Should Kids Set Their Own Schedule?

According to The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More, it can be beneficial to cognitive development for a child to set their own schedule, goals, and even their discipline. Barking Up The Wrong Tree, a popular blog site for tips on success operated by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Eric Barker explains. “…Kids who plan their own time, set weekly goals, and evaluate their own work build up their prefrontal cortex and other parts of the brain that help them exert greater cognitive control over their lives.” These skills are called “executive skills” which help kids develop a greater “…self-discipline, avoiding distractions, and weighing the pros and cons of their choices.”

For teens and adolescents who have experienced chemical dependency on drugs and alcohol, there is a distinguished difficulty in weighing the pros and cons of their choices. Addiction as a neurobiological model takes over parts of the brain which are responsible for a number of functions involving choice. Long term consequences, negative consequences, effect of choices on others, and many other considerations are thrown to the wayside when the euphoric pleasure of drugs and alcohol takes biological priority in the brain. Addiction is criticized for being a matter of choice, but might be better described as a disease of choice. Drugs and alcohol take away a child’s ability to make good decisions for themselves.

Through treatment and the lifestyle of recovery, a child can learn how to make good choices and support the development of their brain. The choice not to pick up another drink or a drug is a daily choice, one that requires daily practice so that the brain is continuously able to keep making that choice. In regards to the choice of whether or not to use, the consequences become obvious in recovery: death is always an imminent threat of substance abuse, there is pressure not to let down parents and peers, school is at risk, and other consequences. For choices that do not directly include drugs and alcohol, it might be challenging for children to evaluate the consequences. Choosing them on their own, Barker argues, might be a better idea. “By picking their own punishments, children become more internally driven to avoid them. By choosing their own rewards, children become more intrinsically motivated to achieve them.”

 

Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers adolescent and teenage boys a private residential treatment experience designed to help them build a positive foundation in life while undergoing life cleansing therapies for mind, body, and spirit.

Call us today for information on our programs in Mississippi: 662-598-4214

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