teenage brainI read  The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults last spring and it was very enlightening.  Its written by a neuroscientist and mother.  While some of the stresses that teenagers go through in high school are reduced somewhat by homeschooling – no need to wake up at the crack of dawn, reduced peer pressure and reduced homework load (at least in some homes), this book goes beyond the usual teenage behavior and talks about the chemical changes going on in their brain and how it affects the way the brain works.  There’s a been a lot of articles on the web lately stating that schools are starting too early and its bad for kids’ health, well, Dr Jensen explains exactly why that is in this book.   She also explains why teens are more likely to try drugs and alcohol and how it affects their brains even more than an adult, so the consequences are even worse.   I actually had my teen read the chapters on smoking, alcohol and drugs and he found them quite interesting.

One of the main points that really got my attention was that decision making processes can be affected by the changing chemistry in their brains.  She gave a few examples of teens/college students who suddenly found themselves in emergency situations (for example, a friend passes out from over drinking) and basically froze, unsure of what to do.  Dr. Jensen recommends telling your kids stories about these kinds of situations, over and over again so perhaps if/when the situation arises, they will remember what to do.

Great read for parents and teens.