The Primal Teen: What the New Discoveries about the Teenage Brain Tell Us about Our Kids by Barbara Strauch, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
The Primal Teen: What the New Discoveries About the Teenage Brain Tell Us about Our Kids

The Primal Teen: What the New Discoveries About the Teenage Brain Tell Us about Our Kids

by Barbara Strauch
     
 

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The first book to provide a scientific explanation of the mysterious, infuriating, and downright weird behavior of teenagers.
A mother paces the living room waiting for her sixteen-year-old son to come home hours past his curfew. When he finally saunters in, he answers every question with a blank stare, dashes to his room, and slams the door. The mother,

Overview

The first book to provide a scientific explanation of the mysterious, infuriating, and downright weird behavior of teenagers.
A mother paces the living room waiting for her sixteen-year-old son to come home hours past his curfew. When he finally saunters in, he answers every question with a blank stare, dashes to his room, and slams the door. The mother, stunned and angry, thinks “It’s just hormones, right?”
Wrong. While raging hormones and an inclination toward rebellion are major players in the teenage drama, an area north of the gonads is directing the show: the brain. In The Primal Teen, Barbara Strauch examines the cutting-edge scientific discoveries that are providing vital new information about what makes teens tick.
Until recently, scientists believed the brain had largely finished its development by the teenage years. But breakthrough research by leading neuroscientists now shows that the adolescent brain is an intensely busy work-in-progress, transforming some sections, radically pruning the synaptic connections, while strengthening those connections that remain. This immense “rewiring” project provides new clues to explain the swift mood changes, out-of-character responses and reactions, and even the acts of sheer stupidity that have puzzled parents throughout history. Strauch not only sheds new light on these breakthrough findings, she shows how understanding the basis of teenage behavior can lead the way to a saner and smoother relationship between parents and their kids. Through interviews with scientists, teenagers, parents, and teachers, she explores common challenges — why teens can be so articulate andmature one day and so morose the next, why they engage in risky behavior, and why some kids struggle while others bloom — and offers practical strategies to help parents and kids manage these often difficult years.

The Primal Teen
is a major step forward in deciphering and responding to the moody metamorphosis all teenagers go through.

Author Biography: BARBARA STRAUCH is the medical science and health editor of the New York Times. She previously covered science and medical issues in Boston and Houston and directed Pulitzer Prize-winning news at Newsday. She is the mother of two teenagers and lives in Westchester County, New York.

Editorial Reviews

The Washington Post
Strauch tries to make this empirical tour of the teen brain as painless as possible with a light, anecdotal style and a sense of humor (which anyone with a teenager must develop). This is a very useful book, and while its conclusions cannot be anything more than tentative about a rapidly developing new field of scientific inquiry, they are conclusions parents will want to consider carefully. — Paula S. Fass
Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
Strauch, medical science and health editor at the New York Times, sets out to offer reassurance to parents baffled by their kids' seemingly irrational and erratic behavior. She discusses the latest research, including brain scans that show changes in the brain's structure and function that could explain the crazy behavior exhibited by teens. In addition to reviewing various research projects around the country, Strauch also includes discussions with both parents and teenagers. Parents lament their inability to understand why a straight-A student suddenly loses interest in school or starts behaving miserably. The teens are surprisingly open about their often ill-advised behavior, but seem unable to offer reasons for such actions. One possible explanation, still debated by scientists, is whether adolescence is a critical brain period, that is, an important period of development. Particularly interesting is the chapter Crazy by Design, in which Strauch offers evidence of the cognitive and emotional development of teens. Just as there are growth spurts for babies and young children, there are developmental milestones for teens roughly ages 11, 15 and 19. For example, While a younger teen might see a parent as a hypocrite if he holds two opposing views, an older teenager would begin to understand how two things can be true at the same time, and weigh the evidence for each. While the book does not offer how-to guidance, readers will be struck by the wonderfully candid comments by those interviewed as well as Strauch's insightful narrative. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal - Library Journal
In this important book, Strauch, the medical science and health editor for the New York Times, debunks the conventional wisdom that human brains significantly develop between birth and age three, then level off. According to extensive new research clearly analyzed here, the adolescent brain undergoes profound changes, making the teen years as critical a time of development as the first three years. Strauch cites nationwide findings on the prefrontal cortex, the cerebellum, myelination, and more to show that the teen brain is "wildly exuberant and perceptive." Also rethought is the idea that the brain only has two sections devoted to language and speech, as there seem to be more than 100 other areas related to those abilities. Strauch writes masterfully, making scientific research understandable to lay readers. And, oh yes, she doesn't forget new discoveries about raging hormones and the neuroscience of risk: thrill seeking is "not only normal but necessary." An excellent choice for public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/1/02.]-Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385503396
Publisher:
The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/15/2003
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.48(h) x 0.93(d)

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