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Teens Can Choose to Make Their Brains Smarter – The Stakes Are High

Teens Can Choose to Make Their Brains Smarter – The Stakes Are High

One of the underlying themes of my writing is that parents of teens need to be realistic. But being realistic doesn’t necessarily imply some kind of worst-case scenario. Because realistically, lots of really wonderful things can happen during adolescence. For...
Why Teens Are Vulnerable to Peer Pressure

Why Teens Are Vulnerable to Peer Pressure

What is self-esteem, anyway? Why is it important to a growing child? Why does it turn out to be a tough issue? What can parents do to nurture stronger self-esteem? Physically, I was a late-bloomer. When I was a freshman in high school, I was the shortest boy in my...
Teen Smartphones and Social Networking – Buyer Beware

Teen Smartphones and Social Networking – Buyer Beware

Today, most phone calls are made using wireless smartphones, relayed by Wi-Fi devices in your home or distant radio towers. What we used to call telephones are now called landlines, and these are steadily disappearing. The smartphone technology that people carry in...
For Parents of Pre-Adolescent Kids – Prepare Now!

For Parents of Pre-Adolescent Kids – Prepare Now!

So much of what I write about has to do with adolescent kids and how parents can take maximum advantage of this precious time. Along the way I’ve come to appreciate the huge advantage parents can gain if they prepare for adolescence before puberty arrives. A...
Erratic Teen Behavior – It’s Not a ‘Phase’ They Outgrow

Erratic Teen Behavior – It’s Not a ‘Phase’ They Outgrow

Since the 1990’s, when Dr. Jay Giedd and his colleagues at the National Institute for Mental Health published their pioneering research about adolescent brain development, more than a dozen authors with different backgrounds have written about “the teen brain.” For...
Intellectually Powerful Minds Are Developed, Not Inherited – 5 Things Parents Can Do

Intellectually Powerful Minds Are Developed, Not Inherited – 5 Things Parents Can Do

In a separate post, I quoted Dr. Jay Giedd, the pioneering brain researcher who discovered that the prefrontal cortex (PFC) is still under development during a child’s adolescence, that this is the “smart” area of the brain, and that wiring the PFC...
A Story of Family Love

A Story of Family Love

My wife and I often go to Corpus Christi to visit her sister and husband. Since their son now has a young daughter and their oldest daughter has two daughters and a son, they’ve been thrilled to be grandparents. There’s a lot of love going on there. Love...
How Your Child Learns Skills

How Your Child Learns Skills

When your child gets involved in an activity, it will probably involve learning certain skills. Home/life skills? Relationship skills? Athletic? Musical? Artistic? Mechanical? Construction? Academic? Thinking? Managing? If some of the skills your child has to learn...
Your Teen’s Brain Is Being Pruned – A Red Flag for Parents

Your Teen’s Brain Is Being Pruned – A Red Flag for Parents

I have a 15-year-old nephew. The last time I saw him he was doing what most kids his age are doing: sitting on a couch browsing his smartphone. At the time I was thinking that a lot of unused brain cell connections were in the process of being “pruned”...
Constructing a Child’s Intellectual Foundation – What Parents Can Do

Constructing a Child’s Intellectual Foundation – What Parents Can Do

I’ve posted before about the importance of critical thinking and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a young person to lay down a foundation of critical thinking skills in the developing prefrontal cortex – what I often refer to as “the smart...
Adults Who Mentor Teens – How Effective Are Their Communication Skills?

Adults Who Mentor Teens – How Effective Are Their Communication Skills?

In his classic parenting book, The Wonder of Boys, psychologist Michael Gurian claims that “three families – not one” are needed to raise a healthy child to be a happy, successful adult. The first family is the “nuclear family”—the parents and grandparents who raise...
What Can Parents Do to Help Their Child Become One of the Smart Ones?

What Can Parents Do to Help Their Child Become One of the Smart Ones?

During the first few months of life, parents show lots of colorful, noise-making objects to their infant. Slowly, the baby learns to pay attention. The child is doing the work to program the neural pathways for sight. During the first year of life, parents guide and...
We All Need a Little Luck

We All Need a Little Luck

I was thinking about my mother recently. A few months before she died, Mom and I were talking on the phone about my seven brothers and sisters. I joked that she had so many kids because she loved taking care of babies. After one child left the infant stage, she would...
Are Young People Preparing for the Realities of Adult Life?

Are Young People Preparing for the Realities of Adult Life?

Studying well in school is important. Those 12 years – and university – are important. But along the way, a young person needs to learn many non-academic skills and strengths that are vital for relationships and a career. While some of this can be acquired...
New Book Reveals the Damaging Effects of Excessive Screen Time – Reset Your Child’s Brain, by Victoria Dunckley, MD

New Book Reveals the Damaging Effects of Excessive Screen Time – Reset Your Child’s Brain, by Victoria Dunckley, MD

One crucial step in helping your adolescent child build a superior mind is to protect the prefrontal cortex (PFC) from damage during adolescence – the developmental period for wiring the foundation for critical thinking. To this end, I’ve written a number...
Do Teens Have to Sow Wild Oats?

Do Teens Have to Sow Wild Oats?

A friend once told me a story about his older brother. My friend was a top student and multi-sport athlete in high school, and he eventually got a football scholarship and later had a successful career as an executive. His drive to achieve in class and in sports kept...
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