Wiring our children’s brains for success is a race against time! The early years of childhood are easy. They are eager to learn how to see, walk, talk, eat, play, run and all the other stuff they do. Our kids want to grow. But, once our children hit adolescence, they think they are already grown and become unmotivated.
Most teens and parents don’t know that another wave of growth is about to happen. This growth spurt isn’t easily seen because it takes place in our teen’s prefrontal cortex in their mental and emotional capacity, not their physicality - for example, getting taller. Mental and emotional capacity built through critical thinking is something our teens are going to have to learn if they ever hope to become anything more than just taller than their parents.
During this very important stage of growth, our children go through another blossoming period where their mind and body creates more connections than they’re actually going to use. It does this just in case they decide to become geniuses, or something like that… You know… now that they have the whole seeing, eating, running and jumping thing down.
When these newly formed connections are used, they get wired as skills they can use for the rest of their lives. However, when these connections aren’t used, our teens lose these connections in a process called pruning. In order for our kids to become productive adults with strong critical thinking skills and a mature and fully developed prefrontal cortex, they have to wire these new connections by practicing critical thinking during adolescence. This is where we parents come in. We can’t solve all of their problems; we have to get them to do some of the heavy lifting here.
Now, as my Granddaddy always said, “Go learn, lead and lay the way to a better world for all of us.” Parents, you now know some things that most parents don’t know. Please share these things with your kids and other parents. And once again parents, thanks in advance for all that you do, and all that you will do…
Daniel Blanchard is a New Britain schoolteacher who is also an award-winning author and speaker. Learn more about Dan at: www.GranddaddysSecrets.com