Education

# 3,700-year-old Babylonian stone tablet gets translated, changes history

### They were doing trigonometry 1500 years before the Greeks.

via UNSW

Dr. Daniel Mansfield and his team at the University of New South Wales in Australia have just made an incredible discovery. While studying a 3,700-year-old tablet from the ancient civilization of Babylon, they found evidence that the Babylonians were doing something astounding: trigonometry!

Most historians have credited the Greeks with creating the study of triangles' sides and angles, but this tablet presents indisputable evidence that the Babylonians were using the technique 1,500 years before the Greeks ever were.

Mansfield and his team are, understandably, incredibly proud. What they discovered is that the tablet is actually an ancient trigonometry table.

Mansfield said:

"The huge mystery, until now, was its purpose – why the ancient scribes carried out the complex task of generating and sorting the numbers on the tablet. Our research reveals that Plimpton 322 describes the shapes of right-angle triangles using a novel kind of trigonometry based on ratios, not angles and circles. It is a fascinating mathematical work that demonstrates undoubted genius."

"The tablet not only contains the world's oldest trigonometric table; it is also the only completely accurate trigonometric table, because of the very different Babylonian approach to arithmetic and geometry. This means it has great relevance for our modern world. Babylonian mathematics may have been out of fashion for more than 3,000 years, but it has possible practical applications in surveying, computer graphics and education. This is a rare example of the ancient world teaching us something new."

The tablet predates Greek astronomer Hipparchus, who has long been regarded as the father of trigonometry. Mansfield's colleague, Norman Widberger, added:

"Plimpton 322 predates Hipparchus by more than 1,000 years. It opens up new possibilities not just for modern mathematics research, but also for mathematics education. With Plimpton 322 we see a simpler, more accurate trigonometry that has clear advantages over our own."
"A treasure trove of Babylonian tablets exists, but only a fraction of them have been studied yet. The mathematical world is only waking up to the fact that this ancient but very sophisticated mathematical culture has much to teach us."

People were understandably excited by the news.

Some mathematicians actually think studying the Babylonians back then could help us improve the way we do trigonometry today.

Of course, there were the haters...

But all in all, Twitter users were pretty impressed with the Babylonians' skills.

And they figured it out 3,700 years ahead of me...and counting.— Marty (@Marty) 1503631905

Congratulations to Dr. Mansfield and his team on their incredible discovery... and for making trigonometry exciting!

Family

## Man lists 8 not fun, but very important things you need to start doing as an adult.

### "Welcome to being an adult. Maybe you weren't told this by your parents, but this is through my trial and error."

@johnfluenzer/TikTok

8 things you should be doing as an adult. Spoiler alert—none of them are fun.

Who among us hasn’t come into full adulthood wishing they had known certain things that could have made life so so so much easier in the long run? Choices that, if made, ultimately would have been much better for our well-being…not to mention our wallets.

But then again that is all part of growing older and (hopefully) wiser. However there is something to be said about getting advice from those who’ve been there, rather than learning the hard way every single time.

Thankfully, a man who goes by @johnfluenzer on TikTok has a great list of things young people should start doing once they become adults. Are any of his suggestions fun, cool or trendy? Not at all. But they are most definitely accurate. Just ask any 30+-year-olds who wished they had done at least four of these things.

John started off by saying, “welcome to being an adult. Maybe you weren't told this by your parents, but this is through my trial and error."

Listed below are the eight vital things to maintaining a healthy adulthood, that most of us have no idea about until well into adulthood.

1. Getting an annual doctor visit.

young woman visiting her doctor

Canva

This is the bare minimum amount of visits one should be making, according to John. He recommended more if you “have more medical concerns.”

2. Dental visits. For a yearly cleaning at the very least.

Woman at the dentist

Canva

"Keep in mind that a \$300 cavity can turn into a \$1,500 root canal, which can then turn into a \$2,000 crown on top of the \$1,500 you just paid, so it's better to just pay the \$300 or whatever it is for a cavity, and just get it sorted,” he explained.

As someone with this exact experience (ignored a cavity because she didn't want to pay \$300, only to pay \$1500 years later, even with insurance) I can ruefully confirm.

…as can others, judging by the comments sections to John’s video.

“I didn’t go to the dentist for 8 years and now I need a root canal. Learn from my mistakes people,” one person wrote.

