Every time a teenager tries to figure out why something happened, tries to understand the relationship between thing A and thing B, tries to see the connection between cause and effect, foresees possible consequences, evaluates options, solves problems and consciously makes a decision, she’s exercising the prefrontal cortex, the “smart” part of her brain.

The brain cells that fire together, wire together. So when a teenager performs these mental tasks, it stimulates her brain to wire the foundation circuits for critical thinking and judgment.

Some teens do this a lot. They’re the lucky ones. The foundation they’re constructing during adolescence will set them up permanently to learn and deal with life at the highest level.

Others don’t do much of this kind of thinking. They react emotionally and impulsively, seek excitement and fun, and take foolish risks. So they’re busy wiring their brains for those things instead.

The problem is, the wiring is permanent.

If there’s a young person in your life you care about, you can make a difference. To find out how to help a child construct a superior mind, the book, How Your Teen Can Grow a Smarter Brain, is a life-changing resource.