The Primal Teen
What the New Discoveries about the Teenage Brain Tell Us about Our Kids
By Barbara Strauch
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780385721608, 256pp.)
Publication Date: September 14, 2004
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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For anyone who has ever puzzled over the mysterious and often infuriating behavior of a teenager comes a groundbreaking look at the teenage brain written by the medical science and health editor for The New York Times. While many members of the scientific community have long held that the growing pains of adolescence are primarily psychological, Barbara Strauch highlights the physical nature of the transformation, offering parents and educators a new perspective on erratic teenage behavior. Using plain language, Strauch draws upon the latest scientific discoveries to make the case that the changes the brain goes through during adolescence are as dramatic and crucial as those that take place in the first two years of life, and that teenagers are not entirely responsible for their sullen, rebellious, and moody ways. Featuring interviews with scientists, teenagers, parents, and teachers, The Primal Teen explores common challenges–why teens go from articulate and mature one day to morose and unreachable the next, why they engage in risky behavior–and offers practical strategies to help manage these formative and often difficult years.
Barbara Strauch is the medical science and health editor of the New York Times. She previously covered science and medical issues in Boston and Houston and directed Pulitzer Prize-winning news at Newsday. She is the mother of two teenagers and lives in Westchester County, New York.
“Provocative . . . . A contender for every parent’s reading list.” --Newsday
“Strauch [has] . . . a light, anecdotal style and a sense of humor. This is a very useful book. . . . These are conclusions parents will want to consider carefully” –The Washington Post Book World
“Strauch tackles loaded questions with all the scientific instruments at her disposal…The latest findings neurological, biochemical, and psychological, with an illuminating dose of anecdote thrown in.” –The New Scientist
“An important book. . . . Strauch writes masterfully, making scientific research understandable to lay readers.” –Library Journal (starred)
“Upends the longstanding belief that the teenage brain is largely complete, concluding instead that it is undergoing dramatic changes that can help explain what appears to be a gap between intelligence and judgment.” –The Hartford Courant
“Readers will be struck by the wonderfully candid comments by those interviewed as well as Strauch’s insightful narrative.” –Publishers Weekly
“This is such a smart book. . . . Barbara Strauch acts as a world-class guide to a mysterious place, taking us on a journey through the teenage brain and making sense of the scenery. In turns, funny, curious, explanatory, vivid, she does an absolutely compelling job of helping us to understand our children — and ourselves.” –Deborah Blum, author of Love at Goon Park: Harry Harlow and the Science of Affection
“Through interviews with parents, physicians, neuroscientists, and teens, Strauch has compiled impressive insights about the nature of being a teen or the parent of one.” –Science News
“Entertaining as well as informative.”–Teacher magazine
“An intriguing look at cutting-edge studies that now tell us the brain is not finished growing in a child’s early years but continues into the teens.” –The Plain Dealer
“Can knowing more about the teenager’s brain help us to understand the teenager’s behavior? Can an account of the neuroscience of adolescence be lively and readable? Barbara Strauch provides convincing evidence that the answer to both questions is yes.” –Judith R. Harris, author, The Nurture Assumption
“Strauch’s well-researched book explains studies that were impossible without such advanced technology as the MRI in clear, compassionate layperson’s language. . . . A parents’ must-read.” –Booklist