Have you ever wondered what is going through the mind of a long boarder as he careers down a busy suburban road? Doesn’t he value his life? Doesn’t he care about his safety? Recent scientific research offers an explanation. It suggests that his desire for a reward – the thrill of the ride and the cheers of his friends, outweighs the risk of falling off the board or being hit by a car.
By having an adventurous nature, it may also make your teenager more willing to face the risks that come with gaining independence and moving out of home. In the animal world, when a mammal becomes sexually mature, it needs to leave its parents and the family nest and strike out on its own – find food and a place in the world of adults. With the added advantage of a longer, more protected childhood, your teenager similarly must adapt to his adult world. Expertise comes with experience so he must practise the skills he needs to survive. You can help him as a parent during this adolescent phase by guiding him with a light but steady hand, allowing him independence – stay connected with what he is doing. Let him go to your work and do photocopying, paper shredding or helping out in the mailroom. Skills learnt from babysitting, cooking dinner for the family and helping an old neighbour mow the lawn, act as an apprenticeship into adulthood.