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Brain matters.

Tim Burton Mars Attacks!Yes, Martians have attacked your brain! Well, not really. But being a teenager has. I have suspected and known most of this all along, but Miss C sent an article that really articulated (said it well and clearly) what is happening with your minds. I don’t mean to treat you like over-sized toddlers, but I must confess that many of my best parenting techniques derived from the time I had small children, and I draw on this knowledge to be a better teacher of young adults.

You need to learn about this, too, for your own care and maintenance:

  • You do need restful sleep.
  • You need healthy food, exercise, water, and laughter.
  • You need to read, think, consider, and ponder.
  • And you need to stay far, far away from addictive substances.

From National Public Radio: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=124119468

More Vulnerable To Addiction

But that’s not the only big difference in teenagers’ brains. Nature made the brains of children and adolescents excitable. Their brain chemistry is tuned to be responsive to everything in their environment. After all, that’s what makes kids learn so easily.

But this can work in ways that are not so good. Take alcohol, for example. Or nicotine, cannabis, cocaine, ecstasy …

“Addiction has been shown to be essentially a form of ‘learning,’ ” Jensen says. After all, if the brain is wired to form new connections in response to the environment, and potent psychoactive drugs suddenly enter that environment, those substances are “tapping into a much more robust habit-forming ability that adolescents have, compared to adults.”

So studies have shown that a teenager who smokes pot will still show cognitive deficits days later. An adult who smokes the same dose will return to cognitive baseline much faster.

This bit of knowledge came in handy in Jensen’s own household.

“Most parents, they’ll say, ‘Don’t drink, don’t do drugs,'” says Will, son number two. “And I’m the type of kid who’d say ‘why?’ ”

When Will asked why, his mom could give him chapter and verse on drugs and teen brains. So they would know, she says, “that if I smoke pot tonight and I have an exam in two days’ time, I’m going to do worse. It’s a fact.”

See? Your brains want to learn. That’s why if you get bored in school, it’s your brain’s fault. It’s looking for stimulation, for excitement. But don’t go to false and dangerous ‘entertainment.’ That’s how you kill your brains.

This is a good news/bad news kind of thing: the good news is I know you want to learn new things. It feels right, even at my age. I try to keep my own brain flexible so I don’t get “old-minded.” The bad news is you blame me when you’re bored sometimes. Think about all the television and movies you watch, and all the other media “intake” you do. You are training your brain to be bored. You need to read more, because this will get your brain connected to YOUR LIFE – not the lives of the fake people in the electronic box. You need to write for the same reason – you should control the script for your life, not have someone else write your story for you.

Just think about it, that’s all I’m asking.

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