6 Summary of Session 2
The main learning points of this session are:
The long-standing idea that adolescence is a time of crisis (or ‘storm and stress’) is partially supported by more recent research although it is also evident that the influences on adolescent are complex and cannot be reduced to such a generalisation. Adolescents are living through changes in their bodies, their social world and the ways in which their emotions guide their behaviours.
Brain changes during adolescence, which have been discovered by the use of MRI and fMRI imaging, affect the way adolescents make decisions and learn. During this time of transition, young people may engage in risk-taking and become more receptive to peer pressure. Brain plasticity means that this is a good time for learning as well as susceptibility to the effects of alcohol and drugs.
Sources of difficulty in the adolescent’s social world include bullying and loneliness, which are heightened by the drive to feel a sense of belonging to friendship groups.
There is no clear dividing line between ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’. Encouraging young people to talk about what is happening in their lives can help them to cope and make healthy decisions.
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