How do we react when kids make mistakes?

Apr 5, 2013

The State of Opportunity team found this short animation put together by a campaign called "Mistakes Kids Make."

The campaign is described as a "storytelling project to remind us that the mistakes we make as kids should not ruin the rest of our lives." It's funded by the MacArthur Foundation.

Take a look at the video here:

Mistakes Kids Make has a quiz - what mistakes did you make as a teen? (be honest).

The campaign raises important questions. Any parent of a teen will tell you it's a challenging time, so how should we, as a society, react to this turbulent time?

For more information on the teen brain, the campaign points out this excellent article by David Dobbs in National Geographic.

Dobbs talks about the idea we have all heard, that teen brains aren't fully formed yet.

But instead of describing teens as deficient, he points to research that shows the teen brain is wired for what it must do for evolutionary reasons. The teenage brain, he writes, is optimally wired for striking out on its own - to leave home and find new territories:

The move outward from home is the most difficult thing that humans do, as well as the most critical—not just for individuals but for a species that has shown an unmatched ability to master challenging new environments. In scientific terms, teenagers can be a pain in the ass. But they are quite possibly the most fully, crucially adaptive human beings around. Without them, humanity might not have so readily spread across the globe.

If you're a parent of a teen, how have you navigated this time in your kid's life? And how can society help these kids?

Dobbs writes:

The United States spends about a billion dollars a year on programs to counsel adolescents on violence, gangs, suicide, sex, substance abuse, and other potential pitfalls. Few of them work.

Do you agree?