it more difficult for the adolescent to adjust and cope as new challenges occur during the second decade of life. So let’s begin by examining factors that affect our ability to cope with stress.

1. Brain and Behavior Changes during Adolescence
2. Becoming a teenager can make it harder to like and accept myself
3. Why teenagers find it harder to get over anger and sadness
Brain and Behavior Changes during Adolescence

Around 10 or 11 years of age the hormones of puberty not only change our body but also our brain. Because our brain uses 20% of all our blood flow, adolescent hormones carried in our bloodstream affect judgment and feelings. Emotional pain may seem much stronger than before. Girls’ emotional brains usually develop earlier than boys'. Boys’ reptilian brain connections become much stronger than before.

Both our reptilian survival brain and emotional brain instinctive senses become more sensitive to natural growth hormones. This means we tend to react to stress by becoming angry or sad more often than before.
We may over-react to upsets, disappointment and painful experiences like rejection. Our thinking brain takes more time to judge if something is a serious threat or not. So our immediate responses to upsets often come from instinctive (reptilian or emotional) brain reactions.

Some of the neurons or brain cells of adolescents are actually dying and being replaced by new cells since our brain is preparing us for becoming an adult. You might say that the adolescent brain is almost reinventing itself as it prepares for the teenage and adult years.?

Becoming a teenager can make it harder to like and accept myself

The following five important brain and behaviour changes affect how kids see themselves as a change from pre-teen to a teenager:
Hormones change key brain functions
“I’m not a child and not yet an adult, so who am I?”
Turning away from parents and toward peers
Being more critical of myself and others
Being more sensitive to how we appear to our self and others

Why teenagers find it harder to get over anger and sadness

These are five key brain and behavior changes that often increase fear, stress, anger and sadness as kids become teenagers:
Increased self-consciousness and sensitivity to stress
More fear of not being as good as others
More fear that “there’s something wrong with me when my feelings are hurt”
More intense need to belong and be accepted by others
Having mixed feelings of liking or disliking the same person

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