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.