Frontal Lobes ?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by fedup, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. fedup

    fedup New Member

    I heard something today, and wondered if any of the good researchers from this site can back it up? I'm not sure where to look, and am fairly short on time at the moment.

    Is it possibly true that the frontal lobes don't develop until between the ages of 20- 30? Does this possibly have anything to do with some of the problems we have with our children?

    This is not something that I know for a fact. It is something I was told and in some caes, it may make sense, but some of the information I have received from this person seems to be highly suspect.
  2. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    The brain, generally speaking, isn't fully developed until 26 or so. In the teen years there are a lot of changes going on as the brain prunes back on nerve connections it no longer needs.

    The frontal lobes are associated with controlling impulsive behavior.

    I think what you heard was fairly accurate information.

    Wiki has a page:

  3. Steely

    Steely Active Member


    Thanks for posting this!
  4. Jules71

    Jules71 Warrior Mom since 2007

    We were just told by our private clinical psychologist that the pre-frontal cortex does not finish developing until about age 22. He said at that time brain cells begin to die. We were asking him about ADHD and he said if a child exhibits ADHD symptoms at age 16, he will not grow out of it.

    Some of what I just read:
    "A region called the prefrontal cortex plays the role of arbitrator in making these critical decisions. It quickly sizes up the situation and makes a determination which then drives our behavior. It is the prefrontal cortex then that tells us when to act on our anger, or curtail it, eat that second piece of dessert, or go without, seek immediate gratification or hold off for the long term.

    Unfortunately some people have a poorly developed or poorly functioning prefrontal cortex. These people have a hard time controlling impulsive behaviors. Head trauma, alcohol and drug abuse as well as possible genetic predispositions can all lead to a dysfunctional prefrontal cortex. Maturity also plays a big role as this area takes about 20 years to fully develop. Hence, adolescents may have problems quickly sizing up risks and making good ong-term decisions."
  5. fedup

    fedup New Member

    Thank you for the information. I think it really is what I wanted to hear. But, then again, I had hoped she was wrong...

    I also learned that maybe I do talk too much. But, only to certain people. It has something to do with that thing called boundaries. I offer my opinion where it will do no good. I need to learn to wait until I am asked, and then let 'er rip!
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Yes ... there are definite genetic components.
    However, anyone with-a smidgen of discipline can be trained, and eventually, train themselves to control those excess electrical impulses. It takes a long time--years--but it's worth it. We do little exercises with-our difficult child, such as allowing only a minimum of video game activity; and when he starts tapping with-his hands or picking at his face, we have him sit still with-his hands in his lap for about 30 sec.
    It helps teach him body awareness, hyperactivity awareness, etc. and to control it.
    It's a lot easier to control when he's on medications, of course, but I think of those as an assist and not be-all and end-all. Only a small percentage of kids can wean themselves from ADHD medications when they're teenagers but it's worth a try.

    Our kids are impulsive and immature, but I cannot simply say that to blow it off is the right way to go (I'm not saying you are doing that). IOW, I believe in working through it all and rewiring the brain as early as possible, to create lasting changes. Just sitting around waiting for maturity to happen at age 23 is unrealistic in my humble opinion.

    I have seen a lot of changes in my difficult child, the beginnings of maturity. Still, he's 10 going on 7. On a good day. But I see a continual uphill curve of improvement, which means that progress is occurring, slowly but surely.
  7. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    If he said that, he is mistaken based on all the recent research on brain functioning in teens and brain maturing.

    The brain cells that die off begin to die off in the teen years. The development of the brain is not complete until that happens. What die off are excessive nerve connections that formed in the early years of life which, because so much of the growth and learning that takes place post puberty, are no longer needed once the growth process begins to slow.

    Dopamine is associate with impulsive behavior. Dopamine levels in teens continues to fluctuate through the late teens and early twenties, again, until the brain is fully developed.
  8. navineja

    navineja New Member

    This probably sounds like a dumb question, but something you mentioned made me wonder. You said that your son picks at his face- Is this related to the ODD or ADHD? I know that the tapping can be an ADHD thing. I ask b'c Neesie tends to go thru spells of picking at her face until she leaves scratches and scabs (not big, but still...). It is always on the same side of her face. She has small scars on that side too, that were there when she came to us.

  9. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    No, he's not that picky, LOL! But it's a nervous habit ... now that I think about it, he picks at his cuticles, too. It's anything that's repetitive and annoying ... the foot tapping and pencil tapping is the worst, and also, when he stands, he moves his feet left to right like he's got a soccer ball between his feet, very antsy sort of dance step, and that is classic ADHD.
    You just have to keep reminding them of these things.
  10. Sheila

    Sheila Moderator

    My difficult child's anxiety symptoms include picking at his cuticles. Anxiety might be something you want to discuss with-his psychiatrist.
  11. ShakespeareMamaX

    ShakespeareMamaX New Member

    Wow! Some helpful info in this post.

    I can say...I'm 26 and I'm NOW starting to go comepletely insane!

    Let's hope my frontal lobes kick in, soon.

    I've heard that that is the part of your brain that controls impulse.

    Scary if it takes THAT long for it to kick in...

    I'm curious as to why you ask...

  12. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Well, Sheila, most of that behavior happens at the therapist's ofc, when we're all staring at difficult child after we've asked him a pointed question, LOL! So maybe that's not a fair assessment on my part.
  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Interesting ideas Terry. We have worked with the repetitive motions with ALL of the kids for years. With difficult child we started asking him to stop the repetitive motion. For a while we had to tell him what motion he was doing. He did not seem to realize it was happening until we said something.

    After about a year we could ask him what he was repeating. After a while it evolved to simply saying "repetitive motion". Most of the time we don't even look at him. In the last 2 years he will start, then stop and say "Oops, sorry".

    I know that it helped him greatly to be able to go into his room and do whatever he wanted. If we/his grandparents are in HIS room, we do not ask him to stop unless he is hurting himself (picking scabs, primarily). He knows that in his room he is free to do the motions if they do not help him. HAving this area where we "respect" his right to this made him much more willing to stop when he is in our room or a common family area.

    When he was younger, and at this point with thank you, we sometimes have him do the behavior for a solid minute, or five minutes - just enough to get tired of it. He was able to learn what he wanted to continue, and to sort of get it out of his system.

    Can I ask how much video game time you limit him to? Just curious, because I know parents who think 10 mins a day is enough, some who think 2 hours a day or more is enough. I can say we let them have 30 mins of TV time or game time on school days. We may also watch a family show, but videos and video games are limited. thank you often takes his as soon as he gets home from school. Then he quite willingly turns off the TV and does his homework and 30 mins of reading. We usually have to pull him OUT of the book if we need him to do something!

  14. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    My frontal lobes never developed But I'm dead serious. I've had executive function disorders all my life and am still very impulsive. I'm not convinced that everyone has well-developed frontal lobes. I really have to "watch it" with the impulsivity and organization. Anyone know if they can still develop after you are 54? :wink:
    I think some people have frontal lobe deficits. I've been told I do. NO, you can't see it on a scan. I've had them.
  15. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    My son played/plays video games as a means of calming himself. I can expect that after he's been emotional he will play a game for a while. It's his way of escaping, shutting off and regrouping. Sounds like that's what thank you does after a hard day at the
  16. Sara PA

    Sara PA New Member

    Topamax is known to deminish the workings of the frontal lobes. For someone with frontal lobe seizures or overly impulsive, for instance, that might be a good thing. "Good" is so subjective.