What can a parent do to stimulate maximum growth of the pre-frontal cortex - the seat of understanding, analyzing, problem solving, decision making, foreseeing consequences, imagining, planning, managing, and controlling emotions? Pretty heavy-duty thinking!
And the window for developing the foundation of this critical thinking area opens at puberty and closes 10 or 12 years later. The consequences are huge. At the end of adolescence, the boundaries of this foundation are permanent. If an adolescent constructs a tiny foundation, later as an adult he or she will only be able to build a tiny house on it.
During the writing process, I frequently had to recharge my batteries to fire myself up for the next round of revisions and polishing. Along the way, I found this piece, which boosted my spirits. It came from the UC Berkeley Parents Network.
Whenever your kids are out of control, you can take comfort from the thought that even God's omnipotence did not extend to his kids. After creating heaven and earth, God created Adam and Eve.
And the first thing God said to them was: "Don't."
"Don't what?" Adam asked.
"Don't eat the forbidden fruit," said God.
"Forbidden fruit? Really? Where is it?" Adam and Eve asked, jumping up and down excitedly.
"It's over there," said God, wondering why he hadn't stopped after making the elephants.
A few minutes later, God saw the kids having an apple break and He was very angry.
"Didn't I tell you not to eat that fruit?" the First Parent asked.
"Uh-huh," replied Adam.
"Then why did you do it?", God asked exasperatedly.
"I dunno," Adam answered.
God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own.
Thus the pattern was set and it has never changed. But there is a reassurance in this story. IF you have persistently and lovingly tried to give your children wisdom and they haven't taken it, don't be so hard on yourself.
If God had trouble handling His children, what makes you think it should be a piece of cake for you?
As parents prepare their teens for adult life, there's a lot to pass on. When you think about everything that caring parents should want their kids to learn, you realize that kids have a full plate. And yes, so do the parents. Somewhere on that plate is wisdom.
But as this story points out, it can be hard to get your kids to eat their vegetables.
To help parents make their teenagers aware of what's important, I wrote these books...
Conversations with the Wise Aunt - for girls
Conversations with the Wise Uncle - for boys
Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2011. Building Personal Strength . (Permission to use image purchased from istockphoto.com)