Psychology: Posts

6 things you need to know about the teenage brain

Dr John Coleman, author of Why Won't My Teenager Talk to Me? 2nd Edition, explains some of the cognitive changes that happen during adolescence.

1) The brain continues to change and develop throughout the teenage years allowing for new learning, such as improved memory, better language skills, and abstract thinking.

2) There is reorganisation and readjustment of many areas of the brain, which may lead to times of uncertainty and confusion.

3) The hormone balance alters significantly.New hormones such as dopamine become active, encouraging novelty-seeking and a push for excitement and rewards.

4) Sleep can be a problem for some teenagers as the hormone melatonin is released later at night than is the case for adults.

5) There is development in the social brain, which causes increased awareness of what others are thinking as well as what is called “preoccupation with the self”.

6) It takes time for all these changes to settle down. The more adults understand these changes, the more helpful they can be for this age group.


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About the Author

Dr John Coleman trained as a clinical psychologist, and was formerly a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford. He is the Founder of a research centre studying adolescents and their families, and during his career he has also run a special school for troubled teenagers and worked as a policy advisor for Government. In addition to running workshops for parents of teenagers, he has created two series for TV, and written books and developed videos on the adolescent years. John’s pioneering work has been widely recognised, and in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2001 he was awarded an OBE for services to young people.

Featured Book

  • Why Won't My Teenager Talk to Me?

    2nd Edition

    By John Coleman

    Do you wish your son or daughter would tell you more about what is happening in their life, and that they would open up to you more often? Are you worried about them as they seem to be spending more and more time in their bedroom and on their smart phone? The teenage years can be a time of concern…

    Paperback – 2018-10-03
    Routledge