Why we need words of wisdom from Mom and Dad

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Morgan Johnson ’17

As the school year accelerates, seniors battle balancing college applications with school work, juniors are thrust into new responsibilities as upperclassmen, sophomores may begin to pursue passions in journalism or science research, and freshmen are propelled into their new status as high schoolers. At these crucial years of our development, however, we often overlook one key factor in our success: our parents.
During this time in our lives, we often think we “know it all,” so to speak, and and are capable of making decisions for ourselves. Indeed, we often push our parents away and strongly argue that they should not force their opinions or instructions on us. After all, many of us are less than a year away from moving out and embarking on a great adventure: college.
As teenagers, we often view these years as a time for our parents to both literally and figuratively become the backseat drivers in our lives. However, according to wsj.com, this time is a crucial opportunity for parents to have a say in controlling the wheel and to become more emotionally connected with their children.
 

Morgan Johnson '17
Morgan Johnson ’17

According to hrweb.mit.edu, our brains are still developing into our mid-20s. As a result, our patterns of thinking and behaving are constantly changing during adolescence.
From the ages of 15 to 16, teenagers experience a heightened appetite for risk-taking and thrill-seeking due to an increased production of reward receptors in their brains. As a result, the body produces more dopamine, temporarily suppressing teenagers’ typical worries of danger, according to wsj.com.
According to sciencedirect.com, adolescents who developed a close relationship with their parents starting at age 15 demonstrated less activity in the area of the brain that is associated with risk-taking. As a result, teenagers were less inclined to engage in activities that were dangerous or unfit for their well-being. Thus, it is evident that parental involvement has a beneficial effect on adolescents. 
This closeness often involves mutual respect between teens and parents, talking through issues, and refrainment from arguing.
During the ages of 17 and 18, adolescents’ prefrontal cortexes are mature enough to begin making responsible and thoughtful decisions. However, according to ncbi.nlm.nih.gov, teens are still developing their skills in “inhibition, rule detection, strategy generation and planning executive functions, and emotion recognition.”
Parents can help their children by aiding them in deciphering solutions to problems or supporting them while making decisions. Not only do we need our parents as a constant source of support, but they can be the ones that help us develop our own critical reasoning and thinking skills.
We may roll our eyes or slam the door when we feel frustrated with our parents or insist that “they just don’t get it.” Yet, we must accept that sometimes we are the ones who misunderstand or are wrong. After all, our parents are the ones who supposedly know us best and can most effectively provide advice and encouragement.
The guidance our parents provide can be invaluable. No matter how old we become or how often we believe that we alone can make the best choices for ourselves, we should remember the source of wisdom we often take for granted. We must not be afraid to reach out and accept that we do not have all the answers. Of course, our parents may not either, but they are the first step in reaching our goals and propelling us into our future as adults.
– Morgan Johnson, Co-Editor-in-Chief