Neuroscience of the Teenage Brain – The Changes of Adolescence

What is Adolescence?

Although we often use the words adolescent and teenager interchangeably, they actually refer to different things. A teenager is a young person between the ages of 13 and 19, while the start of adolescence is marked by the onset of puberty, and its end is generally accepted to be around the age of 19 or 20. While teenagerhood is a social idea, adolescence is a period of biological development common to all human cultures, and one that is also found in many non-human species.

During adolescence young people begin to pull away from their parents and to assert their independence and individuality. At the same time they start to explore their identity and how they fit in with their peers as well as society as a whole. The opinion of their peers is likely to matter more to an adolescent than that of their parents or other adults. They may behave more impulsively and take more risks than before without thought of the consequences, while their sleep patterns change drastically. You’ll be relieved to hear that there are reasons for all this! Our science editor Samantha Gouldson investigates the neuroscience of the teenage brain.

How to Protect Your Child Online

If you are worrying how to protect your child online, download our Family Media Agreement and read our tips on eSafety.

My Child Finds Maths Challenging

Here’s a question from a mum on our Facebook Group

My older daughter (age 8) has, over the course of the last school year, developed a hatred of maths. We think she is capable, but she now panics and often gets very simple things wrong that she used to know. Worse (for us), she kicks off if we try and broach the subject. Part of the problem is, I think, the fact that she is the only girl in her set, and the others can get quite competitive, which she finds difficult. 

The answers from the group were so helpful, we’ve collected and summarised them here for you.

Adventures in Parenting – Raising a Confident Child

When Lynn Schreiber, our esteemed editor and chief, asked me to write a piece about how to raise a confident child I sort of went:  um, I dunno!

My son is, after all, not quite six and recently diagnosed with ASD.

But he is, despite not being quite six and with ASD, very confident.

Now to figure out how I did that.

Parenting a Child with a Chronic Health Condition

Parenting brings many challenges, and one of the hardest to deal with is when your child is ill. When this illness is more than a tummy bug or a broken bone, then it gets even harder. Parenting a child with a chronic health condition brings a whole new list of challenges, and adjusting to the diagnosis can be tough for all of the family. Jump! Mag contributor Tina Price-Johnson grew up with a chronic health condition, and wrote an article for children, published today on our site for kids.

Life as a Child with a Chronic Condition

Here’s Tina’s advice for parents of a child with a chronic health condition.

I was 11 years old and in my first year at senior school when I had my first seizure. I was eventually diagnosed with epilepsy and throughout senior school was back and forth to the hospital to see specialists and determine the correct dose of medication. I was generally accompanied by my mum who had to take time off work, and it was my dad who saw my first fit and put into action his first aid training to give me the care I needed at the time. After that it was both parents or my teachers who provided this care.

I was totally freaked out and didn’t know what was happening or why and nor did my parents. In those days you simply did what the doctors told you and didn’t ask questions, and I wish I had asked. So here are my tips for parenting a child with a chronic condition, from the perspective of the child. I hope they are helpful to you:

Bilingualism Myth Buster – Children are Sponges

If you bring your children up speaking more than one language, what is the most common reaction that you hear from other people? For me, it has always been, “Oh, how marvellous! Children are little sponges, aren’t they? They pick up languages so easily”. As a mother of an 11 year old and a 13 year old, it now takes all my strength to resist saying, “No. Children aren’t sponges, and bilingualism isn’t that easy”. Since I’m much too polite to say it, I’ll write about it, in the hope that it makes some people stop and think before enraging someone like me.