Understanding Your Kids’ and Teens’ Brains

Can’t figure out why Junior “just can’t seem to do his chores without being told what to do at least half a dozen times”?

Does Junior Miss’s concept of time seem to revolve exclusively around “later,” unless something is important to her and she wants it “right now”?

Do you know kids who could only understand the concept of “personal responsibility” if it were made into a movie or rap song or they were forced to Google it?

LiveScience.com offers some great (and quick) new insights into the Whys of these unfathomable parental struggles.

Every parent knows that children seem to act before thinking. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court in an historic decision on March 1, 2005 abolished the death penalty for crimes committed by adolescents under the age of eighteen, thereby distinguishing between adolescence and adulthood. In Roper v. Simmons, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted that juveniles under eighteen have an “underdeveloped sense of responsibility… resulting[ing] in impetuous and ill-considered actions and decisions…are more susceptible to negative influences and peer pressure…their character is not as well formed as that of an adult.”

The May 18, 2009 edition of the Web site Live Science.com provides insights into the child’s developing brain and how it develops neural connections as we age. The article also provides a very good (and brief) film to illustrate this process of neural growth.

For more information see:

http://www.livescience.com/health/090518-child-brain.html

New evidence appears to indicate that adolescents’ brain waves reduce significantly while they sleep, reflecting a trimming-down or pruning of neurons inside teenager’s brains. And, while the brain decides which connections are important to keep and which are not, this process may have a number of significant implications for the growing adolescent and future adult.

For more information see:

http://www.livescience.com/health/090323-adolescent-brain.html

And before you get too frustrated about the fact that your 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17 year old may be a great athlete or just a really nice kid but isn’t very good at self-organized thinking, there are scientific explanations that every parent ought to keep in mind.

For more information see:

http://www.livescience.com/health/050517_teen_thought.html

Francis J. (Skip) Flynn, Psy. D.
7740 Southwest 52 Avenue
Miami, Florida 33143
(305) 271-0973

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