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Publisher's 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
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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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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By ganga on 06-05-17

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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Jonny Matthew on 02-12-16

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...


- 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).


- 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.


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!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By Beata on 01-31-15

Love every minute of this book.

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

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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