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The teenage brain : a neuroscientist's survival guide to raising adolescents and young adults / Frances E. Jensen with Amy Ellis Nutt.

By: Jensen, Frances E [author.].
Contributor(s): Nutt, Amy Ellis [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London, England : HarperThorsons, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2015Description: xvii, 358 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.Content type: text | still image Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780007448319 (paperback); 0007448317 (paperback).Other title: Neuroscientist's survival guide to raising adolescents and young adults.Subject(s): Paediatric neuropsychology | Developmental psychobiology | Adolescent psychology | Developmental neurobiology | Brain -- Growth | Parent and teenager | Developmental psychologyDDC classification: 305.235 | 612.8 | 155.5 Summary: Why is it that the behaviour of teenagers can be so odd? As they grow older, young children steadily improve their sense of how to behave, and then all of a sudden, they can become totally uncommunicative, wildly emotional and completely unpredictable. We used to think that erratic teenage behaviour was due to a sudden surge in hormones, but modern neuroscience shows us that this isn't true. The Teenage Brain is a journey through the new discoveries that show us exactly what happens to the brain in this crucial period, how it dictates teenagers' behaviour, and how the experiences of our teenage years are what shape our attitudes, and often our happiness in later life. Many of our ideas about our growing brains are completely re-written. They don't stop developing at the end of our teens - they keep adapting until we are in our mid-twenties. They are wired back to front, with the most important parts, the parts that we associate with good judgement, concentration, organization and emotional and behavioural control being connected last of all. The Teenage brain is a powerful animal primed for learning, but this creates problems. Addiction is a form of learning, and Frances Jensen, Professor of Pediatric Neurology at the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School reveals exactly what lies behind all aspects of teenage behaviour and its lasting effects - from drugs, lack of sleep and smoking to multi-tasking and stress. As a mother and a scientist, Professor Jensen offers both exciting science and practical suggestions for how parents, teens and schools can help teenagers weather the storms of adolescence, and get the most out of their incredible brains.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

Why is it that the behaviour of teenagers can be so odd? As they grow older, young children steadily improve their sense of how to behave, and then all of a sudden, they can become totally uncommunicative, wildly emotional and completely unpredictable.

We used to think that erratic teenage behaviour was due to a sudden surge in hormones, but modern neuroscience shows us that this isn't true. The Teenage Brain is a journey through the new discoveries that show us exactly what happens to the brain in this crucial period, how it dictates teenagers' behaviour, and how the experiences of our teenage years are what shape our attitudes, and often our happiness in later life.

Many of our ideas about our growing brains are completely re-written. They don't stop developing at the end of our teens - they keep adapting until we are in our mid-twenties. They are wired back to front, with the most important parts, the parts that we associate with good judgement, concentration, organization and emotional and behavioural control being connected last of all.

The Teenage brain is a powerful animal primed for learning, but this creates problems. Addiction is a form of learning, and Frances Jensen, Professor of Pediatric Neurology at the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School reveals exactly what lies behind all aspects of teenage behaviour and its lasting effects - from drugs, lack of sleep and smoking to multi-tasking and stress.

As a mother and a scientist, Professor Jensen offers both exciting science and practical suggestions for how parents, teens and schools can help teenagers weather the storms of adolescence, and get the most out of their incredible brains.

Includes bibliographical references and index.

Why is it that the behaviour of teenagers can be so odd? As they grow older, young children steadily improve their sense of how to behave, and then all of a sudden, they can become totally uncommunicative, wildly emotional and completely unpredictable. We used to think that erratic teenage behaviour was due to a sudden surge in hormones, but modern neuroscience shows us that this isn't true. The Teenage Brain is a journey through the new discoveries that show us exactly what happens to the brain in this crucial period, how it dictates teenagers' behaviour, and how the experiences of our teenage years are what shape our attitudes, and often our happiness in later life. Many of our ideas about our growing brains are completely re-written. They don't stop developing at the end of our teens - they keep adapting until we are in our mid-twenties. They are wired back to front, with the most important parts, the parts that we associate with good judgement, concentration, organization and emotional and behavioural control being connected last of all. The Teenage brain is a powerful animal primed for learning, but this creates problems. Addiction is a form of learning, and Frances Jensen, Professor of Pediatric Neurology at the teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School reveals exactly what lies behind all aspects of teenage behaviour and its lasting effects - from drugs, lack of sleep and smoking to multi-tasking and stress. As a mother and a scientist, Professor Jensen offers both exciting science and practical suggestions for how parents, teens and schools can help teenagers weather the storms of adolescence, and get the most out of their incredible brains.

