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Risky behavior by teens linked to brain development

It is not unusual for exasperated parents to wonder what is going in the minds of their teenagers. To parents, teenagers sometimes exhibit frustratingly incomprehensible behavior. This behavior can manifest itself in making bad decisions that may lead to problems at home or school. But it is especially concerning for a parent when a teenager's poor judgment leads to committing illegal acts.

But why are teenagers sometimes prone to making serious mistakes? Well, an expert on adolescent brain development believes there is a possible explanation as to why teenagers may take foolish risks that lead to trouble.

According to the expert, there are two competing systems in the human brain. One system drives our desire for excitement while the other system seeks to put a halt to the risky impulses. Unfortunately, during adolescence, the excitement seeking system is easily activated while the "braking" system develops more slowly.

Further, the expert conducted laboratory research in which he monitored the brain activity of teenage and adult test subjects. The tests involved the subjects playing a game and demonstrated that teens were more stimulated when being watched by their peers while playing a game than when playing alone. In contrast, adult brain activity was no different whether they were playing the game alone or had friends watching.

So this would indicate that teenage and adult brains function very differently in certain situations. Fortunately, the legal system typically recognizes that teenagers need some leeway when being judged for having committed criminal acts. But that does not mean that they won't be held accountable for their actions.

If your child has run afoul of the law, it is very important to make sure that his or her rights are maintained. In part, this means that a teenager should not be issued a punishment that is more likely to produce negative results in the long run. Having a New Jersey criminal defense attorney act on your behalf may be the best way to protect your child from excessive punishment by the juvenile justice system.

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