Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Where's a Good Prefrontal Cortex when You Need It?

It is my understanding that the Prefrontal Cortex is the region in the brain that allows for differentiating between good and bad behavior, anticipating consequences, and impulse control. I have also come to learn that in recent years there have been studies documenting a lack of a fully developed prefrontal cortex as a reason for some of the more rash decisions and risk taking behavior exhibited by teenagers.

Just yesterday I had a prime example from a member in my own household. During a moment of peace I received a phone call from the assistant principal at my son's school. She let me know that my darling son was sitting in her presence after having a little discussion about a poor choice he made. It seems the boy decided to swipe a snack from the cafeteria without paying for it. To his credit he didn't lie when confronted and took his lumps without complaint and after offering an apology. He will get to spend today in a desk sized cubicle rather than in a classroom. Hhhhmmm, perhaps they should rename this form of punishment "Preparation for Life as a Cog in Corporate America" and offer credit, but I digress.

I picked him up from school to take him to a dentist appointment and we had a little talk about he choices during the ride. Among other points I told him I wanted to give him a dopeslap (but would stifle that urge) for such a choice and asked him if he had not ever been taught better than that. He affirmed that he parents had taught him better but...wait for it....wait....everyone else does it all the time.....and there it is. Ah yes, and of course, sheer numbers makes a thing right.

After more discussion regarding making good choices even if everyone around you is making bad choices he asked what the plans for the evening were. I told him I had to drop a meal off to a family we know because the wife just had surgery on her foot. The boy then looked at me and said as if it were a stroke of genius, "You should break your leg so you can get us some free meals from other people." It was then that I gave him a dopeslap to the prefrontal cortex and asked if he had heard a word I just said.

40 comments:

misticblu said...

LOL at cog/cube reference. cube is known as ISS here (in school suspension).
My little mustachioed man was given extra days for decorating the walls of his cube.

Shadow said...

heee heee heee, sorry, but i AM sorry this happened. and how i have the line 'but everyone's doing it....'

Ananda girl said...

Haha. What a pure slice of parenting a teen pie! This is the reality. Darned funny too.

Whinja Turtle said...

Wonderful stuff. tee,hee.

KFarmer said...

Oh the children! (that's our comment here when things go awry for the kids as well as the, ahem, men folk:)

Mona said...

Peer pressure is quite forceful I heard... But the second incident does demand a dope slap.

Sometimes, the mind just doesn't work at this age, so give him a benefit of doubt!

Suldog said...

I don't know. I think he's brilliant.

Ooh! Look! Hamsters dancing!

Cocotte said...

He deserves a point for being observant. My kids are always talking about how many kids walk thru the cafeteria line without paying for items.

Maddy said...

That's very tough. This '"Preparation for Life as a Cog in Corporate America" is completely true. Sadly the 'everybody else does it' can be pretty over-whelming for a young person. I wish they weren't lemmings......we have a variation on a theme hear where I [did] want them to be lemmings but they're already too easily led...it's impossible to be young these days.
Cheers

EmBee said...

What? The broken wrist wasn't enough?

for a different kind of girl said...

Hilarious! Just when you think he's got the life lesson down...

:)

coopernicus said...

Prefrontal cortex development in the adolescent male goes on permanent spring break between the ages of 13 and, oh, 30, chossing instead to be sated with images of baseball, football and Angelina Jolie in compromising positions.

jinksy said...

Didn't you know? Children were invented so's parent's hair could turn white more quickly... xxx

NYD said...

Ya, know he's got a point, about the broken leg thing. It just doesn't have to be yours though.

Dopeslap... I wonder if my Mama used to think of it in the same way.

Desmond Jones said...

I've been known to tell my kids, when they get caught doing 'what everyone else does all the time', that obviously, they are pretty pathetic in the thieving skills department, since 'everybody does it', but only they get caught. So, best just avoid that whole line of endeavor. . .

Of course, a good parent (and I used to think I might be one, but lately I'm not so sure) wants to form the conscience of his progeny, and not just modify his behavior, so somewhere along the line, the 'thou shalt not steal' lesson should include the moral instruction, too. Just so you know that I know. . .

And hey, it's a good thing you turned your Word Verification on; this time, I got 'rekarys'. And I'll just leave it at that. . . ;)

S said...

I remember when "Candy" moved in next door in our happy little neighborhood. Candy was from the wrong side of town and she taught us to be cool.
Cool meant wearing makeup, kissing boys, and stealing. I kinda still hate her a little for changing the innocent vibe of our street.

