The Teenage Brain Book Summary - The Teenage Brain Book explained in key points
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The Teenage Brain summary

Frances E. Jensen & Amy Ellis Nutt

A Neuroscientist's Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults

4 (100 ratings)
17 mins

Brief summary

The Teenage Brain by Frances E. Jensen delves into the brain science behind adolescent behavior. It offers valuable insights for parents and educators on how to better understand and support teenagers during this crucial developmental stage.

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    The Teenage Brain
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    The anatomy of adolescence

    Let’s start with the basics. What, exactly, is a teenager?

    In 1904, American psychologist Granville Stanley Hall penned a seminal work entitled Adolescence: Its Psychology and Its Relations to Physiology, Anthropology, Sociology, Sex, Crime, Religion and Education. Though he never used the term “teenager,” Hall delved deep into the phase between childhood and adulthood, recognizing it as a distinct developmental period. To Hall, adolescence was a unique interval – neither the reasoned stage of adulthood nor the unrestrained phase of childhood.

    Hall’s work sparked a fundamental question: What does being a teenager mean? The answer to this question carries profound implications for parents, educators, doctors, legal systems, and even teens themselves. Today, we understand that adolescence is characterized by distinct physical changes, primarily driven by puberty.

    A significant physiological feature of teenagehood is the production of new hormones, which can cause unpredictable behaviors. But this phenomenon is often misunderstood. After all, we don't blame “raging hormones” for a toddler’s outbursts. Many of the hormones that we first encounter during adolescence regulate the body’s responses to external stimuli, which is crucial for our survival in adulthood. But they frequently cause mood swings in teenagers too.

    Sex hormones, like estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone, shift dramatically during puberty. They don’t merely signify physical transitions, like a deepening voice in boys or the commencement of menstruation in girls. The limbic system – the brain’s emotional center – interacts extensively with these hormones. When this interaction meshes with a still-maturing adolescent brain, it can cause significant shifts in mood.

    Of course, solely attributing teenage mood swings to hormones oversimplifies adolescence. We must also factor in the brain’s development process, which differs from one young individual to the next. Let’s look at that next.

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    What is The Teenage Brain about?

    The Teenage Brain (2014) delves into the labyrinth of teenage neuroscience, offering a captivating exploration of why teens think and act the way they do. With a blend of science and real-world anecdotes, it illuminates the complexities and wonders of a brain in flux.

    The Teenage Brain Review

    The Teenage Brain (2015) dives deep into the inner workings of adolescent brains, shedding light on their development and the implications for parents, educators, and teenagers themselves. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • With clear explanations grounded in scientific research, it provides a comprehensive understanding of the teenage brain, its vulnerabilities, and strengths.
    • The book offers practical insights and strategies for parents and educators to navigate the challenges of adolescence and support teenagers' healthy brain development.
    • By sharing real-life stories and relatable examples, it brings the science to life, ensuring that the book is informative, engaging, and definitely not boring.

    Who should read The Teenage Brain?

    • Concerned, proactive parents of teenagers
    • Educators seeking insight into students
    • Advocates of teenage mental health

    About the Author

    Frances E. Jensen, MD, is the Chair of the Department of Neurology at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. With a rich history in researching brain development from neonatal stages to adulthood, she previously served as a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Director of Epilepsy Research at Boston Children's Hospital. Dr. Jensen is a sought-after speaker with a penchant for delivering lectures on the teen brain, on platforms like TEDMED.

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    The Teenage Brain FAQs 

    What is the main message of The Teenage Brain?

    The main message of The Teenage Brain is understanding the unique changes and challenges of the teenage brain.

    How long does it take to read The Teenage Brain?

    The reading time for The Teenage Brain varies per reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is The Teenage Brain a good book? Is it worth reading?

    The Teenage Brain is worth reading for its valuable insights into the teenage brain and its impact on behavior and decision-making.

    Who is the author of The Teenage Brain?

    The authors of The Teenage Brain are Frances E. Jensen and Amy Ellis Nutt.

    What to read after The Teenage Brain?

    If you're wondering what to read next after The Teenage Brain, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Emotional Lives of Teenagers by Lisa Damour
    • The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective Teenagers by Sean Covey
    • This Is So Awkward by Cara Natterson & Vanessa Kroll Bennett
    • What Your ADHD Child Wishes You Knew by Sharon Saline
    • Brainstorm by Daniel J. Siegel
    • Million Dollar Weekend by Noah Kagan
    • Raising Critical Thinkers by Julie Bogart
    • Untangled by Lisa Damour
    • The Strength Switch by Lea Waters
    • The 5 AM Club by Robin Sharma