This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
NATURE OF BOYS


Jekyll and Hyde Jr. Why kids get angry and what adults can do about it.


tors for the hormone testosterone that surges through an adolescent boy’s body as much as seven times a day. “As the testosterone starts to flow, it floods into the amygdala, which lights up like the Fourth of July,” Walsh says. Those impulses head off to


the prefrontal cortex (PFC), which manages them and weighs the consequences of potential actions. Unfortunately, the PFC is still under construction in the teen years and remains so until the early 20s. “That’s why boys at that age can


be impulsive,” Walsh says. “That’s why they’re risk takers, and that’s why they can be very quick to anger.” In his book Why Do They Act


That Way?, Walsh compares the amygdala and PFC to a car’s engine and brakes. “The brain’s gas pedal is ready for a NASCAR-paced adult- hood,” he writes. “But because the PFC is not up to snuff, the brain’s got the brakes of a Model T.”


THE SCENE HAD BEEN repeated a hundred times on Troop 514’s camp- outs. The Scouts lined up at one end of the campsite and walked slowly toward the distant tree line, picking up tent pegs, trash, and anything else they had dropped over the weekend. Then the unexpected happened.


A Scout stepped right over a candy wrapper in his path. His mother, an assistant Scoutmaster, called him out, and the Scout responded with a shocking string of abuse that ended with the words “I hate you!” Scenes like that become more


frequent once a boy enters puberty. 20 SCOUTING ¿ NOVEMBER•DECEMBER 2010


A polite and loving Cub Scout can turn into “a sullen, withdrawn, chip-on-the-shoulder, fire-breathing dragon at the age of 14,” in the words of psychologist David Walsh. The reason, Walsh explains, lies


in the relationship between two key parts of the brain, just one of which is fully functional at that age.


The Engine and the Brakes The functional part is the amygdala, an almond-shaped structure that serves as the brain’s alarm center where fear, anger, and arousal begin. The amygdala is loaded with recep-


Explanation Is Not an Excuse So does that mean adults should put up with tantrums throughout the teen years? Not at all, Walsh says. “Explanation is not the same word as excuse. Kids get better at this by us helping them get better. One of our jobs as Scout leaders is to serve as the surrogate prefrontal cortex.” Walsh suggests four things adults


can do to help kids manage their emotions. First, focus on the behav- ior, not on the individual. “Instead of saying, “You were really rude,” say something like, “I’m angry that you walked away while I was trying to talk to you.” Second, avoid escalating the


THOMAS FUCHS


Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68
Produced with Yudu - www.yudu.com