Seriously, no amount of flossing and avoiding sugar can make up for a professional cleaning and checkup, folks.

Last note on this subject—John mentioned that if you couldn’t afford to go to a dentist, to check for nearby dental schools that can often perform necessary procedures at a fraction of the cost.

Though he specifically mentioned dental schools in Canada, that is also an option in America. Things I wish I had known as a 20-year-old…

3. Next up, John suggested that if you are sexually active, to get checked for STDs/STIs.

an image of STD tests

Canva

“If you're uncomfortable with your GP, or you don't have a GP, go to a sexual health clinic…. Just go get tested — it's better to know,” he said.

4. Get vaccines. “Be up on your vaccines, not just your flu shot."

A man having just got a vaccine.

Canva

"We're talking Hep A/Hep B, and also if you're under 25, get your Gardasil 9. It's three shots. It prevents the cancer-causing HPV,” he explained.

And while he mostly discussed the free health care options found in Canada, HPV vaccines are covered by most insurances in the US. Plus there are other potentially free/low cost resources, such as the Vaccines for Children (VFC) program for those under 19.

5. Then get a PEP, aka Post-exposure prophylaxis, if you had a “risky sexual encounter” and are worried about having contracted HIV.

Image of pills

Canva

For this one, time really is of the essence. The sooner a PEP is taken, the more effective it is at preventing HIV, and must be taken within 72 hours of possible exposure to HIV.

Gotta say…list time 3-5 seem particularly important, as many young people are not given thorough sex education.

6. Rent. Everyone’s favorite.

Image of a piggy back with a reminder to pay rent.

Canva

John explains that especially in a housing crisis, “your rent should be the first thing you take care of every month."

"It comes before everything. Now maybe if you have kids and they need to eat, of course, that's important," he added. "But a roof over their head is way more important and you do not want to give landlords any excuse to have you evicted. Pay your rent and pay it on time."

7. Hold onto that cellphone as long as possible.

Woman holding a cellphone

Canva

“I know we all want the new cell phones.Keep your phone as long as possible, OK?" he said. "I don't care if it's any iPhone 10, iPhone 8, keep it for as long as possible. Especially if you're under no contract—you have so much freedom.”

Instead of getting a new phone, John suggested switching providers every month to get special deals and save “\$40–50 bucks a month,” which, as we all know, really adds up.

8. Only have one streaming subscription a month.

There's not need to have more than one streaming service at a time.

Canva

This one was admittedly “controversial,” John shared, but in his point of view, it’s a no brainer.

“You don't need Netflix, Disney, Hulu, whatever... you don't need them all the same month. January do Netflix, cancel. February do Hulu... All of these different apps, they let you save watchlists, right, like 'My List.' And if you cancel your subscription and you restart it two months later, your list is still there. So just save stuff, only pay for it once a month, and try to save some money,” he suggested.

What a wake up call, right? But other hardened adults couldn’t help but agree with John.

“This is very good advice, can confirm (unfortunately) as a fellow adult lol,” one person wrote.

“I love people like you so much, just her to help others in life. People like you are so important because you didn’t have to make this video but you did.”

You can’t always trust what you hear on TikTok, but John’s advice is sound. What most life hacks seem to have in common, other than a healthy blend of common sense and 20/20 hindsight, is that it puts some form of security at the forefront—not necessarily instant gratification. Fun is so important, but as anyone with experience will tell you, peace of mind is priceless.

Watch the full video below:

@johnfluenzer #greenscreen Here is my list if things you jeed to start doing once you’re an adult! I know its not fun bit I wish someone had told me when I was younger. #genz #genalpha #adultingishard ♬ original sound - John

Joy

## 12 non-threatening leadership strategies for women

### We mustn't hurt a man's feelings.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Men and the feels.

Note: This an excerpt is from Sarah Cooper's book, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings.

In this fast-paced business world, female leaders need to make sure they're not perceived as pushy, aggressive, or competent.

One way to do that is to alter your leadership style to account for the fragile male ego.

Should men accept powerful women and not feel threatened by them? Yes. Is that asking too much?

IS IT?

Sorry, I didn't mean to get aggressive there. Anyhoo, here are twelve non-threatening leadership strategies for women.

