Why Do Adolescents Act So Recklessly?

Alondra Rodriguez (9th), Reporter

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Being reckless means you don’t think or care about the consequences of what you say or do and you do not care who is affected by it. Adolescents are known to act very recklessly mainly because their prefrontal cortex is not fully developed.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the prefrontal cortex is in charge of social behavior, personality, expression, decision making, and planning. A human’s prefrontal cortex does not fully develop until their early or mid twenties. At a younger age, adolescents do not have the judgment they need to prevent making bad decisions. They have a harder time deciding between good and bad or same and different.

Helicopter parents can also take the blame of why teens sometimes decide to act recklessly. When people have overprotective parents, they have a low tolerance for frustration and act out when they experience it.

Annahi Carbajal, a student here at Pitman High, felt she has acted recklessly before because of how overprotective her parents are.

“My parents are pretty overprotective and when they are, it annoys me and I just want them out of my business,” says Annahi. “My parents don’t give me as much freedom so it makes me really frustrated. I noticed I get mad and annoyed a lot easier when people tell me I can’t do something or when i’m ordered to do something. It makes me feel the same way I feel when my parents don’t let me do something. Because of this, I act impulsively most of the time.”

Another reason teens can act recklessly is because bad behavior can be contagious. Bad behavior is not literally contagious, but sometimes adolescents develop bad behavior by witnessing it. For example, a teen may make bad decisions just to please their peers and to fit in. This can also be known as peer pressure, which is very common amongst teens, especially in high school.

Annahi Carbajal has also been influenced by peer pressure:

“When I see someone do or act a certain way that is considered ‘cool’, I feel the need to do or act the same way. When I go over to my friend’s houses and I see them talking back to their moms, I find myself going back home and talk back to my mom. I am also influenced by what I see on social media. I try to wear and do the same things that other people do if I think it’s cool,” she says.

Another cause of teens acting recklessly can be hormones. After puberty, the hormone testosterone surges.This is the hormone of sex drive, aggression, and risk-behavior.

There are many explanations as to why teenagers acts recklessly. If adolescents are acting recklessly because their prefrontal cortex is  not fully developed, helicopter parents, developing bad behavior from others, peer pressure, or they’re just going through puberty, it is just a matter of time until these reckless teens become adults and stop their bad habits.

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