Rebellious children who drink and smoke grow up as children, research suggests

Children who are acting and rebellious are more likely to grow up to be nicer adults, a new study suggests.


The new study by the University of North Carolina and Leiden University showed that children who drank, smoked, generally took risks and sought pleasure as they grew older, calmed down, but appeared to show more empathy than others .

As if they wanted to prove the Breakfast Club scientifically, social scientists said their work is a reminder not to put people – especially teenagers – in negative stereotypes.

Although their research was based on surveys, the research team also notes that the relationship between socially positive and risky behavior may be related to a brain region that manages both types of impulses.

According to a new study, the most & # 39; bad & # 39; worn teenagers may become friendlier and more forgiving, suggesting that we should reconsider our stereotypes, as the five central characters of the cult classic The Breakfast Club did (photo)

According to a new study, the most & # 39; bad & # 39; worn teenagers may become friendlier and more forgiving, suggesting that we should reconsider our stereotypes, as the five central characters of the cult classic The Breakfast Club did (photo)

Frustrating although teenage rebellion can be for parents and teachers, psychologists and child development experts, adults quickly recall that pushing back rules is a necessary phase of growth, as children are their own identity.


Adolescence starts around the age of 10 and continues until people are around 19, although the exact period varies from child to child.

This is the moment when they begin to stretch themselves and push boundaries.

It's not just & # 39; hormones & # 39; who control their apparent rash behavior.

The brains of adolescents change – and quickly.

Their brains work differently than those of adults and therefore they act differently.

Major changes are taking place in the frontal cortex of a young brain, the area in that area that controls our reasoning to consider consequences before we act.

Meanwhile, the number of connections between different cells and brain regions multiplies as their ability to think and act on more complex motivation develops.


But the hairpin trigger region of the brain, the amygdala, develops earlier in life.

So tweens, pre-teens and teens are fully capable of acting emotionally and reacting, their brains still changing to give them the power to reason and act rationally.

And during the same phase of life, adolescents develop their social sensitivities, although they may be at odds with their reactivity, periodic aggression, and contempt for what is expected of them.

Rebellious, risky actions can be disobedient rules and alcohol or smoking.

During these activities, scientists looked at how another part of the brain, the ventral striatum, became more active.


This region is closely linked to the feeling of reward by doing something pleasant or fun.

And it wakes up and becomes more active during & # 39; prosocial & # 39; activities, that is, activities that benefit others.

Because both risk taking and social development are such characteristics of this phase of life, the team of researchers from Northwestern University and Leiden University wanted to know if they could go hand in hand to predict each other.

So they interviewed 210 young people in the Netherlands.

When they were first interviewed, members of the group were between eight and 25 years old.


They were then re-interviewed two years later, and one more time two years later.

Each time they were interviewed, participants also received MRIs to monitor their brain activity in the two regions associated with risk-taking and prosocial behavior.

The children who were the most rebellious, took risks & # 39; s and more & # 39; fun & # 39; often had social skills that made them friendlier and more understanding of others – exhibiting qualities such as empathy and the ability to see both sides of a problem.

And the pleasure seekers and risk takers were more likely to maintain their prosocial behavior and to remain empathic at a later age.

"Our study suggests that pleasure seeking can be a trait that leads to different aspects of adolescents' development, and that adolescence is a time of both vulnerabilities – seen in risk taking – and opportunities – seen in helping of behavior, "said co-author of the study, Dr. Eva Telzer, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.


& # 39; It also suggests that taking risk can serve positive goals, such as when adolescents take risks to help others. & # 39;

In other words, helping others instead of just being selfish is a kind of risk that rebellion can stimulate the brain for both kinds of daring behavior.

And for that reason, lead researcher Dr. Neeltje Bankenstein, a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University, says that we may have to judge teenagers who act so hard.

"Because adolescence is often associated with negative stereotypes, our findings provide a more nuanced picture of adolescents' development by focusing on the relationship between risk-taking and prosocial behavior," she said.

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