Teens are going to mess up regardless!

‘Anatomy of a Teenager’s Brain’ shows a humorous side of American teens.
By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY

A new review of adolescent brain research suggests that society is wasting billions of dollars on education and intervention programs to dissuade teens from dangerous activities, because their immature brains are not yet capable of avoiding risky behaviors.

“We need to rethink our whole approach to preventing teen risk,” says Steinberg, whose review of a decade of
research is in the April issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science. It’s published by the Association for Psychological Science.

“Adolescents are at an age where they do not have full capacity to control themselves,” he says. “As adults, we need to do some of the controlling.”

After age 18

Neurological researchers around the country, spearheaded by Jay Giedd of the National Institute of Mental Health, have in recent years found that the brain is not fully developed until after 18. The brain system that regulates logic and reasoning develops before the area that regulates impulse and emotions, the researchers say.

Peer pressure rules

Now he’s using brain imaging to better understand why teens are so susceptible to peer pressure. He has just
begun pilot projects to study brain activity in teens when doing various tasks with their peers, compared with adults under similar circumstances.

Steinberg believes raising the driving age, increasing the price of cigarettes and more strongly enforcing underage drinking laws are among ways to really curb risky behavior.

“I don’t believe the problem behind teen risky behavior is a lack of knowledge. The programs do a good job in teaching kids the facts,” he says. “Education alone doesn’t work. It doesn’t seem to affect their behavior.”

Bradley also is worried about the future now that risky behaviors have trickled to the preteen set.

“People look at risk statistics, and they’re more or less steady. It looks like things aren’t getting that bad. But
risk behaviors have been ratcheted down to younger and younger ages,” he says. “What the parents may have dealt with at ages 16 and 17, the kids are dealing with at 11, 12 and 13 — at the time when their brains are least able to handle complex decisions about risk behaviors.” …

Steinberg says he’s not advocating a police state. But he says parents must help their children make wise decisions.

“We’ve given them too much freedom,” he says. “We don’t monitor and supervise them carefully enough.”

Expert: Risky teen behavior is all in the brain – USATODAY.com

I chopped up the parts of that article that REALLY grabbed my attention. It’s worth taking a gander at it– so don’t forget to click that link.

Okay. Don’t hate me– but this is BRILLIANT. I don’t agree that society is wasting money on programs. Those public service announcements and anti-whatever programs are adding credit to a kid’s subconscious (I believe, at least)…

Here’s the way I see it: We can teach and tell and show and instruct youth all we want about the dangers of THIS AND THAT. Build cases that are relatable to kids, helping to discourage them from inappropriate behavior. But we can’t expect every educational-attempt to work… we only have to hope that we’ve provided enough information to freak that kid out… we want them to avoid bad situations. Curiosity killed the cat… being wary did not kill the cat. Make sense?

If you are successful in scaring (or informing, whatever) a kid away from cigarettes… that kid might make choices to avoid hanging out in situations that may lead to smoking. HOWEVER, if that kid ends up in the situation… despite his best attempts? It’s a WHOLE NEW BALL GAME. New rules as dictated by the immediate community. If you stay out of a negative community, their rules do not affect as strongly. If you find yourself in the community, surrounded by negative behavior, the power of the mob can be highly overwhelming (ohhh curse you, peer pressure! Curse you!)

You know who is the MOST successful at instilling proper information? Why the moral compasses themselves– The parents. Parents are PARENTS. They are not the best friend, or the cool adult, or the sometimes family member. They are parents. Paaaaaaarents. Parents! It is the job of the parents (not necessarily mom & dad– whomever is the immediate care provider) to BUILD LIMITATIONS, to offer advice, to steer the course of their child’s young life… they are IMMEDIATELY responsible for the welfare of their child. They have the power. They have the control. They are the parent. If a parent says ‘no’ –No means no. Every choice has a consequence. It’s first and foremost the right and the JOB of the parent to ensure that choices have consequences… because if the parent doesn’t — then sooner or later the police will.

No matter how “mature” U18s (under 18) seem to be, or “smart” or “streetwise” or “careful” they seem to be, they’re only in transition. Attitudes/behaviors can switch at the drop of a hat. It’s a kids’ prerogatives to grow and change.

After all, kids are kids– they are fallible, hopeful, curious, impressionable, confused, indignant… they are everything want to try to be at that moment… parents help them be want they NEED to be.

To me– that’s half of what “kid empowerment” is… giving them the inner tools to discern how to navigate life– to make the BEST, Happiest, most empowered life a kid can have!

Kid empowerment: Supporting youth; helping to make them stronger and more confident so they’re able to successfully make decisions based upon their own rights and dreams. -Izzy Neis

The journey through youth is filled with hurdles, sharp peaks, dry valleys, and raging storms. It’s the support system around kids that make the journey bearable. Support systems help scout the path and give advice. And if the inevitable mistake/poor choice happens? Then it’s the support system that helps adventurer to stand up, gives them a hug, and helps in understanding how to avoid such mistakes in the future.

Okay, I’ll stop rambling now. 😛

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