Skip to comments.Inside The Teenage Brain
Posted on 12/04/2010 1:49:57 PM PST by re_tail20
"I would rather give birth to a baby elephant than raise a teenager again. It would be less painful," says Renee Cassis Hoering of New York City. "I cannot believe that my darling, sweet little girl has turned into a 16-year-old stranger who just wants money from me all the time."
After seeing his son through the teen years, Bob Mittelsdorf is in favor of the Mark Twain approach to child-rearing: "When a child turns 12, he should be kept in a barrel and fed through the bung hole, until he reaches 16 at which time you plug the bung hole."
The intensity. The sullenness. The drama - and it isn't only the rebellious kids who suddenly turn on us. When my friend's son -- a straight-A student and all-around sweetheart -- recently ended up in the hospital getting his stomach pumped because he went out drinking with friends for the first time and had no clue how much was too much, that's when I realized: There is just no predicting. Even for the most responsible kids, there is always that combustible combination of youth, opportunity, and one bad night.
As recently as 15 years ago, parents (and even scientists) threw up their hands and cried, "Hormones!" when asked why our children become so nutty around the time of adolescence. Certainly an unholy passion for Justin Bieber or Selena Gomez doesn't help, but it's hardly the whole story. For that you have to turn to science.
(Excerpt) Read more at parade.com ...
My FReeper son was pretty good, other than some physical damage from playing ball in the house or something. I wondered what I would do if he suddenly went wild, but it never happened.
My sisters, on the other hand, whew! Glad I was old enough to be out of the house.
Then do not give her ANY money.
I’m convinced that one of the biggest mistakes our society ever made was stratifying in terms of age groups. Where, once upon a time, teenage sons might work with their dads out in the fields or in the shop, we now have kids warehoused in public schools, organizing their own society along the lines of “Lord of the Flies” and having very little to do with the parental or grandparental generations. Then we act all shocked and confused when their greatest influences are other teens and the stupid shows on MTV, and the resulting behavior is incomprehensibly heinous.
Thanks to Watching Beavis and Butthead when I was younger, this sentence put an awful image in my head, at first, before I put two and two together.
“It’s no surprise, then, that previous research has shown that up to 20% of high-schoolers fall asleep during the first two hours of school. According to a study done by Kyla Wahlstrom at the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement at the University of Minnesota, later start times for high school students would be beneficial. Wahlstrom collected data from two districts in Minnesota that moved the start time for high school about an hour later; there was a significant reduction in dropout rates and depression.”
So it would be a good idea for high schools, and maybe colleges and universities, to have days’ classes begin at 9:00 AM instead of 8:00 AM. I’d be for that.
The only thing more insufferable than a teenager who thinks he knows everything is a college kid who thinks he knows everything. But I guess many of us oldsters have been there, done that.
What you say makes tons of sense. Thanks.
Absolutely agree with you. The same goes for college students. Half the time you get this stupid liberal stuff from them because someone with a liberal ideation came around and is given a platform for speaking, the students think it sounded good, and the rest of the crowd goes along. They end up with like-minded people everywhere they go.
You have people of the same age in the military, but unlike college, where students are expected to be adults, so no adult guidance is provided, the military knows just how stupid young people cam be on their own and provides a strong adult hand to help get their minds right.
This is still one of the best pieces ever written about teens. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1996/03/28/DD54240.DTL
Bingo. Give the little man a big cigar! “By George, I think she’s got it!”
Home school families report the delight of having children who are more wholesome, chaste, and personable as teenagers than we ourselves were. Something about in one’s own family tends to help kids grow up normal.
Interesting article. The insight concerning the impulsiveness of an immature brain makes sense. The gratuitous anti-gun BS interwoven into this particular example does not. The liberal knob offering it seems to be suggesting that 50 years ago, gun possession and use by teenagers were rare, and that the "proliferation" of guns in recent years has led teenagers to commit Columbine-type crimes. If anything, gun possession and use by teenagers was far more common 50 years ago. Columbine did not result from a proliferation of guns. In fact, it happened at a time when the gun control forces were in their heyday.
Columbine is better explained as a consequence of modern psychotropic drugs on the teenage brain--drugs prescribed by physicians not unlike the doctor quoted in the article.
Interesting article: has our Vanya written all over it.
I've read more books about teens and their troubles in the past 6 months than I can imagine but the one I'm reading right now called: Why Do They Act That Way? A survival guide to the Adolescent brain for you and your teen by David Walsh Ph.D is one of the best.
The caption and my memory only allows me to paraphrase was:
“Og,the first statistician,came to the unfortunate conclusion that throwing teenagers of a cliff may be counterproductive to human survival.”
I’m currently reading a book called, “Hold On To Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than Peers.” The authors state basically the same thing you just did. I haven’t gotten to the solution part yet.
I will say that I have noticed an enormous change in my children’s behavior since we pulled them out of public school and started homeschooling. Of course they still fight with each other and when I say, “JUMP,” they don’t ask, “How high?” But I figure we’re starting at negative ground - HA.
