GRANDADDY'S SECRETS: Parents, blame it on the amygdala

Published on Monday, 10 April 2017 22:19
Written by

Daniel Blanchard

Parents, even though they are our children, sometimes we still don’t fully understand them, huh? Sometimes we look at our kids and think, “Who are you?” During these rough and confusing times, it certainly helps a little bit if we have some understanding of the ‘Teen’s Brain’ and some comprehension of why they behave like they do.

It’s kind of like what Dr. David Walsh says in his book about the ‘teen brain’ called, Why Do They Act That Way.

Dr. Walsh says, “Because the prefrontal cortex is the executive center of the brain, its job is to think ahead about the consequences and to control impulses that shoot out of other regions of the brain. Because it’s still developing during adolescence, teens do not have the impulse control of adults.”

There you have it, folks. They can’t be like us because they aren’t like us. The prefrontal cortex is the last brain area to undergo basic development so the more primitive part of their brain called the amygdala still influences them. When we ask our kids why they did what they did, and they say they don’t know, they’re probably right. They probably don’t know. So, instead of us parents pulling out what’s left of our grey hair and being utterly embarrassed beyond belief over what our kids did again, with no explanation at all, let’s just take a deep calming breath and blame it on the amygdala, and let’s try again.

Now, as my Granddaddy always said, “Go learn, lead and lay the way to a better world for all of us. Parents, stop stressing. Just blame the amygdala, and let’s try again. Let’s have patience. Let’s keep working on them. Believe it or not, regardless of how today may look, our kids are going to someday turn out okay. Then, they will be adults with a fully developed prefrontal cortex and it will be their turn to look at their kids with a cockeyed expression on their face. And once again, parents, thanks in advance for all that you do, and all that you will do.

Daniel Blanchard is a New Britain schoolteacher who is also an award-winning author and speaker. Learn more about Dan at:

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Monday, 10 April 2017 22:19. Updated: Monday, 10 April 2017 22:21.