Create the best possible brain? It sounds like a job for a mad scientist! But right now it’s your middle schooler’s job. Research shows the brain begins a huge period of growth at this age.

Your child’s brain is open to many experiences.
The habits he starts now may stay with him to adulthood. This process can take 10 years or more, but every year counts! To help your child build a great brain:
  • Encourage positive exploring. Lifetime hobbies and interests can begin in middle school. Suggest your child try new things—reading new books, pursuing a different sport or physical activity, or participating in a new activity at school.
  • Guard against negative exploring. The growing middle school brain and its urge to explore have a downside. This is also the age when children might try risky behaviors such as drinking alcohol and using drugs. Make sure your child knows you disapprove. Also make sure he knows specific dangers—such as brain damage and addiction—this behavior involves.
  • Give many opportunities for your child to solve problems and make decisions. Encourage him to always ask himself, “What if?” Be a guide and be aware of what he is doing. But allow him to figure out as much for himself as possible. Source: PEN Notes: Fact Sheet #26, "€œWhat in the World Are They Thinking? (Adolescent Brain Growth)," €Parent Education Network (c) 2007 The Parent Institute, a division of NIS, Inc.