Parents can help children to manage their A.P.E. Brains

Is this your child?

  •      Easily loses concentration in class?
  •      Procrastinates with homework?
  •      Becomes stressed too easily, and does not react well to pressure?
  •      A high-achiever who could perform even better?

We can only understand why young people demonstrate this type of behaviour, if we understand the human brain.

Introducing your brain

Parents want their children to be healthy, happy, and to do well in life. However, these things are not easy to achieve because the human brain has evolved to survive, and not to help us to be ‘the best we can be’. Consider also that brains of children and teenagers are not fully developed and so they can find it even more difficult to manage innate instincts and emotions. This can be troubling and unhelpful for them.

Being healthy is difficult

We are drawn to eating calorific food – a doughnut will always be more attractive than an apple; we avoid excessive exercise in order to conserve energy; sleep is not prioritised. This is hugely problematic as sleep, diet and exercise aid stress management, and boost learning. Poor management of these key areas might be causing your child to be stressed, and make it difficult for them to focus at school.

Finding happiness is challenging

Happiness is a challenge, because we find it very easy to pay attention to setbacks (e.g. poor test results)  and things that are not going well. We compare ourselves unfavourably with others, leading to self-doubt, which halts progress.

Achieving our goals is not easy

Finally, performing to our potential is extremely tough. The ability to successfully achieve our big goals – like GCSEs or A Levels – depends on delaying short-term gratification, and persisting through difficulty and boredom. However, we are pulled towards short-term gratification, and some research shows we have actually evolved to procrastinate.

The limbic regions of your brain, or what we call the A.P.E. Brain, are the source of these unhelpful habits. Significantly, these regions of the brain are never bigger than in the teenager years.

You can help your children to beat their A.P.E. Brain

There is compelling evidence showing a correlation between one’s ability to deploy self-control[1], and health, happiness, resilience, creativity and performance – the factors that the A.P.E. Brain can inhibit. Excitingly, there is also strong evidence that people can learn, and therefore be taught, how to improve their levels of self-control.  

Tougher Minds Parent Training teaches parents simple and practical skills they can use to help their children improve self-control, and beat the A.P.E.

Over the coming weeks I will explain more about this in my blogs.

Next Tougher Minds Parent Training sessions:


IMPROVE GCSE AND A LEVEL EXAM RESULTS – March 10th, 6.45-7.45pm, central London

[1] Self-control relates to the following understandings: having the self-control to resist temptation and not act impulsively; to think before we speak or act so we don’t do something that we will regret; wait before making up our minds so that we do not jump to a conclusion or pre-judge; discipline in perseverance; having the discipline to stay on a task and complete it; to resist temptations to quit because you are bored, you are frustrated, there are a lot more fun things to do; continuing to work even though the reward might be a long time in coming; not beating yourself up when you have messed up; recognising when you are not working as effectively as you can, and proactively regulating your behaviour.


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