Encourage.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When setting a deadline, ask your coworker what he thinks of doing something, instead of just asking him to get it done. This makes him feel less like you're telling him what to do and more like you care about his opinions.

Sharing ideas.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When sharing your ideas, overconfidence is a killer. You don't want your male coworkers to think you're getting all uppity. Instead, downplay your ideas as just "thinking out loud," "throwing something out there," or sharing something "dumb," "random," or "crazy."

Email requests.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Pepper your emails with exclamation marks and emojis so you don't come across as too clear or direct. Your lack of efficient communication will make you seem more approachable.

Idea sharing.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

If a male coworker steals your idea in a meeting, thank him for it. Give him kudos for how he explained your idea so clearly. And let's face it, no one might've ever heard it if he hadn't repeated it.

Sexism.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When you hear a sexist comment, the awkward laugh is key. Practice your awkward laugh at home, with your friends and family, and in the mirror. Make sure you sound truly delighted even as your soul is dying inside.

Mansplain.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Men love explaining things. But when he's explaining something and you already know that, it might be tempting to say, "I already know that." Instead, have him explain it to you over and over again. It will make him feel useful and will give you some time to think about how to avoid him in the future.

Mistakes.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Pointing out a mistake is always risky so it's important to always apologize for noticing the mistake and then make sure that no one thinks you're too sure about it. People will appreciate your "hey what do I know?!" sensibilities.

Promotions.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Asking your manager for a promotion could make you seem power- hungry, opportunistic, and transparent. Instead, ask a male coworker to vouch for you. Have your coworker tell your manager you'd be great for the role even though you don't really want it. This will make you more likely to actually get that promotion.

Rude.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Sometimes not everyone is properly introduced at the start of a meeting. Don't take it personally even if it happens to you all the time, and certainly don't stop the meeting from moving forward to introduce yourself. Sending a quick note afterward is the best way to introduce yourself without seeming too self-important.

Interruptions.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When you get interrupted, you might be tempted to just continue talking or even ask if you can finish what you were saying. This is treacherous territory. Instead, simply stop talking. The path of least resistance is silence.

Collaboration.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When collaborating with a man, type using only one finger. Skill and speed are very off-putting.

Disagreements.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

When all else fails, wear a mustache so everyone sees you as more man-like. This will cancel out any need to change your leadership style. In fact, you may even get a quick promotion!

In conclusion...

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

Many women have discovered the secret power of non-threatening leadership. We call it a "secret power" because no one else actually knows about it. We keep our power hidden within ourselves so that it doesn't frighten and intimidate others. That's what makes us the true unsung heroes of the corporate world.

Sarah Cooper is a writer, comedian, and author of 100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings. Her new book, How to Be Successful Without Hurting Men's Feelings, is out now.

The comedic book cover.

With permission from Sarah Cooper.

A satirical take on what it's like to be a woman in the workplace, Cooper draws from her experience as a former executive in the world of tech (she's a former Googler and Yahooer). You can get the book here.

Health

## We all know that Americans pay more for healthcare than every other country in the world. But how much more?

According an American expatriate who shared the story of his ER visit in a Taiwanese hospital, Americans are being taken to the cleaners when we go to the doctor. We live in a country that claims to be the greatest in the world, but where an emergency trip to the hospital can easily bankrupt someone.

Kevin Bozeat had that fact in mind when he fell ill while living in Taiwan and needed to go to the hospital. He didn't have insurance and he had no idea how much it was going to cost him. He shared the experience in a now-viral Facebook post he called "The Horrors of Socialized Medicine: A first hand experience."

Bozeat started vomiting one evening and couldn't stop, unable to even keep water down. "My symptoms showed no signs of abating," he wrote. "At this point I had to seek medical treatment, I knew I had to go to the hospital."

"I wanted to avoid it," he added. "I had no idea how different Taiwanese hospitals would be, whether I would be able to find an English speaking doctor, or what it would cost me (my US health insurance has lapsed and I don't qualify for Taiwanese NHI)."

Taiwan's National Health Insurance (NHI) is a single-payer system that covers all residents of Taiwan. Foreigners can take part in the system immediately upon obtaining a work permit, or after six months of living in the country. Bozeat was a student and hadn't lived there long enough to be eligible yet.

But he needn't have worried.

