When pediatric neurologist Jensen’s sons began exhibiting typical teenage behavior—impulsivity, risk-taking, slipping grades, and mood swings—her professional training prompted her to wonder not only “What were they thinking?” but “How were they thinking?” This well-written, accessible work surveys recent research into the adolescent brain, a subject relatively unexplored until just this past decade. The result illuminates the specific ways in which the teen brain differs from that of a child or an adult. As Jensen explains, while hormones cause some changes, teen behavior—even through the college years—is most influenced by the connections between brain areas still under development, including new brain circuitry, chemicals, and neurotransmitters. This period of growth increases both adolescents’ capacity for remarkable accomplishments and their vulnerability to stress, drugs, sleep deficit, and environmental changes. Chapter by chapter, Jensen covers essential topics: how teens learn; why they need more sleep; coping with stress; mental illness; the “digital invasion of the teenage brain”; and the biological differences between girls’ and boys’ brains. 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. Agent: Wendy Strothman. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/17/2014 Release date: 01/01/2015 Genre: Nonfiction
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