If you haven't read Karen Weintraub's excellent interview with Psychology Professor Laurence Steinberg in the G section's Q&A spot of October 6th's Boston Globe, it's well worth the five minutes of time it will take. He says "I think we should really be thinking about adolescence as a time when people can thrive - as an opportunity and not as a problem." Steinberg posits that the part of the brain that's particularly malleable at this time in a person's life is the part that supports advanced thinking and planning, and is also key in self-regulation and self-control (which he contends is "the single most important trait a person can have for happiness and success in life"). A great question asked by Weintraub: "What can parents do to help their kids get the most out of adolescence?" Answer: "Encouraging your child to take challenging classes and not just classes where she can get A's is important - easy classes are maybe going to strengthen her transcript, but they're not going to do anything for her brain. Encouraging them to get exercise, to get adequate sleep, to get engaged in activities that are challenging and novel and stimulating. While kids are still developing better self-regulation, parents need to provide it for them. Parental monitoring is a really good deterrent against risky behavior." Food for thought!
Read the entire interview here: http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2014/10/05/the-joys-adolescence-passage-life-celebrated-not-endured/HMOt1X2TaQ6E2mPI4oYgoJ/story.html
Margaret Raymond Driscoll is a nine-year Melrose School Committee member who is passionate about excellent teaching and learning for all public school students, and considers it a privilege to collaborate with others who share that passion. You can also follow her on Twitter at @MargaretDrisc. Just to be clear - opinions expressed here do not represent those of the Melrose Public Schools, the Melrose School Committee, or the Massachusetts Association of School Business Officials - they are hers alone.