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The Teenage Brain

We have a legacy story in our house that I like to tell as often as possible. It goes like this:

When children are young they have baby teeth. When they are about six the baby teeth start to fall out and, eventually with a great deal of variation depending on the child they are replaced with adult teeth.

Similarly when children are young they have a baby brain. When they are about 13 the baby brain falls out and, eventually with a great deal of variation depending on the child it is replaced with an adult brain.

A few years ago I attended a class on adolescent brain physiology. The instructor showed the cross-section of a toddler brain, with it’s jumbled wiring. As the child got older, the brain became more and more organized. Until puberty. Then suddenly the brain looked nearly identical to the toddler brain.

Right in the middle of class I burst out laughing. The raised eyebrows indicated to me that no one else had teenagers.

I went home happy, knowing I had been right all along.

{ 9 comments… add one }

  • jennycherie April 19, 2009, 5:17 pm

    I think I would like to go to that class!

  • Tinkerbell April 19, 2009, 6:25 pm

    I think it’s interesting that all of the connections in the brain are not fully formed until about age 25 (if I remember correctly). I see a lot of truth to that. Both my husband’s and my siblings who have strayed or made poor life choices or rebelled seemed to settle down a lot at age 25 – like they were finally mature.

    You know, I just don’t know if I can handle those teenage years when the brain gets all jumbled. These boys just seem to go from one hard stage to the next (mormondad, I have four boys, too! Ages 2-8, and a girl on the way).

  • mormondad's wife April 19, 2009, 10:03 pm

    Posted By: TinkerbellI think it’s interesting that all of the connections in the brain are not fully formed until about age 25 (if I remember correctly). I see a lot of truth to that. Both my husband’s and my siblings who have strayed or made poor life choices or rebelled seemed to settle down a lot at age 25 – like they were finally mature.

    You know, I just don’t know if I can handle those teenage years when the brain gets all jumbled. These boys just seem to go from one hard stage to the next (mormondad, I have four boys, too! Ages 2-8, and a girl on the way).

    Congratulations on the girl – we decided 4 of a kind worked for us. Especially since we don’t have such great spacing like you do. We have 20, 12, 7 and 4. By the end of Sept. they will all be back to odd numbers. ;) I love having boys. There is something reassuring to me about them and I have seen the high drama my sisters have with their girls from the time they are teeny to teenagers and am sooooo glad that we have avoided that scenario. And I love, love, love teenagers. There is so much to teach them and so much to learn from them and to see/experience the crazy convoluted wiring in their brains just makes me laugh and cry and marvel at their knowledge and their sometimes profound understanding of complicated things. I also marvel at their lack of understanding for simple things – so maybe I am just easily amused??? :p

  • facethemusic April 19, 2009, 10:56 pm

    You kill me Alison!

  • Alison Moore Smith April 20, 2009, 11:10 am

    Hey mormondad’s wife. Welcome to the site. I had four girls and then the two boys. I’m hoping that the boy teens will be easier. Please do not tell me otherwise. It is my one great hope! :wink:

  • mormondad's wife April 21, 2009, 9:08 pm

    Posted By: Alison Moore SmithHey mormondad’s wife. Welcome to the site. I had four girls and then the two boys. I’m hoping that the boy teens will be easier. Please do not tell me otherwise. It is my one great hope!:wink:

    I think boys are a thousand times easier than girls, just based on my experiences with nieces and when I worked in YW many moons ago. The funniest thing I have heard recently in relation to me and girls, though, was when I was recommended to be the Ward Camp Director and the YW Pres. expressed her great concern that i wouldn’t be a good one, since I don’t have any girls. UMMMM… Hello, Am I Not a Girl??? Girls are so weird. :D

  • Tinkerbell April 21, 2009, 11:01 pm

    mormondad’s wife, so are you always recommended for cub scouts because, after all, you have a bunch of boys. I HATE THAT! Don’t people realize that a mom who spends all her time with boys would LOVE to spend some time with girls?!?

  • Alison Moore Smith April 22, 2009, 12:45 am

    Ah, and women who spend all day, every day with children, might love to spend time with adults on Sunday!!!

  • jks October 4, 2011, 9:31 pm

    I have both and once they are past the baby stage (not my favorite) they are both lots of fun. Of course it is nice not to have a very rambuctious boy, my oldest boy could sit still for hours.
    My girls are 7 and 14. Puberty changed things a little bit at age 11, but I managed to find a new rhythm and there isn’t drama. I think with teenage boys you have to work harder to know what is going on with them. My teenage girl is very open to a lot of talking so I consider that a very good thing.
    With boys there is scouts! (That takes a lot of work).

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