During the teen years, their brains make them more sensitive to reward, more easily aroused emotionally and more attentive to social information.
Rewards like money and food feel more rewarding to them. Part of their brains light up when they realize other teens think they’re cool.
But while the social-emotional system is changing rapidly, the cognitive control system is moving slowly which gets them into trouble. It’s the cognitive control system that governs decision making, so teenagers’ behavior is driven by rewards no matter what those rewards are.
Impulsivity makes them take chances. Having peers observe them doubles their chances of taking risks. It’s important to know your teenagers’ friends. If your son is trying to get their attention, make sure it’s for healthy reasons.
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