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Teenagers are perplexing, intriguing, and spirited creatures. In an attempt to discover the secrets to their thoughts and actions, parents have tried talking, cajoling, and begging them for answers. The result has usually been just more confusion. But new and exciting light is being shed on these mysterious young adults. What was once thought to be hormones run amuck can now be explained with modern medical technology. MRI and PET scans view the human brain while it is alive and functioning. To no one's surprise, the teenage brain is under heavy construction! These discoveries are helping parents understand the (until now) unexplainable teenager. Neuroscience can help parents adjust to the highs and lows of teenage behavior. Typically, this transformation is a prickly proposition for both teens and their families, but the trials and tribulations of adolescence give teenagers a second chance to develop and create the brain they will take into adulthood.
During the last decade, much research has been done in the field of neuroscience that helps identify and explain teenage behavior based on the anatomy and use of the "teen brain." Results from these studies have helped explain the basic need of teenagers for more sleep, and clarifies why teenagers are more successful in school when they have a later starting time. Feinstein, an associate professor of education, wades through the research to present this concise, easy-to-read parenting guide. Her basic premise is that the teenage brain is fundamentally different from an adult one; in fact, they use different parts of it, with teenagers functioning primarily on an emotional, less logical level. Further discussion involves parenting styles, tactics that work, and special challenges in the teenage life, such as peer relationships, education, and at-risk behaviors. Feinstein's approach is straightforward and readable, providing very clear examples of ways to handle situations and build relationships. Each chapter provides helpful "did you know," "fast facts," and a discussion of "what should parents do." Without a doubt, it is a useful tool for parents and anyone who works closely with teens, helping to put recent research into a workable perspective. The major topics of concern are addressed and touched upon, although parents looking for help in specific areas will need to consult other works that address that topic in more depth. Reviewer: Karen Jensen
April 2008 (Vol. 31, No. 1)
Posted January 19, 2011
No text was provided for this review.