AITC Weekly Connect – The teenage brain: under construction

Adult brains and teenage brains work differently.

We may joke about it however research has confirmed that teenage brains are not fully developed and won’t be until around 25 years old. Until that age, the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making centre are still developing—and not always at the same rate. A simple way to describe this is that a teenager’s brain is still under construction.

So, what can we do as parents and educators during this stage to support your young people?

At the Australian Industry Trade College (AITC), we promote critical thinking skills and problem solving. The journey with the AITC is about instilling employability skills in our young people and we know that this requires coaching and mentoring.

Our young people are empowered to do better; to be better. To stand tall, stand proud and stand out.

A few tips for parents to also support their teens include:

  • Offer frequent praise and positive rewards for desired behaviour. This reinforces pathways in your child’s brain.
  • Stay connected with your child. Share a meal together and talk about your day.
  • Ensure that they are receiving adequate sleep.

Expanding on the third tip, poor sleep effects the brain and can severely impact the executive functioning skills of a teenage. When the brain is still developing, sleep is important to reduce the impact of stress, regulate their moods and allow them to perform at their best. Dr Chris Seton, Paediatric Sleep Medicine specialist, has shared that approximately 70% of teenagers are sleep deprived.

Did you know that teenagers need at least 9 hours of sleep per night? It is important that students receive adequate sleep on school nights because during the week is when they need to be best functioning. Putting some measures in place to overcome sleep deprivation, such as establishing a healthy routine and limiting screen time 1 hour before bed, will make a difference.

As we journey these years together, we are grateful you have chosen to walk beside us, to give your young person a head start towards their industry career.