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Sunday, December 20, 2009

How old really is a teenager...

This 2008 post was written to provoke comment - how old's a teenager...

I'll ask you this question fellow bloggers. How old really is a teenager?

New research that has emerged questions the way society puts the various age groups into little pigeon holes: babies, toddlers, infants, children, teenagers, young adults, middle aged, seniors, geriatric etc.

There is now much thought being put into the classification of "teenager". So how old really is a teenager? Thirteen to nineteen?

The research I mentioned above is in relation to the maturation of the prefrontal cortex lobe: the part of the brain that determines our reaction to complex situations, cognitive behaviour etc. Scientists now believe young adult brains may not be fully matured up to 22 years of age, or in some cases 25 years of age.

This is a real concern considering what pressures society puts on young adults and expects them to succeed. We let them drive motor vehicles and drink alcohol in their mid-teens, get married and send them off to war as soon as they are 18 years of age. Even the voting age has been reduced in many western countries. When they stuff up we are ready to jump on them , condemn them, threaten them with violence and prison, but fail to realise they may not actually be mentally mature enough to succeed at the tasks we give them as a society in the first place; mentally they are still young teenagers, even if physically they are fully mature adults!

Think back to an earlier generation who didn't let their older children(teenagers were unknown then) drive motor vehicles, drink alcohol or go off to war until a later age? The pre-world war two generation didn't need research scientists to tell them that young adults didn't fully mature mentally until their early twenties, did they?

What do you think of that fellow bloggers?

Mental maturity

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