Teens Just Wanna Have Fun

Youth Specialties
June 19th, 2016

Have you ever known a teen to do something so dumb that you just had to stop, laugh out loud, and say, “What were you thinking!” If you have, you probably received the same response I did: “I don’t know—it just seemed fun!”

Teens are usually quite fun to be around—at least they are when no harm is being done.

Do you remember what it was like to be a teen? Some of the best times of my life were during my teen years. Sure, I have a few regrets (who doesn’t?), but overall I have plenty of fun memories. The reason some of my greatest memories were during my teen years is because those were the years that fun was usually the only thing on the agenda—and last time I checked, that’s still the case for teens today.

No doubt all of us are responsible for some gray hairs on the heads of those who loved us and were responsible for us during our teen years. That’s why I find it comical—I mean, comforting—to see in God’s Word the psalmist say to the Lord,

“Do not remember the sins of my youth and my rebellious ways . . .” (Psalm 25:7 NIV).

Oh, if we only knew then what we know now!

Whether you’re a youth worker or a parent, here’s some good news about the teens in your life who are all about fun: studies have shown that teenagers’ brains are still developing.

This explains a lot! The part of the teenage brain that’s still developing is the very part that facilitates the decision-making process. Most people attribute teenagers’ poor choices to raging hormones or immaturity. Teens do have raging hormones, and they are immature, but the most likely candidate for these unwise decisions is neurobiology. (I’m not justifying or making a long excuse for bad behavior—teenagers should have consequences. But that’s a discussion for another time.)

The frontal lobe of the brain is the last part to develop. This just so happens to be the part of the brain responsible for reasoning and problem solving—the part that puts on the brakes when we’re tempted to take risks or seek thrills. So when it comes to teens’ brains, remember that it’s not what they’re thinking but how they’re thinking.

The good news is that this means there’s hope yet for these reckless teens—their brains just aren’t done developing.

By the way, I suggest we keep this “brain development” thing a secret just between us—that way the teens in your life can’t use this information as an excuse. Instead, think of it as extra coins in your patience pocket.

dinaDina Comer has served in youth ministry since 1988. She is the Student Ministries Director at Christian Life Fellowship in Florida, where her husband is the Senior Pastor. Dina is also the author of: Help! There’s a Teen in My House (Six Secrets to Understanding Your Teen).

Youth Specialties

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