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Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Starred Review. They can't help it-teens are in many ways unable to control impulses, make wise decisions, and understand what they do, explains Jensen (neurology; chair, neurology dept., Univ. of Pennsylvania). It's not willful; it's brain chemistry. By understanding relevant brain science, however, parents can find plans of action to help their kids through all the nuances of life in this fraught period. Jensen, with science writer Nutt, explains how teen brains are still developing and changing; nonscientific readers will find a lot of information here about neurology. Yet Jensen is also a parent and imparts deep concerns about the pressures of raising her two sons. Today's parents should not only "tolerate" their kids' behavior-they can use their teens' emotional outbursts and errors of judgment to help them learn, choose, and "wise up," she explains. Jensen supports later-morning starts for school days (teens need morning sleep) and describes exactly what tobacco, alcohol, pot, and hard drugs do to the brain. While parents should understand and use social media, they must set limits for computer and smartphone use. VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoyed Laurence Steinberg's Age of Opportunity, this title applies new science to the frustrating dilemma of how to live with teenage kids.-Linda Beck, Indian Valley P.L., Telford, PA (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Review

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Booklist Review

Neurologist Jensen, a divorced mother of two teenage boys, and science writer Nutt liken the brain of a teen to a brand-new Ferrari: It's primed and pumped, but it hasn't been road tested yet. In other words, it's all revved up but doesn't quite know where to go. Neural plasticity, hormones, and wiring help make the maturing brain of teenagers more powerful and more vulnerable than at virtually any other time in their lives. Some of those vulnerabilities include a predilection for risk taking, a susceptibility to addiction, and an increased chance of mental illness, eating disorders, and suicide. A captivating chapter, The Digital Invasion of the Teenage Brain, calls attention to computer craving and adolescent addiction to the Internet. The authors of this sensible, scientific, and stimulating book advise parents of teens to set limits, stay involved, be cognizant of the emotional needs of their children, and remain positive. Talking to teenagers in a calm, reasoned manner goes a long way. Most importantly, let your teenager know you are there whenever he or she needs advice and help.--Miksanek, Tony Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

This book competently covers the details of adolescent brain development but offers few surprises and scant advice.It's not really news that the brain continues to develop well into the early 20s. Scholars and journalists have long written about the "unfinished" nature of the teen brain. Here to clarify exactly what that means is Jensen (Neurology/Univ. of Pennsylvania), the mother of two boys who have survived those fraught years between childhood and full adulthood. While the author shares a few stories about her sons' teen years, this is not a book of anecdotes. Instead, Jensen, with the assistance of Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post writer Nutt (Shadows Bright as Glass: The Remarkable Story of One Man's Journey from Brain Trauma to Artistic Triumph, 2011), lays out the way human brains develop: "back to front" with the impulse-controlling, executive-functioning circuits of the frontal lobe coming in last. If you ever doubted that this was true, the author's collection of study results will convince you. Meticulously documented and reported, the studies offer proof that it's not just parents who think their teenagers don't quite have it all together. Jensen ably explains neurons, synapses, neurotransmitters and so on, offering a vocabulary that provides scaffolding for understanding how the brain grows. The prevalence of medical terminology may engage some readers, but it could easily put off parents who pick up the book based on its subtitle. Individual chapters expound on the biology behind the many perils of the teen yearswhy it's such a prime time for getting hooked on drugs and what those drugs do to a developing brain, for instancebut parents looking for guidance on avoiding these pitfalls will be disappointed. Parents and teens may balk at the heavily risk-oriented perspective Jensen takes throughout, which gives regrettably short shrift to the more positive flip side of the teen scene: extraordinary creativity, energy and learning capacity. More at home in college classrooms than on parents' nightstands. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.