Teenagers get a lot of bad press. The teen brain really is different than those of adults, making adolescents more prone to impulsivity and risk-taking, and making them less adept at long-range goal-setting and planning. But paradoxically, these are side effects of the brain's profound ability to adapt during these years. This adaptability has been crucial to humans' capacity to evolve and survive, helping us make the transition from cave dwellers to computer users.
In his Grand Rounds presentation at the NYU Child Study Center on March 16, 2012, Jay Giedd, M.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health, talks about his brain imaging work with teens. As adolescents' brains continue to change and develop at a rapid rate through the mid-20s, they are astonishingly good at learning by example and practice. This highlights the importance of parents and other role models in teens' lives during these crucial years. Teens really will do as you do, often for the rest of their adult lives.
You can see a video of Dr. Giedd's full Grand Rounds presentation above. Below is an excerpt from an interview conducted with him at the CSC following his talk. You can see other videos from the NYU Child Study Center's expert clinicians and Grand Rounds speakers at the NYU CSC YouTube channel.