By Hank Pellissier
What's a brief, ecstatic activity that can result in sobering, long-term consequences? Unsafe sex, with its high-risk of pregnancy, STDs, or both. The teen brain is uniquely prey to a risk-taking libido because it has a well-developed nucleus accumbus that seeks pleasure, but it's weak in assessing probability (due to immature frontal lobes). This leads to over-valuing short-term benefits, while underestimating enduring damage, also known as "leaping before you look." Throw in alcohol, drugs, and peer group pressure (see below), and the probability of unsafe sex shoots even higher.
A study published in the journal Developmental Science indicates that high schoolers behave far more recklessly when their friends are watching. Researcher Laurence Steinberg opined to the New York Times that teens, "do a lot of stupid things with their friends that they wouldn't do when they are by themselves," partly due to the fact that their "brain system involved in reward processing is also involved in the process of social information." Since teen craziness is both epidemic and contagious, try to convince your children to associate with buddies who have demonstrated at least a shred of self-restraint.
Photo credit: Datingammo_king
Next: Sobering facts »
Sign up for our newsletter and we'll send you more
insights to help you help your child succeed.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.