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Author: Bonds Developed in Infancy Can Strengthen in Teen Years

August 25, 2010

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The "terrible twos" and the "traumatic teens" are complete myths, according to award-winning journalist and mother Lu Hanessian. She says small children have simple needs and don't have "grown up" motives for behavior, while the opposite is true of teenagers.

"It is an innocent mistake on the culture's behalf, since parents who are in the throes of these difficult periods can't help but go into fight/flight defense mode because things can get very stressful."

Parents who can keep from falling into the trap of fighting or withdrawing from their teenager can change the way the child's brain responds, Hanessian says, creating a new, adult attachment that promotes positive personality development.

"The front of the brain is where we develop empathy. It's where we cultivate the integrated fibers for mood regulation, body regulation, intuition, even morality. These functions just don't exist on their own; we behave our way into them."

Hanessian says teenagers' brains experience massive re-wiring during adolescence, and good parenting can help children become well-adjusted adults. She's the author of the acclaimed book "Let the Baby Drive: Navigating the Road of New Motherhood."

Randy O'Brien, Public News Service - TN