The teenage time bomb
Parents often bemoan the transformation that takes place in their children during the teenage years, but for teachers coping with a whole class full of adolescents, things can be especially challenging. Research is now uncovering some interesting facts about the physical and emotional changes plaguing the young during adolescence, and there are many websites offering sound advice. Teachers trying to understand the problems facing young people in their care can use the resources outlined here to gain greater insight into adolescence, and to pick up some helpful tips. Physical changes
Some of the behaviour we associate with teenagers, such as mood swings, challenging behaviour and getting up late, may have physical origins. Scientists have discovered that the brain carries on growing well into the teenage years, and that the emotional centres develop ahead of the areas devoted to rational thought. This could account for the risk-taking behaviour of teenagers. In addition, their rapid hormonal fluctuations could explain sudden mood swings, irritability, aggression and depression. Moreover, teenagers have been found to have less of the hormone melatonin in their bodies than adults at certain times of night. Since this hormone helps us fall asleep, it could be that young people's bodies are actually keeping them awake at those times, with subsequent problems in the morning. Rapid growth spurts during puberty can also explain some of the clumsiness found in teenagers, since the body simply grows too fast for the brain to keep up. The BBC Science and Nature website Teenage Transitions has extensive information on some physical and behavioural changes affecting teenagers, and what might account for them. There are articles on everything from spots to voice-breaking, as well as explanations of emotional changes such as mood swings, sexual attraction, rows and rebellion. * Teenage Transitions
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