A few things…

OK, a few things.  Firstly, I finally updated my WordPress to 3.0!  Woohoo!  I’m all updated!  Not that one can really notice from just reading the blog…

Secondly, I created a new YouTube channel at youtube.com/seanhannifin to post random non-music stuff, probably mostly animation tests so that I can share my Animation Mentor progress.  Here are my first animation attempts:


Um… what else?


I don’t really know much about Comic-Con, except that it’s apparently a pretty popular event. I don’t have the time or money to go to any such conventions (or the social connections that would make going to such an event more fun). Anyway, Comic-Con will be streaming live at MySpace starting sometime today, so I might check it out for about 5 minutes…

A few responses to Nurture Shock

I’m reading this book called NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman.  It’s a very interesting book; each chapter is dedicated to shedding new light and giving a new perspective to a certain topic.  (Just look at the table of contents on Amazon if you really care what those topics are… I might blog about more of them in the future.)  I love books that try to tackle long-standing myths.

Anyway, chapter seven is called The Science of Teenage Rebellion, and while it doesn’t go into too much depth (afterall, you could write entire books on this topic … and people have), it does make some interesting points.

This post is really not about those points, though.  It’s really just my reaction to some quotes from the chapter.

On Page 140, it says:

Pushing a teen into rebellion by having too many rules was a sort of statistical myth.  “That actually doesn’t happen,” remarked Darling.  She found that most rules-heavy parents don’t actually enforce them.  “It’s too much work,” says Darling.  “It’s a lot harder to enforce three rules than to set twenty rules.”  These teens avoided rebellious direct conflict and just snuck around behind their parents’ backs.

Woah.  So, just lying to your parents and breaking the rules behind their backs is not rebellious?  You think the parents would be OK with that?  So… it’s good to set rules as a parent, because, hey, if it’s too many, your child will just break them behind your back…?

I think it’s possible for a parent to set too many rules, and not enough rules, and doing either could help cause rebellion.  And by “rebellion” I mean teenagers disobeying their parents, not just avoiding direct conflict.

That paragraph makes it hard for me to understand what the author is trying to say, so I can’t really agree or disagree with him on it.

Then, in a new section, on page 141, the book says:

The Mod Squad study did confirm Linda Caldwell’s hypothesis that teens turn to drinking and drugs because they’re bored in their free time.

Woah again!  The book says pretty much nothing about how this was confirmed.  It is seems way too simplistic to me.  What about the many environmental influences?  Peer pressure, parental pressure, school pressure, the availability of drugs and alcohol, etc?  I’m not convinced anyone ever does anything just because they’re bored.  There’s always more to it than that.  If you were really bored, you wouldn’t do anything!

The book then talks about how Caldwell creates a program called TimeWise which tries to help kids counter boredom.  And it says on page 143:

For the seventh-graders who started out the most bored, “it didn’t seem to make a difference,” said Caldwell.  It turns out that teaching kids not to be bored is really hard–even for the best program in the country.

Why didn’t TimeWise have a stronger effect?

My guess would be that after TimeWise, kids are thrust back into the environment they were in before.  Yes, their time spent in the TimeWise program could affect their choices a bit, but they didn’t drink and do drugs just because of mere boredom in the first place!  You got your premises wrong.  (The real results Mod Squad study might’ve been more complex than this, I don’t know.  As I said, the book gives no explanation as to how the study confirmed such a thing.)

And then, bum bum bum… the book says:

Is it possible that teens are just neurologically prone to boredom?

According to the work of neuroscientist Dr. Adrian Galvan at UCLA, there’s good reason to think so.

To me, there seems bad reason to think so.  Basically, scientists do these brain scans and watch parts of the brain light up.  And for teens, they find that the prefrontal cortex doesn’t light up as much when the teen is supposedly excited (it shows a “diminished response whenever their reward center was experiencing intense excitement”).  And the prefrontal cortex is “responsible for weighing risk and consequences.”  Therefore when the teen is excited… “the teen’s brain is handicapped in its ability to gauge risk and foresee consequences.”

That’s it?

That’s the evidence?

The prefrontal cortex shows a “diminished response” and therefore teens aren’t as good at foreseeing outcomes and are therefore just naturally prone to risky behaviour?

And nevermind the environment?

And… weren’t you at first trying to say something about boredom?

Overall, it’s a very interesting book.  I think the authors need to do a bit more research in this area though.

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