cover image Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy!: Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind

Yes, Your Teen Is Crazy!: Loving Your Kid Without Losing Your Mind

. Harbor Press, $14.95 (332pp) ISBN 978-0-936197-44-9

Bradley, a psychologist drawing on current brain research, argues that teenagers are basically nuts. While 95 percent of the brain develops in early childhood, the most advanced parts aren't completed until adolescence is nearly over. As a result, teens can appear unstable, dysfunctional and unpredictable, with temporarily impaired judgment and decision-making processes. In addition, Bradley argues, contemporary culture further challenges teens' thinking capabilities; the prevalence of sex, drugs and violence makes the teen's job of cognitive balancing even more precarious. The good news is that parents do make a difference, and Bradley clearly explains how parents can encourage and guide their kids through these tumultuous years. Stressing that teens are still ""children,"" Bradley encourages parents to respond like ""dispassionate cops,"" teaching and remaining calm even when teens behave outrageously. While Bradley's prose--which he admits might be shocking and offensive at times--may be initially off-putting to some, the book is compelling, lively and realistic. Using crisp, believable anecdotes that are alternately poignant and hysterically funny (while avoiding generic examples, jargon or psychobabble), Bradley homes in on real-life scenarios, showing parents, for instance, how to respond when their teen is ""raging,"" and how to set curfews and limits. Bradley draws a vivid picture of what the teen is going through, and gives parents the tools to tackle contemporary issues together. This book is an invaluable parachute to parents diving into the teen years.