Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence

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  • an excellent resource for finally make sense of and finding serenity in the neurological, biological, and cognitive reasons for why teens are teens
  • several breakthrough chapters present eye-opening scientific revelations that will change how you parent starting today
  • includes sections on how parents and educators can best apply these new research-based findings to their rambunctious and distracted adolescents

We all knew there were similarities between the brains of teenagers and toddlers — how else could we explain the tantrums that both throw? — but to scientifically confirm this link, as Age of Opportunity does, is a major breakthrough. As he reveals that the plasticity of the adolescent mind rivals that of youngsters ages 0-3, author Laurence Steinberg argues for a revised approach toward parenting our teens, one that keeps in mind their brains’ penchant for reward over risk and inability to truly mature into self-control until age about age fifteen. Age of Opportunity could be subtitled Sympathy for the Sixteen Year Old, in how Steinberg interweaves compassion with cogent scientific research to elucidate our grasp of why teens are so teen-ish.

Age of Opportunity brims insightful passages that serve as fodder to reconstruct parents’ relationships with their teens through greater cognitive understanding, particularly in such groundbreaking chapters as “The Plastic Brain” and “The Longest Decade,” which explores why adolescence is beginning and ending longer than it ever has in history.

Parents, absorbed and hooked by these more science-y sections, will profit when reaching “How Parents Can Make A Difference” and “Reimagining High School,” in which Steinberg sells ingenious teen-rearing strategies convincingly enough for them to feel like common sense. Age of Opportunity asks to be read in any setting looking to replace teenage angst with understanding.