Question 1:What physically happens to teen brains that make it difficult for someone like Gary to weigh risk and reward?
Gary is at a stage where his brain is still in development. Brain development starts from the back to the front. Due to this reason, the prefrontal cortex, the part that is used for decision-making has not yet developed fully. The amygdala is developed and is used together with the undeveloped prefrontal cortex. The amygdala causes making decisions, which are based on impulses and instinctive behavior. His decision-making abilities are not yet at adult-level making it difficult to weigh risk and reward.
Question 2:In addition to their brains changing, teens change socially too. Why may Gary value his peers more than his mom?
Gary may find it easier to associate with his peers compared to his mother due to the tendency of people preferring things that they have become familiarized. It is more natural that he is more comfortable around his peers who they have a lot of similarities than with his mom. Additionally, when around his peers, his reward system is more sensitive, andit is more developed than the risk system. This combined with interaction with his impulsive and emotional behavior and social interaction makes his attitude towards his peers better than it is towards his mother. It is evident due to his preference of making risky decisions to impress his peers and his mother occupying a lower priority.
Question 3: What specific strategies or advice would you recommend that Gloria can do to help her son to make better decisions?
I would advise Gloria to keep on speaking to Gary, converse with him about his companions and get to know them. She should have a relationship with his friends. She can in be persuasive to him and shape his conduct and future if she knows and understand them. She should encourage him to be transparent about the results he is heading to by settling on the awful choices, yet at the same time support him in attempting to discover himself. He is in a basic section of his life, wherethose who he invests his energy with aredetermines his future personality.
Question 4: Place yourself in Gloria’s shoes. How do you think Gloria is feeling? How can understanding her feelings help you offer constructive advice?
I am certain Gloria feels defeated and crushed emotionally. She is most definitely unsure of who her son is as she cannot understand what is happening to her son. She also feels like she fizzled as a parent. However, her son’s behavior is not associated to her failures as a parent. Most youth go through a development phase. Everything is determined by their mental health and their group of friends. She should try to understand the changes taking place in her son’s brain to make it easier to talk to him since she will be more informed and know what to expect.