My oldest daughter, a school teacher, brought this research to my attention a few years ago. The subject was stirred again recently in a discussion with a pastor’s wife.
The human brain, particularly the part that connects actions with consequences and influences impulsive behavior, is not fully developed until we are in our early twenties. (You can read a short article about it here, but there is plenty of research out there if you want to check it out.)
What that means is that your child may not be doing goofy things just because he is a rebellious teenager, but it could be because his brain won’t let him see the pain he’ll suffer if his plan doesn’t work. Things that are “no brainers” to us, are not so clearly defined in the minds of our kids.
Add to that the information that girls usually develop a little faster than boys and you can see why moms and dads are always wondering why Johnny can’t be as good as his big sister was when she was that age. That also explains why his insurance rates stay higher longer than his sister’s did.
But it also means something else.