The teen and young adult years are a hard time. Teens look old enough to make adult-like choices, but lack the developmental maturity to grasp the broad magnitude of behavioral consequences. They often fail to pause long enough to consider repercussions seemingly irrelevant to how they feel right now or what they really want to do right now. Yes, teens do have the capacity to choose, but a large body of research tells us many factors beyond their control make those adult-like choices more difficult than we would prefer.
Teens are dealing with changing brains, changing bodies, and a fragile self-concept in a transforming social world that we all know can be brutal for even the most popular kids. Studies show psychological and social immaturity through these years increases risk-taking, impulsivity, susceptibility to peer influence, sensation seeking, and lack of future orientation. Hence, too often failing to stop and reflect or project before acting. As a result, the majority of adolescents become involved in some form of adolescent-limited deviance (e.g. substance use, detachment from school, and/or delinquency) that begins in adolescence, increases through the late teens, begins to decrease through the mid-twenties, and eventually desists during adulthood. That means a teen engaging in some form of deviance or risky behavior is common enough to be considered normal. Even violent criminal behavior in adolescence is not a reliable predictor of future criminal behavior.
We’re here to help young people maximize their resources where they are, while developing the skills they need to achieve their potential. We are passionate about empowering young people to overcome the challenges unique to their situation and to create a life they can be proud of. We live for this work.