The Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence by Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D., immediately caught my eye because I am now the parent of teenager, with two more soon to join that demographic. And as the onset of puberty looms, I am looking for a way to understand what is going on in the minds of my children.
Steinberg's book is well researched with scientific information about the way the brain works and develops, yet written in terms I could understand. He grabbed my attention from the very beginning by noting that our society is confused about the teen years: we try teens as adults for crimes, yet don't allow them to purchase alcohol until they are twenty-one, decisions that are at odds with each other. Adolescence is no longer a process that lasts only a few years, but has stretched into a portion of life that can last for up to fifteen years, from the age of ten until twenty-five (from the onset of puberty until marriage). My own teenage years are still etched in my memory, something that is true for many people. Steinberg is easily able to explain the reason for this.
There is a wealth of information in this book, which makes me regret that I didn't jot down a few notes. However, in the book's conclusion, there are recommendations for parents, educators, employers and policy makers when it comes to adolescence.
Parents and educators will find this book explains a great deal about the way the brains of adolescents work. And, although it might not make the teen years any easier, it gives important insight into what is occurring in the minds and bodies of teens.