New study seeks better insight into adolescent male behavior

New study seeks better insight into adolescent male behavior

Most parents would agree that they would do anything in their power to help their child if it was needed. Of course, raising a young child presents a much different set of challenges than raising a teenager. Mothers and fathers will want to be mindful of the transitional period their son is going through, as well as the unique situations they may face. Though a parent can do their part to have empathy, as they themselves have been through many common experiences in adolescence, a new study may now help to better facilitate that understanding.

The recent study was conducted by the Florida State University College of Medicine by a number of respected researchers. These findings specifically explain why certain unusual behaviors may occur in adolescent boys in particular. For example, their brains have been shown to have greater activity in the part of the brain that handles emotions when facing a threat. Teen boys have been shown to have much more reactions in their limbic system regarding threats than adult men, even when they have been told not to respond.

One of the research teams also discovered that teenage boys are generally impervious to threats of punishment. This naturally brings punishment into question as a proper response to deviant behavior in this age group.

To support this, another study has indicated that a molecule that has been shown to be critical in developing fear of dangerous situations is not as common in adolescent males. The findings further demonstrate the neurochemical differences between adults and teens.

The research conclusions are compounded by the common knowledge of the stress teenagers often face at this time in their lives. Whether biological or social, such as with peer pressure, teens face their own set of concerns on a normal basis.

How parents can help

Parents of teens may face a number of specific responsibilities in making sure their teen stays on the right track. They may have to deal with signs of depression, substance abuse or extremely disruptive behavior. Teenage boys in particular tend to be more predisposed to maladaptive patterns such as fighting with other peers or destroying public property. They are also more likely to be verbally abusive.

Dealing with the emotional trauma of losing a loved one or experience the divorce of their parents may further cause pain or confusion. The teen may be involved with a peer group that is doing them more harm than good and may be the cause of conflicts with the law. Behaviors such as cheating, stealing, bullying, hitting and lying should not be tolerated.

Parents should take advantage of services that are offered at their son’s school, such as a school counselor or psychologist. This may in turn help parents to find methods and skills of improving their adolescent’s behavior. Visiting a primary care physician for a thorough assessment is another important step; the physician can then direct the next step for parents. Behavioral treatment may be a possibility if other options prove ineffective. Treatment may prove more beneficial if the teen is experiencing turbulence in their family life or other areas of their personal life.

As the teen continues to grow, the more likely he will continue the behavioral issues into adulthood if they are not addressed. The teenage years offer the best opportunity to improve and shape the adolescent’s behavior in a new direction when they are still at their most impressionable. Therapeutic boarding schools offer different treatment options while also incorporating strict guidelines, an accredited curriculum path and solid life skills to incorporate in the rest of their lives. Parents can then be more readily assured that their son is ready to transition to adulthood.

For more information on therapeutic boarding schools and behavioral therapy treatment options for adolescent males, contact White River Academy at 866-520-0905 or visit

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