Kids' Phone Safety Blog

The Teen Brain: What and Why You Should Know about Teenager Decision-Making

May 11, 2016
Kids' brain

Our brain evolves throughout life but the dramatic differences occur in adolescence. The brain is not fully developed till the 20s, that’s why teens are at a greater danger of making decisions they can regret later.

Have you ever wondered why teenagers behave in a spontaneous, troubling and senseless way? Oftentimes, it seems that they don’t fully understand the after-effects of their behavior and act before thinking. If you worry that this may create problems, read on. Recent discoveries in brain science may help explain everything about decision making for teenagers.

Key Part of Brain that Controls Decision Making

Teens' brains work differently


Prefrontal cortex is the major section of brain that develops late. It is extremely valuable for determining the dangers and thinking beforehand. Another brain part that matures former is the limbic system that is essential for emotions including anxiety and destructive behavior.

The limbic system develops prior, so it has major function in making decisions. This clarifies teenagers’ tendency to hasty decisions. This means that when teens arrive at conclusion in emotionally filled situations, those decisions are determined by feelings but not logic.

This explains the reason why teenagers are more inclined to make bad choices, such as consuming alcohol and drugs. In fact, young people don’t do it on purpose, they just experiment spontaneously, especially when pressed by peers. Due to the processes connected with the brain development, teens can easily:

  • get involved in fights
  • behave on impulse
  • take part in unsafe behavior
  • distort emotions
  • get into disaster

How to Develop Decision Making Skills for Teenagers

So as to hit the peak of performance, the brain needs to grow and develop. The brain matures in response to a person’s experience and activities. Through the behavior and choices teens are engaged in, they shape their own brain development. Physical, learning and creative activities are those skill-building things that stimulate progress of decision making part of brain.

Help your kids with the right choices


When teens learn and repeat appropriate behaviors, they shape their brains. Boosting the brain efficiency is the right way to avoid negative outcomes. During adolescence, the brain overcomes various challenges and makes a lot of decisions, that’s why the right actions towards the development of the decision making area of the brain is the prerequisite of future success.

Nevertheless, you should understand that the differences in brain development don’t mean that teenagers cannot make right choices or see the distinction between right and wrong things. It doesn’t also mean that teens are not in charge of their actions. Still, an awareness of the discrepancies in development of the part of brain for decision making may help realize and better manage your kids’ behavior. With this knowledge, you’ll be equipped to help your children make smart choices.

Have you noticed any peculiarities in your teens’ decision making? Share your experience!

Petra Lipfer
Petra Lipfer is a freelance blogger living in Orlando, Florida. She is passionate about everything concerting writing and the Internet. She is married and has two beautiful kids. She has a degree in Management and has taken several IT courses. Petra is a certified specialist in child online security. She enjoys blogging on everything concerning children, their security and parenthood in general. You can contact
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