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How can I help my teen act responsibly?

For the teen, one area of the brain that is undeveloped is called the prefrontal cortex (PFC) This part of the brain, when fully developed, is in a constant dialogue with the emotional brain (the limbic brain). In the adult, the PFC and the limbic brain are in balance, each one inhibiting the other.

One highly effective way for parents and teachers to help teens develop the PFC is to make sure they have some ‘skin in the game’, and to make them deal with the consequences of their actions. This takes some thinking ahead (a PFC function) on the part of the adults, about the new freedoms and responsibilities that their teen will have. In the case of driving, for example, it is useful if the parents prepare the pre-adolescent with the idea that they will have to save up some money to pay for a car, insurance, gas etc. If the teen ever gets a parking or speeding ticket, they need to know that they will pay for it. Letting the teen know this in advance, is in a sense, loaning the teen our frontal lobe functions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.