school behavior

4 Ways to Parent the Impulsive Child

Susan Stiffelman by Susan Stiffelman | March 25th, 2013 | No Comments
topic: Family Health, Health & Wellness, Personal Growth, Relationships | tags: acceptance and children, act your age, ADD, adolescent hormones, alienation, ally, alternative approaches for restless children, behaving appropriately, brain, champion, children, children confiding in parents, children's mishaps, curb impulsive behavior in kids, developmental lab, disappointment, disruptive children, failing, fish oil for children, frustrating behavior, frustrating children, fueling misbehavior, good nutrition for children, human beings, impatient children, impulse and action, impulsive behavior, inhibitory response, mean children, nature and children, parent, patient children, pfc, PFC developmental function, pre-frontal cortex, school behavior, scolding, self confidence, sleep and children, stress

A parent wrote me recently to say that her 13-year-old son’s impulsive behavior was frustrating his teachers and driving away potential friends. Here is the advice I shared with her:

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the part of the brain behind the forehead that governs the inhibitory response in human beings. It creates a pause between having an impulse and acting on it.

In the ADD-ish children and teens I’ve worked with, I almost always see up to a 30-percent developmental lag between a child’s actual age and their PFC developmental function. In other words, while a child may officially be 13 years old (and might be even more mature in some respects), they may be more like an 8- or 9-year-old when it comes to controlling their impulsive behavior.