This is my sweet daughter Amy who is now 12 and in the 7th grade. (this is 2 years old now)
I read this over at Shelia Welsh's blog and thought it so good, I copied it here for all.....
By adolescence the brain has reached adult size and so conventional wisdom was that it was good to go, fully equipped to handle life. Scientists now know that the brain is not properly 'installed' until about 25. What is so significant about that is that the last part to develop and 'settle' is the prefrontal cortex, basically the CEO of the brain. The emotional center of the brain matures before the frontal lobes so teens will react from their gut because the part that would reason is still in process. What I found very helpful about this, (and I have observed it in my son, Christian without understanding the science behind it) is that if he gets overwhelmed with homework for example his emotions will cause the prefrontal cortex to shut down. When he is like that, he cannot learn. Often patents mistake this as pitching a fit or a bad attitude and will often heighten the emotion making it virtually impossible for the child to think. I saw clearly that it's my job as a mom to take the pressure off and be as encouraging as I possibly can to create an environment where learning can take place. That's how God designed our teens. That's why if you ask them to bring their shoes and their books to the door and they arrive with just their shoes and you ask, "Why didn't you bring your books?" they really don't know! (this was most helpful to me because I thought she was just not being obedient) Most teenagers in the US get about 6-7 hours of sleep a night. They need 9-10 to be able to function well and let their brains develop well.
Another huge piece of the puzzle is time with us. Time with us is not driving them to school while they have their headphones on listening to tunes on their iPod. Teens learn to become adults by being around adults. You may be tempted to say, "They don't really want to be around me, they'd rather talk to their friends." I don't believe that deep down that's really true. They want our time but we'll need to work to cultivate habits that are dying fast in our culture. Family dinner is the perfect place to begin the conversation. I don't think it's the time to talk about school or grades or anything that puts pressure on. Instead, throw out a question, "If you could tell God one thing that you would change about the world, what would it be?" Make it fun, give everyone at the table a chance to throw in their two cents. One of the things that I have started doing with Christian again is to read to him last thing at night. We're reading an Andy Andrews book at the moment and loving it.(my hubs is reading her Pilgrim's Progress...she loves this time with her dad)
Many parents approach the onset of the teenage years with dread but really they are years of phenomenal opportunity that we will never get back again.(again, I am so thankful to our wonderful Lord that He has allowed me to be a SAHM and homeschool Amy)We were made for this as parents. Now talk to me two more years down the line and I may be in a straight-jacket in a home somewhere but I don't plan on it. Understanding how God has made our kids makes it so much easier to work with them as they navigate these difficult years, then when they head off to college.....party!!!(hopefully not party)
This made so much sense to me and I hope it does for you as well.