P.O. Box 99, 400 - 5th Avenue, Kenaston, SK S0G 2N0
Phone: 306-252-2182
Email: greg.mcjannet@sunwestsd.ca

News Details

02Feb 2018

Counsellor Quotes

Counselor Quotes February, 2018

“He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in Life.”

It is good to take risks in life. We cannot grow and learn if we don’t take risks. However, an alarming new teenage trend is the Tide Pod Challenge…which is essentially a really, really, dumb risk! And we all know that…so why are teens taking such a ridiculous risk? It all boils down to how the teenage brain works, or in this case, doesn’t work!

The teenage brain keeps developing well into their twenties, particularly the part of the brain that is the pre-frontal cortex, (located behind our forehead). This area of the brain is responsible for decision-making, self-regulation and understanding the consequences of our actions. Along with the part of the brain that is still developing, the adolescent is still thinking with the oldest part of their brain, which is the emotional part. This part of the brain is thinking about the dramatic or emotional effect their actions may produce. Such as, "what's the effect of this going to be? How much reaction am I going to get? What are my peers going to think about this?" This produces excitement and an eagerness to do things the teen inherently knows may not be a good decision.

They still think, "OK, I shouldn't probably bite down on a piece of laundry detergent," but the emotional part of the brain is still very active. Teens want newness. They want novelty. And when it comes to balancing ‘a risky decision with a bad outcome’ compared to ‘a risky decision with WOW factor’ (I could get some likes! I could get some reaction!) The emotional part of the brain then takes over.

Teens know the right things to do. They know the right choices….until you add a peer or two! Then all reasoning seems to disappear because they have an audience! Now, amplify that by hundreds or even thousands with social media, and you have created an extremely tempting platform for risk-taking. Risk-taking is actually good. It gives teens that opportunity to do new things, to try new things, to push themselves, to learn what their limits are. So I'm very much in favor of kids pushing themselves to learn what their limits are. Doing stuff they are not good at. Being OK with failing. Striking out a couple times. The more kids do that, the more our kids learn what it is to try something and fail. And then when they're presented with the opportunity to do these kind of dumb things, they're more likely to make good decisions and not take stupid risks because they've tried out that developing part of their brain and they can draw the connections between success and failure. I encourage adults and teens to take risks often. Try new things and (I hope) experience many failures too!

Let’s prepare ourselves for life by learning from our mistakes.

Sue Mills –

Sun West School Division Child and Youth Counselor (email – sue.mills@sunwestsd.ca) (cell) 306-567-8562