Kevin the Teenager
The British comedy series the Fast Show has many famous characters but Kevin the teenager is a favourite.
A seemingly loving and polite son is transformed at the stroke of midnight that heralds his 13th birthday. The Jekyll and Hyde change is complete and Kevin walks differently and has a resentful and surly attitude to his parents. The parents stand aghast at what the next 6 years of their lives might look like.
Kevin’s favourite expressions to his parents are “I hate you, I wish I’d never been born” and staying with conviction that everything is “so unfair!”. He may well have also come out with “it’s not my fault”.
He is unable or unwilling to clean his room or help his father wash his car.
While Kevin is impolite to his mother and father he is quite angelic when talking to the parents of his best friend, Perry.
Kevin is depicted as confused and contradictory, seeking to assert himself at home but compliant and polite with elders that are not his parents.
Neuroscientists are beginning to find evidence for the changes in behaviour that are parodied in Kevin’s character.
- the connectivity of the brain starts at the back at moves to the front
- the frontal lobes are the last to be developed
It is the frontal lobes that contain executive functions that help with:
- organization and planning
- impulse control
- balancing the desire for reward with risks associated with achieving the reward
Frances Jensen, M.D. states in her book The Teenage Brain, that the 20% of the brain that is not fully developed is responsible for the propensity for teenage ‘mood swings, irritability, impulsiveness and explosiveness; their inability to focus, to follow through, and to connect with adults’.
There are methods to help support teenagers as they battle the missing 20% to succeed at school, in extra-curricular activities and as friends and much loved children and some of these will be examined in future posts.