Growth Stages‎ > ‎

Self-Discipline: Ages 11-18

Attachment: Ages 0-3
Following: Ages 1-8
Accountability: Ages 7-12
Self-Discipline: Ages 11-18
Independence: Ages 16-20+
Leading: Ages 20+

Select Pyramid Side:
   Maturity Goals (Yellow)
   Acceptance (Blue)
   Oversee (Red)
   Self-Reliance (Green)
Maturity Goals: (Yellow Side of Pyramid)
During this turbulent, but talent-seeking stage, allowing and inspiring (as opposed to requiring) self-discipline is the primary goal because an adolescent is naturally aware of and seeking personal success.

Brain Notes: The brain begins a massive pruning process throughout the Self-Discipline Stage, but especially in the prefrontal cortex region, to weed out unused brain cells and make room for increased efficiency. The brain construction often causes a decay in moral reasoning for a time. Self-awareness and emotional circuits dominate thinking (again), resulting in adolescent behaviors centered around social acceptance and impulsive decision-making.

During puberty, a child’s brain is programmed to prepare for independence. Children naturally want more time and space away from Mom and Dad and more freedom to experiment with personal decisions.

Major emotional problems often surface during these years because small, manageable coping mechanisms from earlier years turn into bigger ones alongside a heightened hormonal response system. However, teenagers who have worked their way up the Accountability Pyramid will have a higher functioning prefrontal cortex and thus have an advantage throughout this turbulent time. More importantly, when they are truly struggling on their own, they will instinctively know how to turn to their parents for help. (And parents will instinctively know--because of so many years of being “present” with their child--what kind of support to give to their budding independent child.)

We are at the beginning of this stage in our family.

We plan to continue a mentoring relationship with our children during this stage, but will expect them to set appropriate goals and monitor progress primarily on their own. We will enjoy hearing them report on their progress to us. We will continue to allow natural consequences to govern their behavior. If disciplinary action is necessary, we will discuss consequences one-on-one (without lecturing or nagging…assuming our pre-frontal cortex is working properly). We hope to warn and inspire them to choose maturity because it will increase their future happiness, but we will accept and respect our child’s freedom to take responsibility for personal change…or not (yikes!).

Acceptance: (Blue Side of Pyramid)
Practice Acceptance at a time when my child is excessively vulnerable to his/her self-worth.

Guide Less - Oversee: (Red Side of Pyramid)
Discipline by taking a step back and allowing our child to experience the thrill and defeat of personal government.

We maintain a positive mentor relationship with our child regarding future goals, but make fewer suggestions and expect our child to think independently, setting her own goals, managing her own schedule, and tracking her own progress (without Mom peering over the shoulder). We find joy in listening a lot. We refrain from nagging and lecturing. We allow natural consequences to govern our child’s behavior (as opposed to setting up consequences as a way to manipulate her behavior). We genuinely accept our child’s current immaturity and the natural outcomes that occur. We offer love and support. We meet with our child regularly to hear her future goals and discuss progress. We continue monetary support as a natural consequence for accomplishing goals.

Increase Self-Reliance: (Green Side of Pyramid)
Attend youth activities, overnight camps, trips, and dances, set own goals and schedule, explore ways to earn extra money.

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