Ahhh, parenting.....!
Have a good day!

G-Man said...

I thought a prefrontal cortex, was what they used to wear in the 30's during menstruation.....
I may be wrong.

Moannie said...

Sorry, but I'm laughing at G-man's comment.

Wish I had know what a dopeslap was, way back when it was needed...still and all mine turned out ok with the occasional calf/slap.
Tooo funny.

Craver Vii said...

Ah yes. Lemming ethics for human civilization. Why has this not become the norm?

lime said...

misticbluy, they have some weird name for it here that makes no sense at all

shadow, that line.....arg

ananda, yeah, gotta laugh, otherwise i might do more than dopeslap

whinja, thanks...but i'd rather a different topic to use my lit skills on

kfarmer, my new mantra!

mona, i'm trying. he's very trying

suldog, *thwack* still love ya

cocotte, we have had this discussion before because there is frequently a question as to how much money is in his account

maddy, well i spoke to him about being a leader too because his teachers have always remarked that he is a positive influence. so it's even less tolerable from him

embee, yeah, really!

fadkog, i swear that prefrontal cortex was on vacation completely

coopernicus, thanks for that word of encouragement. i'll go bang my head on the wall for the next 17 years

jinksy, mine are doing their job well

nyd, you make an excellent point yourself!

desmond, i have been known to tell my kids "without the shedding of blood there is no remission for sin" with a snarl.

s, ack, how very frustrating

gman, LMAO!!!

moannie, yeah, he's generally a really good kid. let's hope this was a very brief detour

craver, sadly i think we are slipping toward it in a general sense.

Cheesy said...

Please... please don't break your leg...
Believe me the free meals aren't worth it!

I think the school should have also made him work the lunch line.. creamed corn section!

Cheesy said...

Oh and bitch slap him once for me k?

lecram said...

Dopeslap... lol... because I do it to myself all the time! This is not to be confused with the "doh slap"... which is also a daily occurrence.

Desmond Jones said...

Oh, that is brutal. . .

Palm Springs Savant said...

Poignant and spot-on observations, I'd say!

furiousBall said...

i do anything that everyone is doing

lime said...

cheesy, trust me, i have no intention to break anything...

lecram, lol, you coulda had a V-8?

desmond, guilty as charged i reckon

savant, just darned irritating too!

furiousball, i'm so sorry to hear it:P

Beach Bum said...

The missing prefrontal cortex issue on my son comes from his sneaking out of the house at night.
Several times I found the his window screen on the ground and asked him just as many times was he sneaking out of the house. Of course his answer was no and since the screen doesn't securely fit the window I figured somehow it had just fallen out.
That was until late one Sunday night when he was sent to bed. I entered his room about fifteen minutes later and found his window open, screen on the ground and him gone. I closed and locked the window and waited for him to return.
I had to wait about two hours but when he did return I was told he had walked over to a completely different subdivision having to cross and very busy highway.
His answer for why he did this was that he wanted to see his girlfriend. I grounded him for a month for lying.

Fred said...

He's going to make a good member of Congress.

~Tim said...

Bill Cosby was right. Kids are brain damaged. Keep up the good parenting!

jillie said...

Better yet, tell him HE should break HIS leg and see how much fun it really is. OMG...kids are hilarious...even when they have dain bramage.

~Dragonfly~* said...

When he asked what the plans for the night were... I'd have told him... "YOU are going to be mowing the grass, doing the dishes, and taking care of the laundry.... because EVERYONE is doing it!!!!!" :)

DF

citizen of the world said...

Adolescents are peculiarly inept at thinking aheadto consequences. Fortunately most outgrow that.

Jocelyn said...

Oh, crap, how to fight a larger cultural battle with one's own son?

He should go live in isolation in a biosphere, right? Until all that internal stuff settles into the lovely man he is going to be?

Merisi said...

Oh, aren't they darlings? *grin*

Congratulations on David's POTD!

Jenn Jilks said...

We know that teens experience a huge increase in the growth of brains cells, this is not a time when they think clearly about consequences. You illustrate it beautifully!

Pouty Lips said...

Your son sounds brilliant to me. Congrats on POTD nomination from David at authorblog.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

LOL...this is too good!!!! You tell this brilliantly! Congrats on your POTD! Loved this!

Sabenindam said...

LOL! Great story... I have two pre-adolescent boys and am certainly noticing that cognitive abilities seem to be inversely proportional to the appearance of body hair!

Cheffie-Mom said...

Congratulations on the Post of the Day Award from authorblog!