INSIDE THE TEEN BRAIN
photo of a teen sleeping at a deskjoin the discussion: Do you recognize your teen--or your teenage self--in this FRONTLINE report?

Dear FRONTLINE,

I watched your program with great interest. I and my wife are reasonably well educated I have a post graduate degree and she a college bachelors degree but we are very concerned about how best to guide our children through adolescence.

I watched the Frontline program and -although I'm new to the internet and still learning, I have downloaded numerous pages on input I found on the Net concerning this program. I am compiling a notebook for family sharing - most articles for the whole family and a few just for my wife and myself. I intend to have a family meeting - my children in fifth and sixth grade are above average readers - and it is my intention to share much of the information from the program among our family as a whole.

We have always tried to be connected and honest with our children - they know about sex, drugs, alcohol and other things they may encounter as adolecents. But I have always been concerned - scared of the teenage/puberity transition and how best to handle it.

I believe that the information provided by this program - which I intend to incorporate selectively into a family folder - for use now and over the next several years - will prove helpful and falicitate, hopefully- better communication among the family during the potentially difficult years to come.

Robert Collins
Cedar Grove, North Carolina

Dear FRONTLINE,

I really enjoyed the program. It was insightful. Here I thought I was the only parent with a "hard-headed" child. I feel like pulling my hair out sometimes! Sometimes I wonder what planet he's from and if he left his head there!! But I love my kid and overall he's a good kid just rebellous at times. We must not give up on them. I know the lack of sleep plays a major role.

West Bloomfield, Michigan

Dear FRONTLINE,

Reaction: pathetic. As my wife and I watched the program, with our kids sleeping, we wondered where exactly was discipline in the featured families? Although difficult to quantify by limited exposure, these parents appear to be the same couch potato type abundant in our area. The late start schools are a complete copout. What behavior do the parents expect after training them with years of laziness and inattentiveness? TV, video games, junk food, absentee parents... WAKE UP!

Dave Klausler
Naperville, Illinois

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for a most interesting program.

Teens in the west today are much less mature than teens were several generations ago. It is clear that parents and society are doing a very poor job in our culture. Too much free time and not enough responsibility makes our adolescents very rebellious and consequently take an incredibly long time to grow up. How many of us know children at thirty five whose maturity level is that of a teen?

Even if a parent does the right thing the rest of society is fighting them at every turn.

I wonder if there have been any brain studies done on teenagers who live in societies where it is common to be considered a young adult at age thirteen or fourteen with corresponding responsibilities? Are their brain responses more like those of a mature adult?

If such research could be done, it might underscore the influence that culture and upbringing has on brain maturation.

Worried Parent
LA, CA

Dear FRONTLINE,

I just finished watching the show on the teenage brain. It was very informative,I have twin boys that are 12 and on thier way.We sent them to bed earlier tonight and will be going to church Saturday night so that they can sleep in on Sunday.

Watching your show will help me now that I know what I'm going to be dealing with. I always have told my children that they can come to me know matter what, easy said than done. I hope they do, they're good kids.

I will also let the arguments go and ride with them, because I know that they will end soon. Thank you

Lisa Adams
Anacortes, Wa.

Dear FRONTLINE,

I think teenagers require much more sleep than they allow themselves to get. I allow my teens to sleep in on the days they can and to allow them to have those down days on the occassion that they feel that they need to have down time. Our society has so much stimulation and families are so busy making a llving that families often don't have that stable person in the home to say you need to go to bed. Often times teenagers don't agree anyway. I just think that our society lacks down time at every age and our teenagers especially suffer at very crucial time when learning, physical growth and mental and emotional growth are happening so strongly. I have five children. Two of them just turned 20 and have left the teenage years. I still have an 18, 17, 15 year old at home.

Kathryrn Sloan
Onalaska, wisconsin

Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for your program. I am a single mom of 15 year old girl who has become so rebellious of rules at home I had to send her to live with her Aunt. Your program gave me many insights and enough understanding to try to reach out again.

ruth murphy
baltimore, Maryland

Dear FRONTLINE,

I cannot believe how relieved I am after seeing this report--My abnormal kid has become normal!

Mike McCarroll
Beaverton, OR

Dear FRONTLINE,

I'm so thankful someone finally recognizes what my classmates and I struggle through every day when we are forced to go to school against our body clocks.

Charlotte, NC

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am a "teen" who just finished watching your show and I have one comment. I understand that our bodies are rapidly changing, but that still gives us no excuse to treat our families like dirt you show seemed to give teens license to do so because they were "teens". We are still our parents children, and they are taking care of us the best they know how. They deserve our respect-not our back talk.

Katy, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

I am a sixteen year old girl and I found your show very interesting, however I felt that you cut the teenagers too much slack. Although there are many physical changes going on, they need to respect and obey their parents, and use a little bit of integrity skateboarding without a helmet--duh!

One of the best things my parents ever did for me was not letting me rebel and get away with anything I wanted. Since I was a child they set boundaries and I grew up knowing that I was not to cross them.

Missouri City, Texas

Dear FRONTLINE,

hey,

I'm a 16 year old & i just watched this program. I think it's pretty cool. I read the cartoon Zits all the time- it really seems to know what's going on. It's really neat to know that somebody's trying to understand teenagers our parents don't. There's plenty of things going on that we don't know how to deal with, and don't know how to talk about to get help.

But there are a lot of things that weren't mentioned in the program that could have been. Like all the teens featured had good relationships with their parents, that isn't usually the case from what i've seen. The relationships that they have with other teens was barely mentioned!!! That is a really Major part of any teens existance- I don't see how it could have been skipped!

Other than those few things it was pretty good - and informative too.

warwick, RI


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