I heard Daniel Siegel, Psychiatrist, Lecturer, and Author of “WholeBrain Child” and "Brainstorm” speak to a packed conference this weekend at Paradise Point.
With his topic of the “teen brain,” he challenged us, culturally, to view the adolescent, and those years, as the source of all innovation. We often speak about young adults as if they were stupid, irrelevant, brainless.
How wonderful if we could embrace their “pushing back” as healthy and vibrant - citizens with meaning and importance. They are interesting, creative, and making the world their own, as their generalizing brain moves from childhood (0-12) to specializing, (13-adult). Myelination lays track for a lifetime now... skill building.
Siegel also discussed the myths of those dreaded (socially feared?) years. The one that stayed with me was the urban legend of teen impulsivity. He says, quite the contrary! Teenagers plan out their misdeeds in great detail. Their mistake is in estimating the consequences....the young brain under appreciates the negative aspects, but this risk taking is critical to new development and species-adaptation.
Every mammal has an adolescent stage; parental launching preserves the gene-pool. Yong adults compel and propel our species forward. If advancement was left to the middle-aged, we’d die off, preferring status quo over change and risk taking.
Thank you, Tom, for the above graphic.