Born to Learn

Another great little video from European Schoolnet Essential viewing if you are a parent or a teacher and want some understanding of what is happening to the adolescent brain as a young person transitions from being a dependent child to an independent and interdependent adult.

Adolescence is not some temporary aberration in teenager behaviour but a deep seated survival mechanism that has has allowed humanity to redefine and renew its cultural norms. From escaping the cold caves of our ancestors to finding new ways of being and living today we are constantly on the move and our adolescents continue to have a crucial role to play. Adults also have an important role to play in celebrating adolescence as:

The defining struggle, the moment when the next generation challenges the status quo and pioneers new ways of thinking and being that ensure our survival.’

I completely agree but just wish my 14 year daughter was a wee bit less stroppy sometimes and that her bedroom wasn’t quite as much of a bio-hazard. On balance I suppose this is a small price to pay in return for all the benefits of her successfully making the transition to adulthood and contributing to the survival of our future generations.


  1. Nice video, thanks for sharing!

    I wonder how their statements translate into actionable ideas though. My personal recollection of being a teenager was wanting to do as little as possible. I look at my four year old and wonder how I’ll cope with him if he’s the same!

  2. I’m now on my sixth stroppy fourteen year old so I completely empathise with you here !
    And I completely agree with the post and this great video. Sometimes it’s easy to dismiss strops as just due to hormones when actually it’s the conflict between evolution and attachment theory working itself out…

  3. Phil,
    Even the choice of ‘doing as little as possible’ was an assertion of your independence from your parents and from your previous role as a child. Just look at the hard working and creative person you have become as a result.

    You will cope fine when the time comes to be the parent of an adolescent – the trick is not to take typical adolescent behaviour personally and to give power away gracefully and proportionately.

    I’m just on my second. You must be an expert by now but I bet it’s still not easy. It has to be a struggle to be effective – giving away too much too easily doesn’t do the adolescent any favours. But very hard to find the right balance.