What happens inside the brain of teenagers 11 to 14 years old

Physiological and mental changes in adolescent teenagers 11 to 14 years old

Effects of puberty

Puberty is the rapid physical growth of bones and muscles and psychological changes, culminating in the sexual maturity of bones and muscles. It begins from 9-12 for girls and 11-14 for boys.

1. They begin to be conscious of how they look

The increased hormone activity of an early teen begins to affect their height, weight, and emotions. Their physique changes, and they become conscious of how they look.

You may notice changes in hygiene and the way they assert what they will wear, hairstyle, and vanity.

2. Heightened sexual desire and emotions

The human brain is not fully developed by the time a person reaches puberty. Between the ages of 10 and 25, the brain undergoes changes that affect behavior physiology. In teenagers they experience sudden and rapid growth, triggered by the pituitary gland.

This gland is located in the Brain that secretes a surge of hormonal agents into the bloodstream, initiating a chain reaction to occur. Also known as the “master gland,” it affects their entire body, particularly their sexual development and emotions.

3. Increased desire for adventure

The circulatory and respiratory systems are mostly influenced during this development. Their muscles and bones grow significantly. Coupled with changes in their emotions, they have a strong desire for physical activity.

Activities like biking are encouraged because it feeds both their muscle’s demand and their quench to discover new things.

4. Increased brain capacity to understand and reason

As the brain develops during adolescence, the amount of “white matter” in the brain increases, while the “gray matter” is pruned, called synaptic pruning.

The brain appears to be destroying itself, but the pruning makes it more efficient due to increased myelination (insulation of axons or nerve fibers) and the reduction of new pathways (neurons). [1]

The Brain should be well fed before synaptic pruning occurs.

The result of synaptic pruning helps improve the way they process data fed to them. Teens’ logic and reasoning improve. In short, you can no longer outsmart them, as if they’re little children.

you can no longer outsmart them.

Thus, learning things like a foreign language, dancing or music should be taught before the puberty stage or before High School

However, pruning also means that there are specific “circuits” that the Brain chooses to cut or retain. Children can absorb so much knowledge, such as learning multiple languages, as compared to when they become adults.

Any second language they understand before puberty will likely be retained. However, new languages (taught in college) will likely be forgotten unless spoken daily.

All these things should be taught earlier than they are being taught, that is one lesson we know about the pruning process,” says Dr. Dan Siegel, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Learning things like foreign language, dancing, or music should be taught before puberty stage.

5. Emotional vulnerability and rebellion

Teenagers at this stage of brain development have a better evaluation of risks and rewards. They have improved brain processes that lead to a better understanding of the consequences.

They are naturally rebellious

Most teenagers process reasoning with better logic than that of their parents. However, a teen’s lack of “life-experience” may result in a “flawed logic,” causing conflict that leads to rebellion.

They become more sensitive

Although they are less impulsive, they become more sensitive and vulnerable to words that parents use, which they often misinterpret. Parents should talk to teens with adult reasoning because they can handle analytical thinking. [4]

Parents should talk to teens with adult reasoning because they can handle analytical thinking

pituitary gland of teenager
The pituitary is a small pea-sized gland located at the base of the Brain. This “master gland” releases a wide variety of hormones that is important in a teen’s physical and emotional development. Read more: Understanding the pre-frontal cortex.

What we can learn from the data

FindingsLearnings
They begin to be conscious of how they look.Always compliment them verbally.
Heightened sexual desire and emotions.Encourage more sports and physical activities.
Increased brain capacity to understand and reason.Allow them to experience consequences.
Increased desire for adventureInvest in a family vacation and their interest.
Emotional vulnerability and rebellionStop talking when they are stressed. Provide a healthy diet to boost brain activity, and always pray for them.

Christian parents‘ takeaway

Although teenagers can better process emotions, they will have difficulty in submission because of conflicting wants and needs. Their desire for more freedom causes them to have a rebellious attitude towards parents and authority.

A child may also be open to demonic influences. Their sinful nature is usually evident at this age. It does not mean they are possessed, but tempted to rebel or dwell on anger.

Thus, their spiritual well-being should be developed through discipleship rooted in a positive relationship.

What Christian parents can do

1. Encourage them to do their quiet time at bedtime.
2. Pray with your teens daily, declaring victory in Christ.
3. Anoint them with oil while speaking life!
4. Fast for them at least once a month.
5. Encourage them to join Youth Fellowship and retreat.

References:
[1] NCBI
[2] Dorsolateral prefrontal cortex
[3] Children autism
[4] NCBI
[5] NCBI
[6] Adolescence
[7] NCBI
[8] Low serotonin linked to depression
[9] Laminine FGF

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