## Bozeat's bill for his entire hospital stay was a fraction of many insured American's copays for emergency services.

And it's not like he received substandard service for what he paid.

"My Taiwanese roommate called a taxi and took me to the ER at NTU Hospital," Bozeat wrote. "I was immediately checked-in by an English speaking nurse. Within 20 minutes I was given IV fluids and anti-emetics. They took blood tests and did an ultrasound to ensure it wasn't gall stones or appendicitis. From there I was given a diagnosis: a particularly severe case of Acute Viral Gastroenteritis (aka the stomach flu). After about 3 hours on an IV, I began to feel slightly better, my nausea disappeared and my stomach began to calm down."

Bozeat was discharged with a prescription for anti-emetics and pain medication, and after a few days he was back to normal. This is when most of us would start panicking as we wait for the hospital bills to start arriving. But Bozeat was pleasantly surprised:

"The bill for the ER visit?...US \$80.00. Eighty. American. Dollars. Out of pocket. Full cost. No discounts. No insurance. At one of the best hospitals in Taiwan. And if I had NHI, it would have been a fraction of that. This could have easily cost me hundreds or even thousands in the US without insurance. But here in Taiwan I was able to receive speedy, quality care comparable to what I would have gotten in a US hospital for relatively small amount of money."

And it's not like he received substandard service for what he paid.

"My Taiwanese roommate called a taxi and took me to the ER at NTU Hospital," Bozeat wrote. "I was immediately checked-in by an English speaking nurse. Within 20 minutes I was given IV fluids and anti-emetics. They took blood tests and did an ultrasound to ensure it wasn't gall stones or appendicitis. From there I was given a diagnosis: a particularly severe case of Acute Viral Gastroenteritis (aka the stomach flu). After about 3 hours on an IV, I began to feel slightly better, my nausea disappeared and my stomach began to calm down."

Bozeat was discharged with a prescription for anti-emetics and pain medication, and after a few days he was back to normal. This is when most of us would start panicking as we wait for the hospital bills to start arriving. But Bozeat was pleasantly surprised:

"The bill for the ER visit?...US \$80.00. Eighty. American. Dollars. Out of pocket. Full cost. No discounts. No insurance. At one of the best hospitals in Taiwan. And if I had NHI, it would have been a fraction of that. This could have easily cost me hundreds or even thousands in the US without insurance. But here in Taiwan I was able to receive speedy, quality care comparable to what I would have gotten in a US hospital for relatively small amount of money."

I did some research, and the cost of living overall in Taiwan is about half what it is here. There is not a hospital that I know of in the U.S. where you can be admitted and discharged for anything close to \$160, even for something as simple as a bee sting. (Seriously, an ER visit for a bee sting can set you back \$12,000 in the U.S.)

## Bozeat also pointed out that the taxes that pay for Taiwan's health system are not that high.

Responding to the common complaint that we'd have to raise taxes to pay for universal healthcare, Bozeat continued his list:

"5: Yes, taxes pay for the healthcare here. No, they are not high. Try for yourself: The formula for the NHI monthly premium contribution for a single employed adult is: [your monthly income] x 0.0469 (4.69%) x 0.3 (30%) = Your monthly out-of-pocket healthcare premium."

I did the math for a \$60,000 per year income—it comes to \$70.53/month. [Sigh.]

But Bozeat wasn't done:

"6: It's not perfect. Not everything is 100% covered. I had a good experience, but Im sure many people have had [non-financial] medical horror stories here.

7: This system exists because the Taiwanese government believes that healthcare is a right for all of its citizens, rather than a privilege for those who can afford it. Those aren't my words, thats what the Ministry of Health said in its English language brochure. Every Taiwanese citizen and foreign permanent resident is entitled to, and required to enroll in the National Health Insurance Program (NHI). Everyone is covered, regardless of employment status, no one is uninsured, no one ever goes bankrupt due to medical bills."

