Teenage Brain Development, a Fast Track with Limitations


Ever wondered how the teenage brains develop? We talk often to teens and sometimes they just didn’t get it. Or they might seem to understand and agree yet they repeat their mistakes. I am not only talking about kids these days but also us in the past. Right? I bet we all have some regrets over stupid mistakes and foolish decisions.

Teenage brain development is a very interesting topic to study. The brain’s limitations have been published numerous times and helped parents and teachers alike in understanding why teenagers find difficulties in fulfilling  our wishes in taking risks, handling emotions, responding relationships, and dealing with problems  at school.

During the teen years, the brain grows and develops into perfection, maturing from the back of the brain towards the front area at the cortex. At the same time, teens experience a whole new level of thinking and managing emotions.

Based on the levels of brain developments, teens tend to:

  • be impulsive
  • wrongfully understand emotional and social cues
  • be involved in accidents or brawls
  • do dangerous acts

Teens rarely:

  • Think before they act
  • Wait first to consider the consequences
  • Alter their dangerous or unsuitable decisions


Going Through the Twenties

According to the latest study, the human brain does not reach full maturity until at least in its mid twenties. Specific changes have not been studied thoroughly but suspected involving myelination and neuron addition and perfection. On the other hand, many activities such as driving is legal at a younger age.

There are many aspects influencing the changes and all are individually different:

  • age, education gender
  • trauma, violence
  • race, ethnicity, and sexual identity
  • parenting style
  • temperaments
  • illness
  • learning disabilities
  • drug abuse
  • culture


What we can do

    • Cognitive challenges: Give the brain difficult cognitive tasks to increase brain function such as writing, processing information, brain games, etc.
    • Dietary intake: It is much a debate over which food must be consumed by teenagers to ensure healthy brain development. It is suggested to consume the right vegetables, fruit, protein, fat, and carbs. Avoid artificial sweeteners and excessive sugar intake is beneficial for the brain.
    • Education: The right education and training can give significant impact on the brain. More studying before the age of 25 will be good for foundation.
    • Environmental enrichment: There are many studies pointing out the benefits of having brain enriched environment. Such an environment is translated into high quality education, access to healthy food,trying new activities, and having resources.


      : Doing adequate exercise is considered important in society which emphasizes instants gratifications. Not to forget the psychological effect of exercise is very important as in increasing neurotrasmitter levels, having positive emotions, and even grow new brain cells.

    • Meditation: Meditation is not only an excellent activity to reduce stress, it also enhance the development of prefrontal cortex if done properly. It will increase our immunity to stress, increase concentration and clarity in thinking. Do consider meditation for brain development.

Sleep optimization

    : Most people interpret all night sleep as a common achievement yet lack of sleep or poor quality of sleep will slowly affect the brain’s development. The brain needs enough time given to repair and refresh itself through sleep which is adequate in terms of quality and period.

  • Socialization: Positive social relationships are needed to stimulate the brain. Stay in touch with friends and join social activities.
  • Supplementation: Some supplements can improve brain development such as fish oil (omega 3 fatty acid), antioxidants, etc. It is important to consider the pros and cons of each supplements before consuming them. Understand that supplements may be of help but it is ore beneficial to focus on healthy eating habit.



Fiona Esmeralda, MD, MBA



for a personal online medical consultation:

WA +6281377977730

line: fionaesmeralda

email: fionaesmeralda@gmail.com





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