Young, dumb, and free

More stories from Max Barnett


Egging, doorbell ditching, ways to make much more noise than needed, childish pranks, and adrenaline seeking are all things are quite often seen or heard of when teenagers are involved.  We seem to have a knack for getting in trouble. We aren’t fully mentally developed, leading to ideas that quite often lead to trouble, pain, or damaged items. Mischief and curiosity are very common in a teenagers lives. There are explainable reason for that, and maybe bad ideas are a good thing.

The prefrontal cortex of the brain is associated with decision making, which doesn’t finish maturing in females around 18, and in males around 22. This underdevelopment in the brain is probably the greatest factor of all for why we don’t always use our brains, leading us to do before thinking; leading us to do now, contemplate later. This underdeveloped prefrontal cortex also leads to a confidence of our abilities that may not be actually what we think they are. These reasons mixed with a lack of experience leads to mischief and risks that wouldn’t even be considered by most adults.

Though these decisions aren’t the best, they lead to lessons that we can’t in school. Where the line should be drawn, to put on a helmet, what risks lead to more pain than pleasure, to be more humbled, empathy for others when we aren’t so young anymore, and other life lessons that can’t always be taught, but instead need to be experienced.

So next time your kid or your neighbors do something that is not at all what they should be doing, or something that may be just be on the dumber side of things, just realize that we don’t always get what we are doing. Make sure we never cross a line that leads to life, property, or our bodies being risked, because some things can’t be reversed. When we get into trouble, remember not only that we actually weren’t thinking, that you were there too, nobody is perfect, but most importantly that we need those lectures and lessons that only you and life can give us.