Neurological studies have helped psychologists understand why teenagers tend to engage in risky behaviours and display more volatile emotions than children and adults. Research shows that development of the frontal cortex, which helps a person to plan, reflect and think, does not fully develop until at least 21 years of age. At the same time, the part of the teenage brain called the amygdala, which controls emotions and gut reactions, is developing quickly. So everything is “out of balance” for a while – until the pre-frontal cortex grows and things rebalance. As a parent, it can be amazingly helpful to know this is going on and why. You might be able to take things less personally, and even start to anticipate and avoid some of the confrontations.