*photo courtesy of stockfreeimages.net
The title of this post goes against EVERYTHING that I have ever stood for!
I have always preached non control, choices and freedom for our kiddos…but some of the research I have been studying is changing some of my thinking.
I am currently reading a paper titled…
The Adolescent Brain: A Work In Progress by Daniel R.Weinberger, M.D., Brita Elvevåg, Ph.D and Jay N. Giedd, M.D.
So here is what I am learning…
Put your thinking cap on with this one and as you will quickly notice, I’m not smart enough to use words this big.
- Research has now determined that remarkable changes occur in the brain during the second decade of life.
- The understanding that adolescence is a time of profound brain growth and change is contrary to long-held ideas that the brain was mostly fully “formed” by the end of childhood.
- An important part of the front lobes—and one of the last areas of the brain to fully mature—is the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The PFC is responsible for such skills as setting priorities, organizing plans and ideas, forming strategies, controlling impulses, and allocating attention.
- Impulse control, planning, and decision making are largely prefrontal cortex functions that are still maturing during adolescence.
- Adult response to stimuli tends to be more intellectual, while teens’ is often more “from the gut.” This suggests that while the changeability of the adolescent brain is well suited to meet the demands of teen life, guidance from adults are essential while this decision-making circuitry is being formed.
- The ability for the brain to plan, adapt to the social environment, and to imagine possible future consequences of action or to appropriately gauge their emotional significance, is still developing throughout adolescence.
- Brain functions that enhance teens’ ability to connect gut feelings with their ability to help retrieve memories, to put situations into context, and to remember past details about a situation that might be important, are also under major construction during adolescence.
- Teens need to be surrounded by caring parents, adults, and institutions that help them learn specific skills and appropriate adult behavior.
- Teens themselves may be able to shape their own brain development. For example, neuroanatomical evidence suggests that learning and positive experiences help build complex, adaptive brains.
I really DO NOT think that parents should be control freaks. However, as I dive in and study more of this, it is clear to me that our kiddos need more guidance, more direction, more control, more tools, more resources, more intentionality, more coaching, more advice, more wisdom, more pointing and more decision making skills than many parents are giving. Including me!
I will still lean towards NON CONTROL, choices and freedom but I can assure you that I will be in neck deep teaching my kiddos how to think, process and decide.
Now what they do with that information is ultimately their choice.
Thoughts? Should parents have MORE or LESS control in their kids’ lives? Would love to hear your opinion?