“Do are among the last areas of the brain

“Do you know why North Korea is not
attacking South Korea?” Because they are afraid of South Korean middle school
student. There is nothing more aggressive than a group of middle school
students. It is a famous joke in South Korea. In South Korea, people have even created
a new term called “Adolescent illness” This term is used to describe a person
who is unpredictable, emotional, sensitive, bold, spontaneous, and destructive.
When I think of my adolescence, there was no difference.

             What’s
going on in that head of adolescent? In the past, scientist suggested that
immature prefrontal cortex and hormone cause a tumultuous stage. A lot of
researches have demonstrated that adolescence is a period of continued brain
growth and change. In particular, The frontal lobes, home
to key components of the neural circuitry underlying “executive functions” such
as planning, working memory, and impulse control, are among the last areas of
the brain to mature; they may not be fully developed in adolescence (Sowell, Thompson, Tessner, & Toga, 2001). This explains the adolescent related policy process, adolescent
brain immaturity has been used to make the case that teens should be considered
less culpable for crimes they commit. Moreover, the
limbic system is affected by hormones, called the HPG axis, and develops
rapidly in early adolescence. Consequently, for contemporary teenagers,
emotions may override rational thoughts (Berger,
2003). In addition, pubertal hormones affect the amygdala directly
(Romeo, 2013). The instinctual and emotional areas of the adolescent brain
develop ahead of the reflective and analytic areas. In a similar context, connection
between the brain’s limbic system, which plays a role in emotion regulation
develops slowly. Adults are likely to rely on parts of their brain that controls
their emotions when making decision about riskiness. On the other hand,
adolescents tend to rely more on area associated with deliberative
decision-making so their brain respond more strongly to the pleasure of reward
than do adults (Gotlieb, 2015). Thus, adolescents are likely to be emotional
rather than calm and rational. Furthermore, contemporary scientists argue that
we also have to think adolescence in terms of social context. We should not
preclude the influence of peers, family, school, work, media, romantic relationship, culture, a community
and society in general when considering adolescence. For example, Today’s adolescents are often confronted with more decisions, more complex
decisions, a much wider range of options, and greater challenges to their
self-control than in other eras. Meanwhile, their parents’ jobs, high rates of
divorce and separation, and other factors have led to diminished adult
supervision and less time with family, giving young adolescents fewer resources
to draw upon when dealing with the changes they experience (Groark &
McCall, 2006). All of these reasons explain why adolescents take more risks,
seek rewards, are less deterred by losses, behave impulsively, and act more violently than people at any other developmental stage
(Gotlieb, 2015).

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               However, adolescence is also age of opportunity because many things are established around this time – adolescents establish their identity, philosophy, relationship, social life, and so on. Especially, adolescents establish the way they think about themselves and build romantic and sexual relationships. Furthermore, unlike when they were children, they have to do it on their own. In short, the adolescent transition is when adolescent transits from being a child, dependent upon one’s parents, to an independent and self-reliant adult. It represents one of the most dynamic, broad and influential periods of human development. And development in this period contributes to a broad range of behaviors, perceptions, risks and resiliency (Jodi, 2014). In other words, adolescence can be so opportune once adolescents grow up healthy during this period.

             What people who work with adolescent should know is that
there is a crucial set of brain changes during adolescence new possibilities,
and new purposes fueling the adolescent mind and relationships that have never
existed in childhood. However, these positive potentials are often impeded by
adults’ rigid view and yet they can be still developed and used more
effectively and more wisely when we know how to find them and how to cultivate them (Gotlieb,
2015). Steinberg
also argues that society needs to invest in the period of adolescence because
the brain will never again be as plastic.

               There are four recommendations based in science to improve American adolescent life. First, although the peer relationships become more important and parent child relationships become less important in adolescence, parental role is still important. Studies have shown that parent child relationship may be still important than peer relationship. Studies have shown that parent support remain the best indicator of emotional problems during adolescence (Helsen, 1999). In study of other group, the greatest number of relationship with positive variables involved perceived intimacy with mothers, and many more well-being variables were positively associated with parent relations as opposed to peer relations (Paterson, Pryor, & Field, 1995). Therefore, society should create an atmosphere that promotes interest in parent-adolescent relationships. I also had a difficult time when I was an adolescent. However, my parent cared about me a lot. For instance, I talked to my parents at least 30 minutes a day and I was able to share my concerns and and they expressed interest. It helped me overcome this chaotic period.                Modern society, especially American society, is very competitive. Adolescents are likely to learn to compete with friends than to cooperate with them. For example, in the case of South Korea, high school students are very competitive because they go to college through relative evaluation system. Although remembering is exaggerated during adolescence, it doesn’t mean that adolescents should put their most efforts to accomplish academic success. Research in the last fifteen years illuminates the unique features of the adolescent brain. Neural connections among various regions of the brain, which mature at different rates, are reorganized during adolescence. The more we use particular skills the better connected the regions of the brain that facilitate those skills will be. The brain systems that undergo the greatest change during adolescence are those that control reward-seeking, relationships, and regulatory behaviors. Therefore, society should give adolescents opportunity to build healthy relationship with others instead of competing with peers. Laible and Thompson (2000) found that adolescent who scored high on measure of both peer and parent attachment were found to be the best adjusted, which is defined as least aggressive and depressed and most sympathetic, and those who scored low on both were the least well-adjusted. They also suggested that adolescents who were high on peer but low on parent attachment were better adjusted than those who were high on parent but low on peer attachment. It seems like peer attachment might be relatively more influential on adolescent adjustment than parent attachment.

In particular, adolescents
from economically disadvantaged backgrounds need extra supportive structures.
Low-SES adolescents typically have less “psychological and neurobiological
capital.” Steinberg defines psychological capital as non-cognitive skills (e.g.,
self-regulation) that are important for success and neurobiological capital as
advantages procured from a protracted period of brain plasticity (Gotlieb, 2015). Fortunately, Self-control, a skill critical for success in many
areas, can be developed with training in mindfulness, consistent aerobic exercise,
and interventions aimed at boosting working memory (Hester, & Miller,
1989).

From my personal experience,
just being with adolescents with les psychological could be helpful. “I don’t
have a dream, I will just get a part-time job,” “I just want to receive basic
life pension and play computer games till die.” Surprisingly, those were the answers
that I received from 14-year-old students on my first day of volunteering. I
asked students about their future dreams and they answered without any
enthusiasm. Through my volunteer work, I realized that what they needed was not
just a teacher but someone who can be by their side. I met with these students
twice a week for two years. What I did was just be there for them and to make
them feel that someone cared about them. Surprisingly, it did not take too long
to see changes based on my relationships with them. After a few months, students
became brighter, made friends, improved academically, and even reached out for
help. However, the most prominent change was their attitude toward their lives.
They started to take care of themselves and dream about their future. For
example, the girl who just wanted to get a part-time job and had no desire to
explore her career interests realized her passion in cosmetics and enrolled in
a vocational school. She is now a young adult who works at a cosmetic company. Likewise,
a boy who did not care about anything else than playing video games enrolled at
a film school and has been developing his career as a film maker.