Title: The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults
Author: Frances E. Jensen with Amy Ellis Nutt
No. of Pages: 384
Origins: Harper Books
Release Date: 6 January 2015
Bottom Line: Educational and useful – I’ll definitely be using some of this information when dealing with my own teen
“Drawing on her research knowledge and clinical experience, internationally respected neurologist—and mother of two boys—Frances E. Jensen, M.D., offers a revolutionary look at the science of the adolescent brain, providing remarkable insights that translate into practical advice for both parents and teenagers.
Driven by the assumption that brain growth was pretty much complete by the time a child began kindergarten, scientists believed for years that the adolescent brain was essentially an adult one—only with fewer miles on it. Over the last decade, however, the scientific community has learned that the teen years encompass vitally important stages of brain development.
Motivated by her personal experience of parenting two teenage boys, renowned neurologist Dr. Frances E. Jensen gathers what we’ve discovered about adolescent brain functioning, wiring, and capacity and, in this groundbreaking, accessible book, explains how these eye-opening findings not only dispel commonly held myths about the teenage years, but also yield practical suggestions that will help adults and teenagers negotiate the mysterious world of adolescent neurobiology.
Interweaving clear summary and analysis of research data with anecdotes drawn from her years as a parent, clinician, and public speaker, Dr. Jensen explores adolescent brain functioning and development in the contexts of learning and multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction, and decision-making.
Rigorous yet accessible, warm yet direct, The Teenage Brain sheds new light on the brains—and behaviors—of adolescents and young adults, and analyzes this knowledge to share specific ways in which parents, educators, and even the legal system can help them navigate their way more smoothly into adulthood.”
Thoughts: The best part about The Teenage Brain is the fact that it shows parents of teenagers that you are not alone. Everything you are experiencing – all of the frustrations, anger, confusion, and general disbelief – are part of parenting teenagers and something millions of other parents have also experienced throughout history. It is this more than anything that reassures and comforts readers with teenagers.
The second-best part of The Teenage Brain is the matter-of-fact method in which Dr. Jensen explains that teenagers are not insane or another species. There is a physiological reason for their infuriating behavior, and she goes into this in understandable detail. While the science does not make getting through the teenage years any easier for parents, at least having a reason for why they do the things they do is helpful.
Another excellent feature of The Teenage Brain is the division of the particular danger areas for teenagers. Dr. Jensen not only goes into details about the physiological and long-term effects of alcohol, marijuana and other drugs, and Internet addiction, and so forth, she does so with a plethora of science behind her statements. She does not just reiterate previous findings but uses the most recent studies to prove her point. They include some quite surprising findings about marijuana and Internet addictions that will raise eyebrows and cause parents to rethink their attitudes towards both.
The Teenage Brain is not meant to be a how-to guide for raising teenagers. Rather, Dr. Jensen’s intention is to educate parents on the still-developing brain of teenagers, so that they can understand why teens act the way they do and can focus their attention and efforts on how to best protect their teens from potential dangers. If anything, this empowers parents and provides them with the confidence necessary to survive these tumultuous years. Highly relatable, educational, and entertaining, The Teenage Brain is an excellent source of guidance for those parents with teenagers hoping to arm themselves with as much information as possible. After all, knowledge is power, and in a battle of wills against teenagers, every little bit helps.
I’m still living with my last teenager–he just turned 15–so it’s not too late for me to get some benefits from reading this. Thanks for writing about it!
This sounds good! I think I need to read this book, but I’m afraid it will make me feel guilty about enabling my son’s video gaming addiction. 🙂
I don’t know the gender of your teen, but I recently got so worried about my son’s odd behavior that I did some internet research on adolescent brain development. The short version is, not only are many functions essentially “off line” while significant neural rewiring is going on, but it is much worse for boys. I am trying to be kinder and more understanding. Given what I read, it’s amazing that he is functioning at all. 😛
I have a teenage son. The book did discuss some gender differences, and it did say that boys’ brains are slower to develop. Knowing what I do now, it has changed my approach to arguments and discipline. Whether it proves make a difference remains to be seen. If I can get him to finally start completing and submitting his homework, then I consider it a successful read!