After being the oldest in elementary school then adjusting to being the youngest in a brand new middle school, finding your way around a bigger place, having many teachers, meeting lots of new kids, finding your body changing, bearing the pressure of more expectations by parents and teachers, who can blame your twelve-year-old for feeling vulnerable?
Parental Intelligence teaches us to think about our child’s mind, so what’s cooking in the mind of a twelve-year-old?
Changes in the Twelve-Year-Old Brain
The voice of reason is in our prefrontal cortex that is the executive or CEO of the brain. The limbic system is the emotional center keyed into dangers and rewards. When the limbic system can’t make sense about what it sees, it calls on the prefrontal cortex to help out.
The problem is that at twelve, the CEO prefrontal cortex isn’t fully developed and can’t keep up with the emotional limbic center. There in lies the problem with shifting moods, questionable decisions, and general irritability and vulnerability.
Twelves just don’t know where they belong. They don’t have the status of being teenagers, but get thrilled when they are around them. They want to be like them, but don’t quite get who they are and how they got there. Usually they have entered a bigger school, so they meet not only more kids their age in their classes, but they stumble into groups of older kids, too.
They check out how to dress, how to talk, how to meet people, and sometimes lose track of who they are as individuals in this grand attempt to belong and feel accepted.
The Parents Role Using Parental Intelligence
Now that you know what your twelve-year-old might be thinking about, where do you come in? Be on the look out for your own reactions to your changing son or daughter.