At the time of this writing, about fourbillions of people around the world are self-isolating. The pandemic destroyed the usual course of things and it was noticed not only by adults: the abolition of the exam, exams and graduation, the transition to distance learning, the reduction of contacts - all this does not affect the psychological state of the younger generation in the best way. Due to the fact that traditional education has almost disappeared, schoolchildren and students are mastering a new routine. Adolescents feel alarmed, angry and restrained, as they have increased reactivity to stress, which is considered the result of hormonal fluctuations and changes in brain development. Agree, being a teenager before the pandemic was quite difficult. And in conditions where adults do not always cope with self-isolation, it is obviously even more difficult. Moreover, the conditions accompanying social distance can exacerbate the problematic aspects of adolescence. Some scientists refer to what is happening as "social reorientation." Since teenagers usually spend most of their time at school or college, they rely on their peers. This helps them form their own feelings and opinions. But everything has changed. We tell what happens to adolescents during this difficult time.
What is adolescence?
In fact, adolescence is incredibleinteresting in the context of brain development. The thing is that the development of the brain in a person ends only by the age of 25. This means that the rest of the time - right up to your 25th birthday - the brain continues to form. For this reason, some experts propose to “extend” the concept of adolescence to 25 years. In his book, “The Biology of Good and Evil, as Science Explains Our Deeds,” neuroendicrinologist Robert Sapolsky called the chapter on teenage behavior “dude, where is my frontal cortex?” This is because it is the frontal cortex that is formed the longest, turning into a full-fledged working resource by twenty or thirty years. And from here, as Dr. Sapolsky writes, two extremely important consequences follow.
First: no part of the brain is formed so intensely in adolescence as the frontal cortex. And the second: we will not be able to understand adolescence outside the context of the late development of the frontal cortex. After all, a teenager already has hormonal, limbic and autonomous systems, and the frontal cortex is still on the way and can send only a meager set of instructions. That's why teens are so vulnerable, beautiful, dumb, impulsive and excitable.
Robert Sapolsky, “Biology of good and evil, as science explains our actions”
In simple words, youth is really the time of the highest risk, the search for novelty and friendship with equals. And all because of immaturity frontal cortexwhich appeared later than all during evolutionperson. This is the newest part of the brain into which most of the sensory information converges and then is processed. It is here that speech is formed and launched, from here the muscles receive a command to move. However, the most important thing that the frontal cortex is responsible for is the rules: the frontal cortex is included in any situation when certain rules need to be followed. And still not fully formed frontal cortex does not allow adolescents to correctly assess risks. Read about what else you need to know about the brain of adolescents in our material.
Yes, adolescence is a difficult time. Young people are beginning to understand who they are, or at least who they will be right now. And because of the pandemic, much of what once defined them has disappeared. In a sense, the restrictions imposed due to a pandemic limit their identity. Also, do not forget about family members who are themselves worried, and smart enough to understand what is happening with their children.
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Many teens feel “deprived”memories ”, as if they had“ stolen ”the memories that they had to make in high school. Some are upset because they will not be able to go to graduation, and being locked up often leads to increased anxiety. Thus, the National Alliance for Mental Illness claims that 50% of mental illness develops by age 14. That was before the pandemic.
According to CNN, the consequences of the pandemic in the world of education will remain for many years. This will apply to any student who is currently in high school. All current changes for a long time.
How to help teens?
According to experts, it is very important to allowteens to express what they feel in this difficult time. Even if everyone at home gets along with each other, for their emotional development it is very important to have their own free time. This opinion was expressed to Newsweek by Dr. Katherine Williamson, a pediatrician at the University of California. Her other recommendations include observing the regimen of the day, a healthy diet and regular exercise.
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It’s important to understand that this is a very difficult time forall of us, but it is especially difficult for teenagers. Communication and learning online, of course, have their advantages, but the lack of personal communication, the inability to walk with friends after class and attend sports and other developmental sections negatively affect the personality of young people. So let's be attentive and kind to each other. Sooner or later, the pandemic will end and the world will gradually return to normal. About how many, according to scientists, we will sit at home, read in our material. Be healthy.