I just came across this clip from a Swedish morning TV show where a psychologist sits and explains that teenagers are reckless and stupid because their frontal lobes are not fully developed yet. I cannot help but feel a bit of doubt in that statement. Apparently, when the frontal lobes have grown together one is supposed to be able to think much clearer and deal with emotion easier. The philosopher within me comes out – the critical thinker within me comes out.
Apparently, this particular part of the brain is supposed to make it possible for people to think ahead, think one step further and control emotions. Well, this sounds odd since this is what I do, even if I happen to be “only” 17 and probably do not have fully developed frontal lobes. I always think one step ahead, I believe that I can – at least to some extent -control my own feelings, I have analytical skills and I grasp ideas and concepts rather quickly. All of these skills might have developed slightly during my IB years, but I think that is due to my education and not due to my brain growing together and developing – or maybe I have a brain injury?
What has always made me feel different from so many other teenagers is precisely the fact that I think of the consequences and believe myself capable of being able to think this is not the end of the world if something happens with any of my relationships – that I, because of being a teenager, should not be able to do such things I think is undermining me as a person.
It is supposed to make one able to control my emotions, my strong teenagerly emotions, better when I, for example, fall in love. Now, I have never really been truly in love and I think that is because I am able to control my emotions. If I had decided to fall in love with this guy who is nice or hot or anything, I could have and I could have let myself be completely and utterly crazy about this boy. I have stopped myself. Even when there has been the case of very strong physical attraction and personal bonding. I could have allowed myself to be soo teenagerly in love that you cannot believe it!
This morning show psychologist tried to blame all the stupid things that teenagers do on their brain development. I do not buy into this at all. I think it rather to be a result from parenting or the expectations put on teenagers by society. Teenagers should act stupidly and fool around drunk and in love and short sighted so therefore they do. How many times have I not met my dad’s friends and they have asked me 1. How it is with me and my boys, and 2. If I drink or run around with my friends at midnight at parties. I answer that I do neither but can feel in their eyes how they don’t believe me. The reasons for why people think in a certain way when they are young could just as well be explained by lack of experience. Maybe my decisions are not as good for me as my parents because I have not yet “learned from my mistakes”?
I think that one can also ask oneself if it in the study the psychologist referred to rather showed how the brain’s development is affected by behaviour and not the other way around. Does this seem like a plausible idea?
Maybe you who read this think that I am just an inexperienced, young girl who never have been in love and felt the strong feelings or that this response shows my “undeveloped brain” but I am prepared to challenge that view. With me I take the French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and his concept of mauvais foi (bad faith). I think that this brain study stinks of mauvais foi.
What is your opinion on this? Please comment below if you have anything to add
Ps. It also does not explain how teenagers in the past and in other cultures than the Western one might not behave as stupidly as the “normal teenager” of today.