Book Review: ‘The Teenage Brain’ - Clongowes Wood College

Posted: 21st January 2015

Clongowes Wood College SJ
The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults by Dr. Frances E. Jensen
“ Scientists believed for years that the adolescent brain was essentially an adult one- only with fewer miles on it……Motivated by her experience of parenting two teenagers, Dr. Jensen gathers together recent discoveries about adult brain functioning, wiring and capacity, and explains how these eye-opening findings not only dispel myths about the teenage years but also yield practical suggestions in the context of learning and multi-tasking, stress and memory, sleep, addiction and decision-making.”
That’s quite an accurate picture of the book that I am currently reading. Dr. Jensen writes as a mother in an easy, familiar style when addressing some of the behaviours that unsettled her as a parent. Then she explains the science, much of it recently acquired from brain imaging. There is much more happening than just the explosion of hormones. If you were wondering why our students seem to become more ‘stupid’, seem to do inane things and show poor judgement during 2nd. Yr/3rd. Yr., there are interesting insights in this book.
I have yet to read the chapters on alcohol, tobacco, soft drugs, hard drugs and stress, but the chapter on sleep is fascinating and has significant implications for us here.
If you are the parent of teenagers, or will be in the near future, you should definitely read this book. It is also of tremendous value to those of us who deal with teenagers in our working lives. Some of our long-held beliefs about intelligence and adolescent behaviour are just plain wrong.
The book will be back in the Library before the end of January.


Martin Wallace
Categories: Library
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