Why can't I go to the store alone Dad? Because you are not safe son. What could happen Dad? Come on son, figure it out! The son goes to the store alone because he has tried to figure it out, but doesn't understand. The father is furious and also doesn't understand! Why does this happen?
Human beings are different than other animals because we have an extra region of our brain called our higher brain or "executive functioning brain". Executive function or thinking refers to our brains ability to regulate and manage thinking processes such as planning, attention, problem solving, verbal reasoning, inhibition, mental flexibility, task switching, and initiation and monitoring of actions. Unfortunately for children, teens and young adults, this part of the brain has to mature during development and is often not fully functioning until the person is in their mid to late twenties. A child's abilities mature over time and at different rates. Some abilities peak in adolescence while other in early adulthood.
It is imperative that both parents and youth understand this growing brain within our societies. Firstly, youth need to understand why parents are always telling them what to do. They need to understand that they "need" their parents so they can best utilize their parent's knowledge, life experience, and higher order brain. Secondly, parents need to explain in full detail the possible ramifications of a youth's possible choices and NOT ASSUME that the youth can put the pieces together on their own.
For example, my parents told me to never get in a vehicle with someone I didn't know because I shouldn't trust strangers. So, one day a really nice man who bought me a donut asked me if I wanted to go for a nice drive to the park. I said sure because the man gave me reason to trust him. I had no idea that some strangers would be nice to me and give me fake reasons to trust them only to try and kidnap me. I was not aware of what was happening at the time and as I was about to get into this man's car, my girlfriend showed up and wanted to go to the mall. So, I headed off with her instead in getting into that car. It was not until I became an adult that I realized that I was beyond lucky that day and thankfully I love shopping. ;)
Today, I fully understand that my parents didn't talk to me about things because they possibly didn't want to scar me with fear thoughts of what "could" happen to me, but it was not in my best interest. The more knowledge a youth has, the better able they are to make good decisions and begin their journey towards learning how to plan ahead and survive life as a teen without being injured.
Teens "need" to understand that their parents have serious rules because they are keeping you alive and unscarred from horrible things that can happen such as car accidents, which is one of the number one issues that kills teens. Many teens jump into the cars of young friends who are just learning to drive. Sometimes, they also do it when the driver has been drinking or doing drugs. Teens have "no clue" that they are not just stepping into a car, they are actually putting a gun to their head and yes, pulling the trigger without any awareness as to whether there is a bullet in the gun or not. Sounds alarming and dramatic, but it's real and the truth.
For example, if a tire blows when a young driver is driving on a highway, the young driver will not have "any" idea of what to do, unless specifically trained, and the car has a higher chance of crashing. If an older, experienced driver blows a tire on the highway, their brain is more able to instantly figure out what will happen next and try to stop the car without crashing into other cars or hurting themselves. Their past driving experience has also taught them how to control the car in the event of an emergency. A young driver has little to no opportunity to save their or their passenger's lives in a situation like this. Again, I'm aware that this might be startling, but young adults "deserve" to have the opportunity to live a long life and not have to pay for mistakes made when they were young and "unaware".
I hope this article has helped parents to understand the "need" to take time with their kids and truly explain why their youth should or should not do things. Help them to fully understand the possible repercussions so they can protect themselves and be as smart as possible out there in the world. I also hope this article helps young minds to understand their position in life and why parents work so hard to protect them. They truly are merely trying to keep you alive and in one piece so you can enjoy your future and the life they have given you.