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“Raising Cain”, the prefrontal cortex, and pretend violence…

I was recently watching a wonderful PBS documentary based on the book “Raising Cain,” and was struck by a particular comment.  The narrator quotes current brain research that finds that the pre-frontal cortex, the part of the brain that controls impulse control, isn’t fully developed at age 18.  (More on the pre-frontal cortex here.)

This is such a good message for us to remember.  Since most parents DO have the skills & abilities for planning/social appropriateness/impulse control –we tend to forget that we haven’t always had those abilities.  Our kids–even our older teens–really aren’t quite adults yet, despite what they’d probably prefer us to believe.  All the more reason to support them with safe learning environments. 

Another one of his messages, repeated multiple times, is that “Play-acting violence is not the same as real violence, and when we treat them the same, we lose credibility with our kids.”  Such good food for thought.  By the way… the documentary is a little less than 2 hours long, and highly recommended. 

One Comment on ““Raising Cain”, the prefrontal cortex, and pretend violence…

  1. Excellent excellent post! I have had many many discussions with friends about kids roughhousing or “gun play.” This really gives me some solid footing to discuss this often highly charged subject!