## And the quality of care does not appear to be compromised in this system, either.

"I have yet to meet a Taiwanese person who wasn't satisfied with, or even outright proud of their healthcare system," Bozeat wrote. "My expat friends praise it, even those from countries with universal healthcare systems of their own. "

But Bozeat wasn't done:"6: It's not perfect. Not everything is 100% covered. I had a good experience, but Im sure many people have had [non-financial] medical horror stories here.7: This system exists because the Taiwanese government believes that healthcare is a right for all of its citizens, rather than a privilege for those who can afford it. Those aren't my words, thats what the Ministry of Health said in its English language brochure. Every Taiwanese citizen and foreign permanent resident is entitled to, and required to enroll in the National Health Insurance Program (NHI). Everyone is covered, regardless of employment status, no one is uninsured, no one ever goes bankrupt due to medical bills." And the quality of care does not appear to be compromised in this system, either."I have yet to meet a Taiwanese person who wasn't satisfied with, or even outright proud of their healthcare system," Bozeat wrote. "My expat friends praise it, even those from countries with universal healthcare systems of their own."

Joy

## Her boyfriend asked her to draw a comic about their relationship. Hilarity ensued.

### The series combines humor and playful drawings with spot-on depictions of the intense familiarity that long-standing coupledom often brings.

All images by Catana Chetwynd

## "It was all his idea."

An offhand suggestion from her boyfriend of two years coupled with her own lifelong love of comic strips like "Calvin and Hobbes" and "Get Fuzzy" gave 22-year-old Catana Chetwynd the push she needed to start drawing an illustrated series about long-term relationships.

Specifically, her own relationship.

The drawings are refreshingly touching, honest, and instantly recognizable to anyone who's ever had to learn to live with, for, and around a long-term partner.

## Chetwynd says her goal is to explore the peculiar aspects of relationships at different stages, using her own as the master template.

The series combines humor and playful drawings with spot-on depictions of the intense familiarity that long-standing coupledom often brings.

The comics are almost too real — and really, really funny.

If the following comics capture your relationship to a T, you're most definitely not alone.

(All images by Catana Chetwynd.)

## "When I started doing the comic, we hadn't lived together or anything yet, and now we've done the whole thing of moving in together and meeting the parents and everything," Chetwynd says.

The evolution of their relationship provides the creative fuel for the comic strip. Thankfully, her boyfriend John Freed is fully on board with being depicted in (digital) ink — despite having to occasionally awkwardly explain things that appear in the strip to their family and friends.

The connection she has built with Freed, Chetwynd says she wouldn't trade for anything — especially now that it inspires her art.

"The end goal for me was always to have somebody that I could be comfortable with in this way, and I think I got that."

You can follow Catana Comics on Facebook and Twitter, and can view the whole series on Chetwynd's website.

Identity

## My wife surprised her coworkers when she came out as trans. Then they surprised her.

### She was ready for one reaction but was greeted with a beautiful response.

All photos by Amanda Jette, used with permission.

Zoe comes out to her coworkers.

## Society, pay attention. This is important.

My wife, Zoe, is transgender. She came out to us — the kids and me — last summer and then slowly spread her beautiful feminine wings with extended family, friends, and neighbors.

A little coming out here, a little coming out there — you know how it is.

It's been a slow, often challenging process of telling people something so personal and scary, but pretty much everyone has been amazing.

## However, she dreaded coming out at the office.

She works at a large technology company, managing a team of software developers in a predominantly male office environment. She's known many of her co-workers and employees for 15 or so years. They have called her "he" and "him" and "Mr." for a very long time. How would they handle the change?

While we have laws in place in Ontario, Canada, to protect the rights of transgender employees, it does not shield them from awkwardness, quiet judgment, or loss of workplace friendships. Your workplace may not become outright hostile, but it can sometimes become a difficult place to go to every day because people only tolerate you rather than fully accept you.

## But this transition needed to happen, and so Zoe carefully crafted a coming out email and sent it to everyone she works with.

The support was immediately apparent; she received about 75 incredibly kind responses from coworkers, both local and international.

She then took one week off, followed by a week where she worked solely from home. It was only last Monday when she finally went back to the office.

First day back at work! I asked if I could take a "first day of school" type picture with her lunchbox. She said no. Spoilsport.

## Despite knowing how nice her colleagues are and having read so many positive responses to her email, she was understandably still nervous.

Hell, I was nervous. I made her promise to text me 80 billion times with updates and was more than prepared to go down there with my advocacy pants on if I needed to (I might be a tad overprotective).

And that's when her office pals decided to show the rest of us how to do it right.

