Preteens Who Take Risks Are Better?

I've always wished that my son would be more daring.  When he was a little boy, his best friend climbed trees (to the top), snowboarded only on slopes marked with black diamonds, and wasn't afraid to trade barbs with kids who were 20 pounds heavier and meaner.

Instead, Phillip would stand anxiously by, ready to call 911.

I've always loved that about him, that he's a caretaker, but I also, at times when he was smaller, found myself hoping that he'd be just a tad more open to risk.  I'm not talking skydiving or swimming in a thunderstorm, but  riding a bike with the training wheels off?

But that's just who he is.  A teacher recently described him as "very cerebral," and maybe people who think a lot about what can go wrong don't do things that may be dangerous

This winter he's been scared when I go running.  Last year I fell on the ice and broke my wrist.  "You're actually going running?" he says nervously to me as the snow falls and I tie up my laces.  I'm probably not the right mom for him.  I've always been the type to just do it.  And I've taken lots of risks in my life.  Some have paid off, some not.

Thought crazy for staying 10 years with a confirmed bachelor (we've been married 21 years this March).

Going over a boss's head about late payment, and being fired (okay, so maybe I shouldn't have accused him of giving me "the runaround," too).

And there was the time 

 Sometimes I think my son can't quite believe what I do. (Though secretly I love that he's a little bit proud of me.)

But Phillip is just not built that way. He doesn't believe in taking chances and for a kid who gets good grades (okay, so  he enjoys playing Call of Duty a little too much) and will be presenting a paper at a conference for electrical engineers next month maybe that's the way to go.

It's just never worked for me.

But now experts are saying that experimenting preteens may have different brain processes.  Preteens who experiment or explore new things may have ones that work differently than those of preteens who do not, according to a new study.  The long and the short of it?  Seems preteens who do this are better at decision-making, but, and here's the big catch, may be more at risk of dangerous behaviors.  Duh.

So I think I'll keep my son.  He's pretty much given us nothing but pleasure (well, at least until he turned 13) and I know if I leave him home alone, I probably, most likely, won't come back to smashed beer bottles on the lawn.  


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