Raise your hand if you’ve ever felt like your mood swings are out of your control: One day you’re obsessed with your friends, and the next day you’re freaking out because they went shopping without you. Or maybe you deep-down adore your parents, yet every time they say something even slightly annoying (“Did you take out the trash yet?”), you L-o-s-e I-t (“LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!!”).
We get it. Right about now, your emotions can feel like total chaos. But the good news is, at your age, those ups and downs are usually pretty normal. In fact, they stem from something awesome: Your brain is growing, changing, and making you better than ever. “The first dozen years of your life, your brain is a sponge soaking in all the things that unfold around you,” says Dr. Dan Siegel, a psychiatrist and the author of Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain.
Around age 12, though, something very different occurs: The body starts restructuring the brain so that it works like an adult’s—getting you ready to think and feel like a smart, independent grown-up.
Yep, you’re basically beefing up your brain for life on your own. The only challenge? Understanding the transformation taking place beneath your skull so you can harness all that new brainpower for good...not evil.