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The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults Hardcover – January 6, 2015
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A New York Times Bestseller
Renowned neurologist Dr. Frances E. Jensen offers a revolutionary look at the brains of teenagers, dispelling myths and offering practical advice for teens, parents and teachers.
Dr. Frances E. Jensen is chair of the department of neurology in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. As a mother, teacher, researcher, clinician, and frequent lecturer to parents and teens, she is in a unique position to explain to readers the workings of the teen brain. In The Teenage Brain, Dr. Jensen brings to readers the astonishing findings that previously remained buried in academic journals.
The root myth scientists believed for years was 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. Samples of some of the most recent findings include:
- Teens are better learners than adults because their brain cells more readily "build" memories. But this heightened adaptability can be hijacked by addiction, and the adolescent brain can become addicted more strongly and for a longer duration than the adult brain.
- Studies show that girls' brains are a full two years more mature than boys' brains in the mid-teens, possibly explaining differences seen in the classroom and in social behavior.
- Adolescents may not be as resilient to the effects of drugs as we thought. Recent experimental and human studies show that the occasional use of marijuana, for instance, can cause lingering memory problems even days after smoking, and that long-term use of pot impacts later adulthood IQ.
- Multi-tasking causes divided attention and has been shown to reduce learning ability in the teenage brain. Multi-tasking also has some addictive qualities, which may result in habitual short attention in teenagers.
- Emotionally stressful situations may impact the adolescent more than it would affect the adult: stress can have permanent effects on mental health and can to lead to higher risk of developing neuropsychiatric disorders such as depression.
Dr. Jensen gathers what we’ve discovered about adolescent brain function, wiring, and capacity and explains the science in the contexts of everyday learning and multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction, and decision-making. In this groundbreaking yet accessible book, these findings also yield practical suggestions that will help adults and teenagers negotiate the mysterious world of adolescent development.
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“It’s charming to see good science translate directly into good parenting.” -- New York Times Book Review
“Frances Jensen, a neuroscientist and single mother of two boys. . . delved into the emerging science of the adolescent brain [and] came out with provocative new insights for parents, educators, public policymakers and teens themselves.” -- Washington Post
“Why’s your child so self-absorbed? Give him time, writes neurologist Jensen: Empathy comes with age.” -- Good Housekeeping
“My favorite quote from this marvelous book: ‘The truth of the matter is… adolescents are not an alien species, just a misunderstood one.’ Dr. Jensen uses her considerable expertise as a neuroscientist and a mother to explain the recent explosion of adolescent brain research and how this research can help us better understand and help young people. This book also highlights biologically inherent opportunities to enhance the health and well-being of young people during the second decade of life… opportunities we should not be missing.” -- Carol A. Ford, M.D. President, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine; Professor of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania; and Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.
“In The Teenage Brain, neurologist Frances Jensen has brilliantly translated academic science and clinical studies into easily understandable chapters to highlight the many changes in connections and plasticity of the brain. The book is a ‘must read’ for parents, teachers, school nurses, and many others who live with or interact with teens.” -- S. Jean Emans, MD. Chief, Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital; Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School
“Meticulously documented and reported, the studies offer proof that it’s not just parents who think their teenagers don’t quite have it all together.” -- Kirkus Reviews
“This well-written, accessible work surveys recent research into the adolescent brain, a subject relatively unexplored until just this past decade.… Speaking as one parent to another, she offers support and a way for parents to understand and relate to their own soon-to-be-adult offspring.” -- Publishers Weekly
“A captivating chapter, ‘The Digital Invasion of the Teenage Brain,’ calls attention to computer craving and adolescent addiction to the Internet.… [A] sensible, scientific, and stimulating book.” -- Booklist
“Recommended for readers who enjoyed Laurence Steinberg’s Age of Opportunity.” -- Library Journal (starred review)
From the Back Cover
For many years, scientists believed that the adolescent brain was essentially an adult one. Over the last decade, however, neurology and neuroscience have revealed that the teen years encompass vitally important stages of brain development.
Interweaving clear summary and analysis of research data with anecdotes drawn from her years as a clinician, researcher, and public speaker, renowned neurologist Frances E. Jensen, MD, explores adolescent brain functioning and development in the context of learning and multitasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction, and decision making.
The Teenage Brain explains how these eye-opening findings not only dispel commonly held myths about teens but also yield practical suggestions for adults and teenagers negotiating the mysterious and magical world of adolescent biology.
“It’s charming to see good science translate directly into good parenting.”—New York Times Book Review
“This well-written, accessible work...offers support and a way for parents to understand and relate to their own soon-to-be-adult offspring.”—Publishers Weekly
- Publisher : Harper (January 6, 2015)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0062067842
- ISBN-13 : 978-0062067845
- Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
- Dimensions : 6 x 1.21 x 9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #415,935 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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What would have been interesting is recommended strategies for handling teenagers in light of neurological insights about their brains, what they will respond well to, how we can support them at these times. But the author simply tells us
1) which region\lobe is responsible for which behaviour type
2) a study that proves this region is less developed during teenage years than as adults. Doh.
3) a horror story of a teen who did something crazy and died because of behaving that way and she got an email about it
4) how well her own children turned out ..........which is apparently down to her superior parenting....but without imparting any information as to what she did in any way differently to the average parent, other than being a neurologist which is clearly second to godliness.
Whilst the medical facts offered no enlightenment, I did at least assume they were accurate. Until I got to Page 235 where I discovered the author is prepared to pass off any old nonsense opinion as medical fact. Which of course cast doubt over everything else I'd (drearily) read from her so far. I quote.....
"I was reminded of how different it is in England, the country of my parents' birth, where all students must take a common entrance exam at eleven years of age: if they don't do well they can't go on to A levels, and this means they don't go to college. Education isn't a right so much as a privilege in the United Kingdom, and because not everyone gets to attend a university, education becomes one more caste system. It's truly a shame that in England and so many other countries, before a child even reaches puberty, he or she has already been tested, evaluated and judged to be either intellectually worthy or unworthy of higher education. If my sons at ages eleven or twelve or even fifteen or sixteen had been subject to this kind of life-determining tracking I'm not sure they would be the highly successful college-educated men they are today."
Suffice to say she has got all her British terminology muddled and common entrance is taken by less than 5% of British students. It was all the excuse I needed to put the book down.
If however, you do want an enlightening and well researched book on this topic, try Tony Little's "The Intelligent Person's Guide to Education" which is better researched, broader in what it covers, more practical, more credible and thankfully far less self satisfied than this book.
Although the author says in the introduction that she wrote the book for both parents/carers and teenagers it's undoubtedly written for the former. A version of this great book written specifically for teens and young adults would, I think,be great, and help them both understand and better deal with the challenges of growing up.