## She got in and found that a couple of them had decorated her cubicle to surprise her:

Her cubicle decorated with butterflies.

All photos by Amanda Jette, used with permission.

Butterflies! Streamers! Rainbows! OMG!

## And made sure her new name was prominently displayed in a few locations:

Zoe written on the board.

All photos by Amanda Jette, used with permission.

## They got her a beautiful lily with a "Welcome, Zoe!" card:

Welcome lily and card

All photos by Amanda Jette, used with permission.

## And this tearjerker quote was waiting for her on her desk:

A quote from Oscar Wilde.

All photos by Amanda Jette, used with permission.

## To top it all off, a 10 a.m. "meeting" she was scheduled to attend was actually a coming out party to welcome her back to work as her true self — complete with coffee and cupcakes and handshakes and hugs.

Coming out party with cupcakes.

All photos by Amanda Jette, used with permission.

(I stole one, and it was delicious.)

NO, I'M NOT CRYING. YOU'RE CRYING.

I did go to my wife's office that day. But instead of having my advocacy pants on, I had my hugging arms ready and some mascara in my purse in case I cried it off while thanking everyone.

## I wish we lived in a world where it was no big deal to come out.

Sadly, that is not the case for many LGBTQ people. We live in a world of bathroom bills and "religious freedom" laws that directly target the members of our community. We live in a world where my family gets threats for daring to speak out for trans rights. We live in a world where we can't travel to certain locations for fear of discrimination — or worse.

So when I see good stuff happening — especially when it takes place right on our doorstep — I'm going to share it far and wide. Let's normalize this stuff. Let's make celebrating diversity our everyday thing rather than hating or fearing it.

## Chill out, haters. Take a load off with us.

It's a lot of energy to judge people, you know. It's way more fun to celebrate and support them for who they are.

Besides, we have cupcakes.

Family

## It started with a simple, sincere question from a mother of an 11-year-old boy.

An anonymous mother posted a question to Quora, a website where people can ask questions and other people can answer them. This mother wrote:

How do I tell my wonderful 11 year old son, (in a way that won't tear him down), that the way he has started talking to me (disrespectfully) makes me not want to be around him (I've already told him the bad attitude is unacceptable)?

It's a familiar scenario for those of us who have raised kids into the teen years. Our sweet, snuggly little kids turn into moody middle schoolers seemingly overnight, and sometimes we're left reeling trying to figure out how to handle their sensitive-yet-insensitive selves.

Jo Eberhardt, a fantasy writer and mother of two from Australia, penned a reply that is so spot on that it keeps repeatedly popping up on social media. When you nail it, you nail it—and this mother nails it.

"Ah, puberty," she wrote, "It changes our sweet, wonderful little boys into sweet, eye-rolling, angsty, accidentally disrespectful, but still wonderful young proto-men." Yup.

Eberhardt then described a discussion she had with her 11 1/2 -year-old son when he started going through this stage—a conversation they had in the car, which is usually the best place to have potentially uncomfortable discussions with kids.

She told her son that she'd messed up in the way she'd talked to him about puberty, then explained exactly what was happening in his brain.

I've spent all this time talking to you about the way puberty changes your body," Eberhardt told her son, "and what to expect as you go through the changes, but I completely forgot to talk to you about what's going on in your brain right now. Puberty is the time when your brain grows and changes more than at any other time in your life — well, except for when you're a baby, perhaps. So I really let you down by not preparing you for that. I'm so sorry."

Her son accepted her apology, then asked why is his brain was changing.

“That's the amazing thing," she told him. "Did you know that your brain grew and developed so quickly when you were little that by the time you were about five or six, your brain was almost as big and powerful as an adult's brain?"

"But here's the thing," she continued, "Even though your brain was super powerful, the instructions were for a child's brain. And all the information about building an adult's brain was a bit… let's say fuzzy. So your brain did the best it could, but it didn't really know what kind of person you were going to be back then, or what shape brain you were going to need."

“Now we come to puberty," she went on. "See, puberty is amazing. Not only is your body being transformed from a child's body to an adult's body, your brain has to be completely rewritten from a child's brain to an adult's brain."

“That sounds hard," her son responded.

