Why do we allow 18-year olds to vote?

April 25th, 2017 by Ken

If you’ve ever raised a teenager then you know just how difficult it is.   That friendly outgoing loving child that once sat on your lap and listened intently as you read a bedtime story – – turned into a surly, foul-mouthed hateful person – – full of venom and hate for anything connected with her family.

That’s the way it is you reasoned.  That’s what teenagers do.  It’s just their way of pulling back and separating themselves from their parents so they can learn to be good, loving adults.

That’s what I used to think until recently that is.   A few years ago I learned that a child’s brain doesn’t spring fully formed as their bodies develop.   A teenagers brain is still developing, still maturing well into their 20’s.   And, the last part of the brain to fully develop is the part which understands consequences.

In other words, teenagers can’t see into the future.  They can’t recognize their behavior will impact them in just a few years.  Their brain doesn’t allow them to see the consequences of their actions.

At 14 or 15 a teenager can think logically, just like an adult does.  They can verbalize logic and even understand logic, but since her brain isn’t fully developed, there’s a disconnect between knowing and understanding.

Scientists have proven that the brain continues to produce sympathetic brain cells into the mid-20’s, which allow people to understand the impacts their actions have on others and on themselves.

So, while parts of a teenagers brain can think logically, it can’t make the connection between logic and consequences.

So, if the brain isn’t fully developed until the ages of 22 or 23, why do we let 16-year olds get behind the wheel and drive?   Better yet, why do we let 18-year olds vote?  Why do we let 17-year olds join the military?

Perhaps, in the past, when we didn’t know any better, it might have made sense.  That’s when we thought teenagers were just young adults.  Now we know better.  It’s time we re-thought our conclusions regarding teenagers.

Posted in Informational, The Real News

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