Windows of Opportunity: How to Make the Most of Adolescence

Just like the toddler years, adolescence is a time in which the human brain is primed to learn through experience.  

The brain is a remarkable organ. It’s always undergoing changes, but there are certain times during a person’s life when the brain is most malleable.  Those periods are when the brain can most easily make new connections and strengthen existing ones.  Windows of opportunity define the optimum times when these specific developments typically occur. By knowing when these periods are, you can harness the enhanced plasticity to make the most of this time for development.  Plasticity is the brain’s ability to adapt and to change in response to the environment.  

Any parent of a teen knows that these years are full of changes. We often think of the physical changes that occur at this time.  We must recognize the incredible changes occurring in the teen’s brain. As a child reaches adolescence, the prefrontal cortex continues to develop and mature with a very significant spurt of growth just before puberty. This means that important connections in the brain are strengthened while unnecessary ones are pruned away. This is the second window of time in which the brain is primed to learn through experience.

The changes that take place in the brain during adolescence will influence the ways in which teens will use emotional and cognitive information to make decisions. The teen brain is full of opportunities for learning and growth.  The brain’s plasticity and resilience enable learning anything at any time later in life. After the window, challenges will begin to increase.  

What is learned during these windows of opportunity can be learned masterfully.  Adolescence is an in-between time when these kids get the experience they need to begin to grow into the functioning adults of the future!

Our course, Leading Your Child to Success, explores topics such as your purpose and goals, focus on the future, ensuring financial success, and what should teens learn at their first job? We expand on ways to promote healthy behaviors and healthy bodies. Learn to enable trust and openness in your home, the impact of media, and find the role of parents in education.

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