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Senior Project Essay

2387 words - 10 pages

Teenagers are subject to all kinds of changes from the onset of puberty to the beginnings of adulthood, from physical growth to mental development. This has held true since the early days of humanity, but new players have been added to complicate these developments, most notably are schools. It is necessary to understand why certain parts of high school affect teenagers because it would allow for the improvement of the education system. To do this, one must understand how the teenage brain works as well as analyze the culture of high school.
The first step to understanding why the teenage brain is affected by school in the way that is is to actually understand how the teenage brain works ...view middle of the document...

(Adolescence) Teenagers also process emotions very differently from children or adults as they are handling some of them with little to no experience and complicated by a lack of brain development. Along with this lack of experience, the parts of the brain meant to manage emotions aren’t fully developed in teenagers. (Adolescence) This lack of development can lead to an increased chance for depression and aggression in both males and females. The triggers for teen depression can vary from alexithymia to low-self esteem, but the effects are a near constant mix of suicide and drug abuse. Aggression shares many of its causes with depression, but the results are imposed upon others. However, most teens are not depressed or angry, as in an over 2,700-person study conducted by Students Against Destructive Decisions, it was found that most teens consider themselves as happy, honest, friendly, and intelligent. (Adolescence)
The teenage brain itself is affected by several problems, not the least of them being its lack of development. Since the teenage brain is transitioning from childhood to adulthood, it lacks the equipment or the understanding to properly handle certain emotions and ideas. The teenage brain is hypersensitive compared to the fully mature one, so regular stimulations for adults feel much more intense and volatile for teenagers. (Adolescence) Teenagers are built for absorption as opposed the higher-level understanding that adults have. This is from the overproduction of neurons, dendrites, and synapses that takes place in teen years. As overproduction takes place, the brain selectively strengthens neuron pathways, while the others that aren’t stimulated are eliminated, allowing for the brain to become more efficient by killing the unused synapses. After the process, myelin sheaths cover the remaining neurons and pathways of the brain to allow for faster information flow and better brain organization. Since the prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain that is related to the abilities to hypothesize, reason, think about and plan for the future, use logic, weigh risks and rewards, and control mood and last part of the brain to receive myelin sheaths, adolescents tend to use their amygdala and react instinctively and emotionally. (http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ981198.pdf)
With the information of the design of the adolescent brain and the immediate problems that arise from it, the noted solutions are part of understanding it. In order to keep teenagers stable, they need reasonable amounts of parental control and clearly defined limits, which should be loosened over time. And while parents should realize that close to half of all teenagers have tried marijuana at least once, (Adolescence and Teen Psychology | Youth Issues Today | Parenting, Raising Teenagers) they should also know that in the SADD study mentioned above, that teenagers who have loving and safe relationships with their parents are at least ten percent...

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