Boy Brains…Are Soooo Messed Up

Boys have funky little brains, that’s why they do the goofy and crazy crap they do. In three days I have collected so much new  evidence to prove my point.
I’ve always said teen-age boys have more bad ideas in an hour than the rest of us have all year. Ill say it again, because IT’S TRUE!

Case study #1 Howard, a nine year old friend, comes to visit my son after Christmas. Howard is one of Sandor’s best friends. The boy got a touch screen  I-pod for Christmas and it’s a beauty! (My son is eatten up with jealousy but I’ll write aobut that in another blog).

The boys, who are in third grade, are messing around in the living room. I hear a thud sound. Once, twice, three times.

I yell from the kitchen, in my friendly hip mom voice, “What are you guys doing?”
My son is laughing, “Howard is dropping his I-Pod!”

“Why?” I loose the cool voice and head towards the living room. “Buddy, you are gonna break your I-Pod, don’t do that!” I hate when expensive toys get busted at my house.

Howard shakes his head, he’s laughing too. “No it won’t it’s got this cover on it.” The cover is not titanium, just black rubber.  He drops the I-Pod again and the boys melts into a pool of laughter.

“Seriously Howard, it will break, the screen will crack. Cut it out, please.”
“Ok,” he says and shrugs. Then they start practicing their choke holds.

A little girl would never every do that. I’ve known thousands of them and their DNA simply would not allow them to drop a cherished I-Pod on a hard wood floor over and over just because it made her friend laugh. In fact, if another girl was watching she would tell her friend to stop because the I-Pod would break and it was a stupid thing to do.

In little boy land this activity is  just fine. Howard was convinced his I-Pod would never break and dropping it made his buddy laugh and think he was cool. So it was totally worth the risk.

Case study #2  My husband Alex and I were driving to a friends house in separate cars.  Sandor was with me and we followed Alex on a winding dirt road, at night.  The road widened just a bit.  Sandor got so excited, “Mom, you should pass Dad, that would be so awesome, he’d freak out. Go for it.”

“That’s nuts.”

“Ok, just drive up next to him real fast, I’ll roll down the window and yell at him, do it, come on.” He was shaking with excitement, like a jacked up Chiwawa.

“”No way, Sandor, why would I do that.”

“It’ll be cool, please.”

“The road narrowed and he knew the opportunity had passed. I started to explain things to him and ask him questions about his numb skull request but I just mulled things over. 

In “boy land”, and especially in”teen-age boy land” if I guy did something like that his buddies would think it was great. They would smack him on the head and tell him how sweet the move was. He could have run off the road into the lake, he could have side swiped the other car. It was awesome. It would prove he had guts, and wasn’t afraid of anything. So he  would move up the food chain.  Girls would tell him he was a fool, but they would actually think it was cool too and he might get laid. The boy brain never for a second considered he might crash, get hurt or trash the car. The option of failure simply and literally never entered his mind.

But in my “mom land” all I could think about with the potential for danger, I would never risk my son’s safety. I was thinking about insurance premiums and damage to the cars.  If I had been a daredevil nobody would think I was awesome. My husband would have been furious and my friends would know for sure I was a moron.  

If a teenage boy pulled off the stunt he would get praise and admiration. If I pulled it off, nothing good would happen in my world. I would just be “super idiot mom/wife”.

We can’t fix boy brains, we shouldn’t fix boy brains. They are designed that way for a reason.  But I think by helping our boys understand how and why they think the way they do.  They might, and I stress MIGHT, be better equipped to make good decisions.

*PS my 24 year old, college educated, son thought putting a grossof bottle rockets in a bon fire last week was a good idea.

* Write to me!

The Teenage Brain…They Are Crazy!

Yesterday I heard an NPR story on the teenage brain. Those kids are crazy, but now we know why.

I have two  fairly famous sayings about teenage boys, they go like this. 1.”Teenage boys have more bad ideas in sixty seconds than the rest of us have all week.” (Example, launching water balloons at the police station.)

2.  “As boys turn into men, around age 30, they figure out that it’s not a good idea to act on all those bad ideas.” (example: don’t try to jump off the second story balcony into the hotel pool)

Well according to the NPR story I was both right and wrong. Teen brains understand  and recognize bad ideas just as well as frumpy 50 year old housewives but, they don’t exaggerated it the way  the grown up brain does. Grown ups tend to think the world is a dangerous place and really bad stuff will happen if we get out of line. 

That’s not how teens see things. So their decision to do wacked stuff, like jump in the spider monkey cage at the zoo, isn’t so unreasonable.

The adult thinks, the spider monkey will bite your lips off and put poop on your head, don’t get in there!

The teenager thinks, the spider monkey will sit on my head and my friends will think I’m awesome.
The teen brain knows driving fast is dangerous, but the rewards are more important. The teen boy knows if he drives 118 miles an hour his girl  friend might secretly think he’s hot and his buddies will think he’s crazy.That means a lot to the teenage brain, because it needs positive reinforcement and social acceptance.

Adults think, “if I drive 118 mph I’ll probably die, or worse, I’ll get a ticket and my insurance premiums will double.” There’s not much reward, so we don’t do it.

Holy cow, this explains a lot. Teen-agers aren’t idiots, they are just different. I’ll try to remember that next time I see a bunch of kids riding a 4 wheeler, in their boxers, during a snow storm. (Yes, that does happen in my neighborhood.)

*Three side notes:

1. The next blog will be a commercial. Sorry.

2. checke out my other blog

3. Does anyone know about Kindle e-books? Some folks have suggested I write one.