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Editor reviews

Teenage brains are deconstructed and investigated in the essential audiobook guide for teens and parents The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Teenagers and Young Adults, written by Neuroscientist and mother Professor Frances Jensen with the help of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Amy Ellis Nutt. A commendable narration is given by Nutt and Laurence Bouvard, who take listeners through the teenage brain on a scientific level, highlighting just how unique and incredible the changes are during this period of life. Teenagers and parents are now able to get a far better understanding of why young people behave and think the way they do. Available now from Audible.

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.

©2015 Frances E. Jensen (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic reviews

"Dr. Jensen uses her considerable expertise as a neuroscientist and a mother to explain the recent explosion of adolescent brain research and how this research can help us better understand and help young people. This book also highlights biologically inherent opportunities to enhance the health and well-being of young people during the second decade of life… opportunities we should not be missing." (Carol A. Ford, M.D. President, Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine; Professor of Paediatrics, University of Pennsylvania; and Chief, Division of Adolescent Medicine at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia)
"Jensen has brilliantly translated academic science and clinical studies into easily understandable chapters to highlight the many changes in connections and plasticity of the brain. The book is a ‘must read' for parents, teachers, school nurses, and many others who live with or interact with teens. Understanding the susceptibility of the brain to drugs and stressors is not presented as an excuse but rather as a new framework for readers to approach parenting or teaching with more science and more evidence-based, practical advice." (S. Jean Emans, MD. Chief, Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital; Professor of Paediatrics, Harvard Medical School)

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A must-read book for brain info junlies...

Would you listen to The Teenage Brain again? Why?

A must-read book for brain info junkies. Here's why...

STRENGTHS...

- This is a very interesting book for people with a fascination about the detailed working of the teenage brain. Packed full of really interesting neurological stuff!

- Different areas of the brain are covered in some detail but without the inaccessible medical language that makes some books unreadable to the lay person. Clear and well written.

- There is a logical order to the book which reads like a natural progression of chapters, each leading to the next.

- There are chapters specific to certain issues that teenagers face - like use of alcohol and drug use - these are enlightening (I'll go back and look at these again in more depth as the need arises)!

- A detailed analysis of the interface between brain science and the criminal justice system is given, raising ethical questions for sentencing (U.S. context).

WEAKNESSES...

- Despite the thorough nature of the content from a scientific and medical point of view, there is precious little by way of practical help. It's less of a survival guide (see the subtitle) and more of a reference/information guide to the workings of the brain itself.

- The book is written by an American so this needs to be born in mind by UK and other readers as the illustrations, historical references and criminal justice system referred to are all U.S. focussed.

- Many of the examples are of high-flying young people - phrases like "star student," "Grade "A" pupil" and "Harvard student" abound and dilute the impact of otherwise useful illustrations.

- There are woeful inaccuracies about the U.K. educational system. The most glaring of which is the belief that the 11-plus exam still determines the secondary education of U.K. children.

- No treatment of the impact of developmental trauma or poor attachment on development.

SUMMARY...

Not for those looking for practical "how to" solutions. Technical and accessible. A definite for those working with troubled young people - or those parents who want more info on the inner-workings of the teen/s they love!

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Love every minute of this book.

Excellent source of information for all parents of teenagers. I'm glad I read it.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Interesting facts and food for thought

I liked the first few chapters where the science of the teenage brain is discussed and how it manifests in behaviors.
Much of the book has anecdotes and " a friend of mine had a son who..." type stories which were interesting but felt like gossip. At one point an HBO show is cited as if its existence is scientific commentary itself. The British education system is also incorrectly described.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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very informative for parents and educators

I enjoy reading this book and feel like I have learnt a few things. I would recommend it

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Not quite what I hoped

Struggled a little to get through it at times.

I felt that there were too many stories about kids that took too many drugs and something bad happened. Perfectly valid stories but I want to know more about the science of their brain development and less stories.

There was some really interesting science in it too but often I found myself wondering if it was necessarily valid without more of an explanation. She'd point out a correlation between to things and then state that one clearly caused the other but I could think of a number of other factors that had to be considered at the same time, which weren't mentioned.

At times the book even seems to contradict itself - stating that teens are not capable of making good decisions in one place and then saying how they can learn everything and are extremely capable in the next place.

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Very informative, a lot of science!

Really good book, there is a lot of research backing up,the author's suggestions and explanations of the teenager brain development.

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Fascinating, accessible & very important insights

An incredibly useful and accessible insight in to leading-edge research in to the development of the teenage brain. Highly recommended.

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very useful resource

a little preachy and sentimental at times, but a great deal of useful information on the development of the teen brain.

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dry, but useful

This is a very useful book, but not really in a popular style. There are good examples and practices, but too much scientific text and references to scientists and publications. This topic could use a version without deep scientific references. They might be ok in a paper book, but your eyes can't jump over them in an audio book.

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Super Information

I thought that I knew a lot about teenagers - this audiobook confirmed that many of my ideas were incorrect. Excellent book, I'll recommend it to all my friends with teenagers

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  • ganga
  • 05-06-17

Don't waste your money

Not a book for simple people , I got nothing out of this book even though I tried really hard to understand.