TLast week we talked about kids and growing pains.  Emotionally, the “growing pains” that teens go through may be the most challenging for all involved.

Neurologically, the teenage brain is still developing.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “in teens, the parts of the brain involved in emotional responses are fully online, or even more active than in adults, while the parts of the brain involved in keeping emotional, impulsive responses in check are still reaching maturity.”

Current literature indicates that executive function – the part of the brain that allows us to monitor, control, and evaluate our attention, emotions, and behavior – is not fully developed until age 25, and sometimes even later.  No matter how adult our teens may appear, no matter how dramatically they fight for independence, they are still vulnerable and not quite neurologically ready to go it alone.

I ran across this amazing letter – The Letter your Teenager Can’t Write You

I thought it was quite insightful into the turmoil and needs of our teens.

Teens and Learning Challenges

When students struggle in school, they almost always require extra help from their parents.  With the teenage years being an ongoing process of becoming increasingly independent from parents, this becomes a real problem.  Teens simply aren’t receptive to their parents reminding them and helping them every step of the way.

If you follow my blog, you will see that I always come back to the same message, and the message is this:  Most learning and attention challenges can be dramatically improved or completely corrected.

When smart students (of any age) struggle with reading, school, or other aspects of learning, there are almost always underlying processing/learning skills that are not supporting them well enough (memory, attention, auditory or visual processing, etc.).

These underlying skills can change.  It is not a magic pill or an overnight process, but with targeted and intensive cognitive (brain) training, the underlying skills needed to learn easily can be developed.  The reading or other academic skills can be remediated and the skills can stick, permanently.

This is really good news, especially if you are beginning to wonder what is going to become of your teen after high school.  After 30 years of correcting learning and academic challenges, we have seen hundreds and hundreds of students be able to go to college and have stellar careers as adults as a result of correcting their underlying learning challenges.


Jill Stowell
Author:  At Wit’s End A Parent’s Guide to Ending the Struggle, Tears, and Turmoil of Learning Disabilities
Founder and Executive Director:  Stowell Learning Centers


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