How do we help our young boys develop?



Stuff NZ Newspapers


Virginia Fallon (‘‘Boys’ brains are beautiful but they’re leading them into trouble’’, May 8) reports on neuroscientist Nathan Wallis’s belief that male brains reach maturity between the ages of 22 and 32. Decades ago, scientists told us that the frontal lobe, responsible for self-monitoring and controlling one’s responses, didn’t reach maturity until the age of 16. At that age males could get a firearms or learner driver’s licence, could fly a plane or get married. Then the age was raised to 18, then 21. Now Wallis has raised that age yet again to 22-32. Why are New Zealand boys’ brains developing more slowly? Many of their greatgrandparents left school at 14 to start work. Many of their grandparents went to war at 18, able to take full responsibility for their actions. The same can be said of boys raised in New Zealand when they are expected to assist in productive activities, for example helping on the family farm. Why are others not developing similarly? What is the cause of so much irresponsible behaviour? What are we doing wrong? To develop the frontal lobe of the brain, young boys and girls need to be raised from an early age to consider others, to be guided in making sensible decisions, and to take responsibility for their actions. They need to be parented well, by example. Midge Janssen, Palmerston North