Adults can be . . . weird. They’re always worked up about something that’s no big deal. They’re supremely uncool. They have zero chill. And why can’t they ever figure out how to use their phones? Even worse, these mysterious creatures have tremendous power. Adults determine your grades, run your extracurriculars, and police your social life. It can feel like their quirks are designed to make you miserable.
But adults aren’t hardwired to give you a hard time—they just experience the world differently. See, grown-ups have something teens don’t: a fully developed prefrontal cortex (PFC). That’s the big chunk of brain at the front of your head that controls decision-making, planning, and risk assessment. Since your brain develops from the back to the front, your PFC is (no offense) still puny in comparison. Neuroscientist Dr. Frances E. Jensen says: “The teenage brain is like a brand-new Ferrari. . . It’s all revved up but doesn’t quite know where to go.” And adult brains are more like your parents’ old station wagon. They aren’t flashy or fast, but they’re super-safe.
Adults may not see things your way, but you still have to share the road with them. Learning how to communicate effectively with grown-ups will not only make them more likely to see your point of view, it might also help you realize they’re not that different from you. (Bonus: These communication tips will also come in handy when you’re—gasp!—an adult yourself.)