School is in full swing, and you are probably wondering what has happened to my child over the summer. How they are responding in school now is most likely not what they were doing in their previous years in school. Dr. Steinberg tells us that “our current approach to raising adolescents reflects a mix of misunderstanding, uncertainty, and contradiction, where we frequently treat them as more mature than they really are, but just as frequently treat them as less so”.  It sounds a bit like “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” where we have to find a combination that is “just right”. 

Adolescence starts at the onset of puberty which will be different for boys and girls. No need to fear that that the period for adolescence has expanded. If we understand them, we can better meet the needs of our children without ging bonkers. The onset of puberty is earlier and adolescents are taking longer to become adults. There is a reason why insurance rates are higher up to the age of 25. 

We often say that it is the teenage hormones that influence their thinking. In reality is is changes in their brain. An increase in kisspetin, a brain chemical, is the stimulus for the onset of puberty.  More about that next time.  

Don’t worry. Your child is OK. Hang on!

Kim Willis

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Reference: Age of Opportunity, Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D.