The Teenage Brain is a very comprehensive discussion of why teens act as they do – the changes in behavior, personality, and actions. The authors never talk down to the reader and provide a lot of eye opening insights into the life of a teen. Although the book is intended for parents to help them understand their children, I wouldn’t consider it a self help book. Rather, the information is meant to elucidate and explain rather than give rearing tips and instructions. As the author notes, we can guide teens but we can’t live their life for them; as such, most of the advice distills to: be patient and also talk with them honestly and intelligently.
The book is a mix of science (hormones, brains reorganizing themselves, common myths about teenage brains, newest findings, what we don’t know, etc.) and teen specific behaviors/actions (alcohol, risky behaviors, drugs, sleep, concussions/sports injuries, mental illnesses, homework and routines, etc.). I found nearly every subject to be fascinating, even if it didn’t relate to my child (e.g., the chapter on crime and punishment and sports injuries aren’t really relevant to my preteen girl). Because the information is so well presented and easy to digest, skipping isn’t really needed. The author, a mother herself who went through the teen years not unbloodied, really loves the science behind neurobiology and it shows here. Her enthusiasm for the subject is contrasted by the exasperation of the acts her own children committed during their teen years.
There is much to explore here for parents. Understanding allows parents to slow down and not react off the hip, allowing for better communication with their children. At heart, despite all we do and do not know about the brain, raising the best humans possible and getting them through the teen years always comes down to communication and understanding. There is no magic cure that will return the crazy teen to pre-adolescent sweetness and the period is a storm that has to be weathered. This book arms parents to make the most of the teen years.
Reviewed from an advanced review copy provided by the publisher.