If I had it all to do over again, I would not send them to school. You can really tell a difference between kids who have been home-schooled since the beginning that those that haven’t.
My oldest is about to turn 13, I’m going to have this framed and hanging on the fridge, “ATTENTION TEENAGERS: Tired of being hassled by your stupid parents? ACT IMMEDIATELY Move out - Get a job Pay your own bills START NOW WHILE YOU STILL KNOW EVERYTHING”
Couldn’t be prouder of our son - the only time he has ever asked for money was to have painful wisdom teeth removed when he was 20. Daughter...a bit more dependent, but younger & always grateful.
My bro-in-law had the right idea. Lunar juvenile colonies.
My oldest is 14 so I am just beginning this journey. I talk and talk and talk and talk... I find it keeps me informed with his responses. As for parties, that issue has already come up and I was SHOCKED that many of the parties “allow” alcohol” by the parents (or they pretend to ignore it if it shows up). One of my proudest moments recently was when he decided NOT to go to three party invites over the Thanksgiving holiday. He found out there would be alcohol/pot and chose to stay home. I hope he stays this clear and mature.
Although there is evidence of the rate of brain development stuff, this article sounds like a lot excuse analysis. How did teens cope for the last 5000 years?
I’ll tell you. They were given NO CHOICE.
Families and cultures demanded discipline and contribution to family chores—or else.
Somehow teens just had to bang through all that and not wig out.
I hated this mincing article.
The age-segregated school paradigm is the only time in one's life where most human interaction occurs within the same age group. The old one-room schoolhouse more accurately reflected the real world. Another reason to homeschool these days.
” the military knows just how stupid young people cam be on their own and provides a strong adult hand to help get their minds right”
Its a 4 year lapse in judgement. They come home and are as screwed up as the rest of us.
” He found out there would be alcohol/pot and chose to stay home. I hope he stays this clear and mature.”
He’ll probably smoke pot. The question is does he have a propensity to continue? Sounds like you have a good kid.
Doesn’t everyone know that the smartest people in the world are teenage girls? I’ll tell you, they have the wisdom of the ages. They can tell you, like, everything that’s totally wrong with the world. Just ask one.
That is lovely. Thanks.
I’ve always thought that kids should be born with ‘off/sleep’ buttons. You enjoy them little, turn them to ‘sleep mode’ from 12-18, then wake-em up and see what you have. During sleep mode they could be fed intraveneously( or let-em wake up long enough for one huge meal daily) and educated by sleep-tapes.
That or some kinda ‘happy’ additive to teen food.
And who’s fault is that? Blame the schools for lack of family time?
2 of my son’s went to Public school and I am home schooling my 3rd. I don’t home school to prevent him from the influences of the outside world either. I home school because he was falling through the cracks.
My oldest son was born ready to kick some butt. In fact the first comment my husband made holding him was that he looked like he should be smoking a cigar. #2 born as mellow as can be and still is. #3 He is even keeled.
We were not helicopter parents, but we always were involved in their lives, they played sports and were never interested in the 24 hr. video games and computers. In their 20, 19 and 14 yrs. they have given me more grey hair than I care to think about.
However, they were taught from the very beginning, YOU yourself are responsible for you! I don’t go for the “I didn’t do it I was just there!” They had to pay the consequences, including a night in jail. When my son called, he was told......Hate if for ya, I’m going back to bed, enjoy breakfast.
They have turned out fine. Lots of ups and downs but that is life and they have to learn to deal with it.
My oldest would get confrontational with me...very hard headed and short fuse.
I told him I would jack him up and he said I could not because he could call the police....I told him, don’t bother I’ll call and I did. Put it on speaker phone, explained to the detective I had a wise-ass teenager who thought they would come to his rescue.....reply.....Body shots ma’am, nothing to the face. That shut him up real fast.
At 18 I slapped his face silly when he got mouthy to me in front of his friends...Told him he was lucky because he was still in HS, otherwise I would have knocked his teeth out, the only thing that stopped me was the thought of the dental costs.
Those are the only 2 times things really got ugly. At 19 he was still illing at times, I wrote him a letter and told him in no uncertain terms what I thought of his attitude and where it was taking him and that I would not sit back and enable his behavior. I also told him that I will not respond to the letter for a week. He was livid but....it did sink in.
He decided not to go to school and joined the military instead....in one letter from Basic, he brought up things in that letter and understood what I was trying to tell him. Oh boy, did I cry.
Hang in there, be strong, be firm and stick to your guns. Some just have a harder time than others but all is not lost.
For most of human history there were no “teenagers”. People went from being a child to being an adult.
This situation we have created with teens wanting to live like adults but having no adult responsibility is crazy.
