Children First: Exploring the teenage brain - KOTA Territory News

Children First: Exploring the teenage brain

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New science is emerging after a 15-year study of adolescence brains. Doctors scanned  brains from ages 10 to 19 to see how the teen brain develops. 

Now KOTA territory teens and parents are getting a first hand look at this research through the "Reclaim the Brain Campaign".

Dr. Greg Lester, licensed psychologist specializing in adolescence behavior, gave a number of presentations and lectures in Rapid City on this research. He wants to ease the minds of parents of adolescents. "Kids really did not set out as a plot to destroy their parent's lives," he said.  "It seems that way but look teenagers have a hard time understanding themselves because their brains are running faster than they are," said Lester.  

Julia Larson, a Rapid City High School Junior, understands what Dr. Lester means. "When I was 13 and 14 around that age, I hit adolescents I definitely like you know like a ticking time bomb, anything would set me off," Larson said. 

Dr. Lester shared with parents and teens a study explaining the teen brain. "We call it cognitive hurricane, and there are about 15 different ways that the brain changes in adolescence and make them do all the kinds of crazy things," said Lester.   

 "They are very intense, they are very impulsive, they are defensive, they are accusatory, kind of paranoid about adults motives, they bond with each other by sharing behaviors that adults find repugnant," he said.  

But Dr. Lester says those attributes most likely won't be forever. "Life is so complicated now that it requires five extra years for the brain to finish, that's not a parenting failure; it's not the culture, that neurological extension of the brain changes." 

Amy Policky, mother of five children including two high school students said the lecture gave her a better perspective on raising teens. "I enjoyed the lecture, it put me at ease, with having teenagers and to understand that their brain is in chaos but that they'll get through it," Policky said.

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