The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things They Do

Lynn Ponton, Author HarperCollins Publishers $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-465-07075-6
Adolescents, pains though they are, still need someone to stand up for them, and Ponton, a psychiatrist who specializes in treating troubled teens, may be the best news that teenagers have had lately. In her first solo book, she argues that what is commonly accepted as ""acting out"" should be understood as risk-taking, and that it isn't all bad. Admitting that adolescent risks range from disastrous to functional, she writes ""risk-taking is the major tool that adolescents use to shape their identities."" The book challenges cultural assumptions about adolescent development dating from early this century. Surprisingly, in tracing growth of the doctrine that adolescence is automatically full of turmoil, she doesn't comment on the fact that before the 20th century this developmental period simply didn't exist, which would have strengthened her point that teen troubles aren't predetermined and unavoidable. The heart of her book is a series of case studies culled from 15 years of work with teens. She has taken on the hard cases: anorexics, alcoholics, ""cutters"" who practice self-mutilation, and sexual risk-takers among them. The cases, even well disguised for privacy and full of created conversations, show the author's compassion as a therapist and her passion as a writer. In explaining why teens take risks, she manages to shift the approach to adolescent development from destructive to constructive. Teens aren't the only winners in this presentation. Parents who anguish over the plight of present-day adolescents will gain hope that they aren't raising a different species after all. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/01/1997
Release date: 09/01/1997
Show other formats
FORMATS
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-465-07076-3
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.