So writing articles about pop culture is turning out to be a smidge harder than I had imagined. For years, my sons had uttered mumbo-jumbo about nonsensical games and other things that I did not understand. Then, suddenly, I decided to write an article and all the chatter dries up. Hopefully, this will be just a temporary drought. If not, I may have to borrow so friends’/families’ more talkative daughter(s).

I decided to research and see if could learn more about current fads and trends to try out. Sadly, when I turned to the internet, what I found was a whole bunch of articles with titles like “15 dangerous teen trends you must know about” or “10 food fads that may kill your teen”.  It left me wondering are teens really so bad that people must write pages and pages of warnings? Why are they so different from adults that they would self-destruct without constant adult attention? The answer is pretty simple – biology. It is what keeps creation moving along. It is also what is transitioning a teen’s brain into an adult brain. It is encourages an individual to become more independent. It increases the capacity to learn. However, it also cause teen brains to be a little more stupid when it comes to making good choices. The transitioning brain is prone to being ruled by emotion. Teens are more likely to take on risky behavior and act only on instinct. And this is just what we know right now. Research is ongoing and who knows what the future will hold.

However, I fail to believe that all teens are hormone driven, zombie creatures. My oldest son is will be a teenager next June. He is a great kid. The worst thing that I can see him doing is forgetting his homework at school or accidentally dropping his iPhone in the toilet. It also wasn’t that long ago that I was a teenager. My brain feels like it stopped maturing around 17 years old. Except now it just has parenting information, medical knowledge, and weird facts sharing space in there with the Pythagorean theory and the understanding that you shouldn’t drink soda before going on stage because it can make your voice crack. I was a good teen. I might have graduated high school pregnant but that was one of the best things that ever happened to me in the long run. Besides that, the most mischief I ever got involved in watching one of my husband’s best friends spray non-stick cooking spray on my future in-laws hardwood floor to see if he would slide better. I wasn’t even involved. I just witnessed the event. The non-stick spray did not improve his sliding skills, by the way.

I also thought about my own personal frustration with these small, pre-adults. I refuse to go see a movie on a Friday or Saturday night unless it is R rated or a late showing. Why? Because teenagers can be jerks. I cannot stand when they are in a herd and I can hear their obnoxious conversations. Whether they are talking about boys, girls, parties, gossipy crap, etc., it literally makes my skin crawl. I do not remember my friends and I being that abhorrent. Maybe we were but time has glossed over  that part of history. Standing in line to pay for my movie ticket one night is when I had one of those “Oh, I AM so an adult now!” moments. Now I have embraced that being 30 is an appropriate age to get excited for a matinée.

However, my primary contact are with teen girls. As a nurse in a women’s clinic. I see women and girls of all ages. It is always a mixed bag. Some are pregnant, some are not. Sometimes I will bring back an unpleasant young women that rolls her eyes at all of my questions and refuses to look up from her phone. I look over that and treat her the same way as everyone else. Other times, I get the joy of bringing back the loveliest teen girls. They are respectful and mature. We talk about their plans for their future, especially if there is a baby on the way. We come up with strategies to get them were they want to be. We talk about hard work and taking responsibilities for ones choices. We are able to discuss issues as adults. However, my ratio of pleasant vs. unpleasant teenaged patients aren’t any worse compared to my adult patients. Sometimes people just have bad days or are downright unhappy people. I don’t see any difference in age groups.

So after some pro vs con consideration, I decided that teenagers are slightly more gullible, accident prone, bad choice making, obnoxious mini adults. And in truth, that is not too different from some full-grown adults that I know. Some suck and some are amazing human beings. Some are mature enough to make their own decisions and some are not. I still have peers in their 30’s that could really still benefit from some supervision. Teenagers and adults are both all still stumbling around trying to find the right path. Adulthood is not a wondrous concept that we suddenly learn on our 18th birthday. We spend our whole lives trying to find out who we are supposed to be and where we fit in. I am a 30 years old with 10 years of nursing experience and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I raise my sons hoping that every decision will be the correct one to help shape them into a decent human beings. With every birthday that they have, I silently celebrate that I have managed to keep them alive for another year.

So moral of the story is, teens, you are not all dumb idiots. Some of you have already grasped adulthood and no one needs to make sure that you are not eating weird food fads that might kill you. For those transitioning slower, it’s okay. However, please don’t hurt yourself or others before your baby brain grows up to be an adult brain. Just think before you act. Maybe ask an adult if your are not sure if shopping cart racing is a good idea. When you are on your own as an adult and you feel that the adults that have been “adulting” longer have their stuff together, don’t get discouraged. We just have more experience at being lost and can hide it better.

Source for brain development information: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/the-teen-brain-still-under-construction/index.shtml#pub5