People in general spoil the snot out of their kids and grandkids, because in their minds, they deem them so CUTE. Then when they get into the toddler stage, they become loud, screaming tyrants holding everyone in the family (including extended family) hostage. We have some family members who put on videos of their kid while we’re already watching them play in the floor in front of the screen. So, we get to watch the admittedly cute kid playing onscreen AND in person for hours at almost every family gathering. Whew! - I wouldn’t doubt that Ritalin will be used later on in order to try to alleviate the temper tantrums. I hope it gets straightened out, but I just keep mum and try to keep the peace. - Sigh . . .
My Grandmother Ruby was born in 1884. She told me that back then there were no teenagers. Girls and boy were children until around fifteen years of age. Then they were expected to be grownups. She said teenagers were a more modern invention. The first time she heard of a young person being called a teenager was in the 1920’s. She graduated at age 16 the top in her class of five scholars in Pleasanton, Kansas. Her husband, my Grandfather Frank, graduated the next year at the old age of 17. They married when they were 18 years old. Her mother made her afternoon lavender gown. She told me that white wedding gowns had not been invented yet. Grandfather worked as a bank teller. Their first home was two rooms about her Papa’s mercandile.
The ONLY people who can fix it is the parents themselves!!! You give up your entire weekends to do things with your kids, even if you are run down with exhaustion. You get them involved in youth groups through church. You take them hiking and camping away from all the electronic stuff, you take them fishing, and hunting and four wheeling and bike riding, whatever. You start at a young age, you make it a lifestyle.
I found that there were lots of parents who thought “not my child”, they never saw it coming. I also thought, “Why not my child” and kept in tune to what was going on and TRIED to head things off at the pass.
Strong male role models are very important for both girls and boys.
Also, we have gotten to this thinking that your kids should never get their feelings hurt. That is BS, it is what it is, there are times when they should get their feelings hurt and feel shame for their actions.
My daughter turned into a psychotic monster from 15 to 17. I wasn’t sure whether to kill myself or her or both. I thought about taking out a seller’s account on Ebay and selling her to some Arab sheikh, but didn’t do so only because I knew I’d get bad feedback when the sheikh realized what a pain in the tuchus she was. Then at 17 she started to return to the lovely, sweet person she had been from 0 to 14.9. Now she is 22 and a real joy once again. We survived!
My son is 16, and while he was a miniature Godzilla from birth through age 8, he is very sweet, funny, and easy to live with. We rarely have a problem. Any arguments we have blow over in 2 minutes. Everyone loves this kid.
One of the toughest things in raising my teens has been how lax and lazy their friends are. Nice kids but with lots of money and no responsibilities. My kids have always held it against me that I have required them to take on chores. Hauling in the wood to heat the house, Heck I BOUGHT IT, lawnmowing, washing dishes, washing their clothes, going to the dump, cleaning the garage, etc. My kids are right, their friends are at swimming, golf, dirtbiking and fourwheeling, snowmobiling,and other things that I cannot afford and do as a single mom. My son earned and owns the two dirtbikes we have.
In literature there are stories of many fourteen and fifteen year olds who go to work as secretaries in the city. They were all grown up with adult responsibilities.
My twenty one year old still is a difficult human who has strayed far from her family’s values. I have detached and she will have the life she wants.
Vermonter, what you say is true. In earlier centuries, our differing diets meant that most girls did not acquire the body fat necessary to menstruate until they were in their mid- to late teens, which meant that they were amenable children until 15 or 16. Not long after that, it was right off to the altar or the army with them.
Kids in the past were also tranquilized with hard work—life simply demanded lots of hard work for survival, and believe me, teens are much less trouble when they’re exhausted. Close-knit communities and the control of an active church helped impose discipline from outside of the family.
I am a single mom with no family nearby, so it wasn’t always easy for me to stay in control. But I just did what my parents did: I found out what each child wanted and kept control of that thing. I told them, “I have the car keys and I have the checkbook, so if you want anything you’d better be sweet.” This worked well. My son knows well that if he is in the least insolent or unhelpful, he’ll lose his internet connection, his cell phone, and worst of all, his precious XBox (horrors!)
Keeping them busy working for what they want also helps; the only thing that kept my daughter from going off the rails in her teens was that she had to work extremely hard to pay for the riding lessons she craved, so she was too tired to get in trouble. There is no sweeter music to a parent’s ear than the sound of her beautiful 16-year-old daughter answering the phone at 9 p.m. on a Saturday night, mumbling, “No, I’m too tired to go partying, and I have to get up at 4 in the morning,” then falling into bed. Lovely!
Thank you, Dr James Dobson, for giving me the advice my late parents couldn’t.
Wow, you are a great, courageous mom. And in future years, your son will only grow in his respect, loyalty, and protection of you. I was raised in the 1950s and 1960s, and my mom did not hesitate to smack our mouth if we sassed her. Dad used the belt routinely (with restraint, of course); actually, the mere THREAT of the belt kept us in line. That era’s mantra was “Spare the rod, spoil the child” and “Children should be seen and not heard.” To this day, I monitor how I speak to my mom, and I’m pushin’ 60! I and my four siblings were saved from many a heartache by parental discipline.
I still watch what and how I say things to my Mom and Dad and I am 47!
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