“Yeah, it is," Eberhardt replied. “That's why I wish I'd warned you first. See, it takes a lot of energy to completely rewrite a brain. That's one of the reasons you get tired quicker at the moment — and that, of course, manifests in you being crankier and less patient than normal."

Eberhardt paused, then added, “That must be really frustrating for you."

Her son looked over at her, wiping his eyes. “It is," he responded. Sometimes I just feel really angry and I don't know why."

### It's amazing what happens when we explain to kids the physiological reasons for what they're going through.

Eberhardt continued, “The other thing is that one of the first parts of your brain that gets super-sized to be like an adult is the amygdala. That's the part that controls your emotions and your survival instincts. You know how we've talked about fight/flight/freeze before, and how sometimes our brains think that being asked to speak in public is the same level of threat as being attacked by a sabre tooth tiger?"

Her son laughed. “Yes. So you have to tell your brain that there's no sabre tooth tiger to help you calm down."

“That's right," Eberhardt replied. "Well, that's what the amygdala looks after: sabre tooth tiger warnings and big emotions. So, the thing with puberty is that all of a sudden you've got an adult-sized amygdala hitting all your emotion buttons and your sabre-tooth tiger buttons. That must be really hard for you to manage."

Her son nodded and said, “Sometimes I don't know why I say the things I do. They just come out, and then I feel bad."

This is the moment where what a parent says can make or break a kid's spirit. But Eberhardt handled it with empathy and expertise.

“I know, Sweetheart," she said before explaining:

“See, the last part of your brain that gets rewritten is right at the front of your head. It's called the frontal cortex. And that's the part of your brain that's good at decision making and understanding consequences. So you've got this powerful adult amygdala hitting you with massive emotions, but you've still got a fuzzy child frontal cortex that can't make decisions or understand consequences as quickly as the amygdala wants you to. It pretty much sucks."

“So it's not my fault?" her son asked.

“No, it's puberty's fault your brain works the way it does," Eberhardt answered. "But that doesn't mean it's not your responsibility to recognise what's going on and change your actions. It's not easy, but it's not impossible, either. Your feelings are your feelings, and they're always okay. But you get to choose your actions. You get to choose what you do with your feelings. And, when you make a mistake, you get to choose to apologise for that mistake and make amends."

Eberhardt said she then paused for dramatic effect. “That's how you prove that you're becoming an adult."

It's also remarkable what happens when we empathize and communicate with our kids instead of simply chastising them.

Her son responded with a perfectly understandable and relatable, “Puberty sucks."

“Puberty absolutely sucks," Eberhardt responded. “I'm not in your head, but I can only imagine that it's a mess of confusion and chaos, and you don't know from one minute to the next how you feel about things."

Her son looked at her in surprise. “Yes! Exactly!"

“If it's confusing for you living inside there," Eberhardt continued, "imagine how confusing it is for me, when I only see your actions."

“That must be really confusing," her son agreed.

She nodded. “Do you know what that means?"

“What?"

“It means sometimes I'm going to make mistakes. Sometimes I'm going to get upset at things you do because I don't understand what's going on in your head. Sometimes I'm going to forget that you're halfway to being a man, and accidentally treat you like a child. Sometimes I'm going to expect more from you than you're able to give. This is my first time parenting someone through puberty, and I'm going to make mistakes. So can I ask you a favour?"

“What is it?"

“Can you just keep telling me what's going on in your head? The more we talk, the easier it will be for both of us to get through this puberty thing unscathed. Yeah?"

“Yeah," her son said.

### When we let our kids know that we're going through these various phases together, it's easier to work with them instead of against them.

Eberhardt said they "had a cuddle" before they got out of the car. She also said this conversation didn't magically make her son always speak respectfully or make her remember that he's not a little boy anymore. However, it did open up lines of communication and gave them a shared language to use.

For example, she wrote, "He knows what I mean when I say, 'Sweetheart, I'm not a sabre tooth tiger.'"

Ebehardt wrapped up her excellent answer by saying that she and her son are "muddling through this crazy puberty thing" together, and that she's "completely confident that he'll come out the other end a sweet, wonderful young man."

It's always so helpful to see examples of good parenting in action. Ms. Eberhardt's response is something all parents can tuck away for the appropriate time. It's also a great reminder that our tweens aren't trying to try us—they're just trying to get used to their new and improved brains.

This story originally appeared on 1.05.19