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This book provides an excellent overview of the science of adolescence from a pioneer in the field. The book covers the science and ties it in with practical applications. Parents, educators, and researchers will find much useful information in here. I particularly liked the last chapters that distils the knowledge and provide practical advice for these stakeholders. I also liked the case examples that bring the theory to life and illustrate that this research is sorely needed to transform many aspects of society to better serve adolescents. The book is a few years old now and some of the information is a bit outdated, which is no surprise given how rapidly this field is evolving. It would be great to see an updated edition. The book is also clearly focused on the U.S. As a reader from Western Europe, I would like more information about the situation in other parts of the world, too. The contrasts that the author draws between the US and Europe sometimes seem overly optimistic. It’s definitely not all sunshine and roses for adolescents in much of Europe. Overall, I think the book provides a great introduction to the science of adolescence that is both comprehensive, well supported, and very approachable.
This is an engrossing, humane introduction to the science of adolescence, bringing into 217 well-written pages a wealth of scientific research and common sense. As a journalist and consultant in the field of occupational risks, I approached Age of Opportunity hoping to gain insights into teenagers at work. Boy, did I learn a bundle.
I’m recommending it to people I know who hire teenagers, such as executives at major national retailers. Steinberg’s rarely refers explicitly to adolescents at work. But what he did for me was to help me understand the whole adolescent, not the two dimensional cartoon. A reader can then apply this whole profile to a particular use, whether it be to improve to work performance, run a community program or relate to a neighbor.
I wrote eight pages of notes. Steinberg refers to “fifteen years of important progress in the study of adolescent brain development.” Brain systems that govern self-regulation are especially malleable during adolescence.
He says that brain plasticity is fundamental to human functioning. Sex hormones at puberty make adolescents more attentive to the world. Bigger taste for novelty means more varied experiences and learning. Taste for novelty declines and so does plasticity in adulthood. "Risk taking is a natural , hard wired and evolutionarily understandable feature of adolescence. " A 16 year old perceives risk about as accurately as a 50 year old. Positive response to potential rewards peaks around age 16, while impulsiveness declines from childhood through adolescence into adulthood.
At about page 132, Steinberg begins to prescribe strategies to help kids mature, with the introduction of the term “scaffolding”--giving slightly more responsibility or autonomy to be used to but not suffer dire consequences if failure. The brain circuits that regulate self-control are engaged to make self-regulation easier and more automatic.
There are extended discussions about secondary education and the criminal justice system, with specific recommendations. He also talks to parents and, indeed, all adults who are involved with or concerned about adolescents.
I had to watch a YouTube video of a lecture given by this without, Laurence Steinberg, for my bachelors psychology degree, that was based on this book. The video was so good that I decided to buy the book aswell and I'm glad I did. The author works directly in the psychology field investigating the teenage years and is himself a father so he has a good stand for the information he talks about. This book highlights different aspects of adolescent development, explaining parenting styles with what you should and shouldn't do in order to provide you child with the best possible chances of having a smoother adolescent period. The book is easy too read, there isn't that much psychological terminology used and when it is it is explained, the authors personal experiences are used in order to help explain the topics discussed and it is very informative and helpful. I am not a parent but I would hugely recommend this book to people that want to be parents, understand the teenage years, are parents, and people that have close relationships to children/teens. I'm so glad I bought this book, it has been a really enjoyable and informative read.
Excellent and timely and up-to-date, this book is useful for counselors and psychologists and highly recommended by me for my graduate students. I also encourage professionals who work with adolescents, such as church pastors and teachers and YMCA youth leaders to read this book because it provides important background to the early-onset changes precipitated by puberty. For counselors and psychologists who graduated before the turn of the century and feel like they have been left behind by the 'decade of the brain', this is a very helpful resource.
This is especially helpful in the sections that address changes in the onset of puberty and the duration of adolescence. Conversations among parents, educators, mental health professionals, and youth pastors must take this into account. As a psychologist, I strongly believe that we must be proactively defending children as they transition into early adolescence. At the other end of adolescence, we must help people transition into young adulthood with a full understanding of the developing brain's timeline, taking into account the important mail-female differences. The author sets the stage for these discussions with excellent reasoning backed by well organized scientific data.
Parents of adolescents -- stand by. Adolescence is starting earlier and lasting longer . . . but, according to Dr. Steinberg, that is not such a bad thing, as the adolescent mind is particularly plastic -- uniquely capable of learning and developing -- and emotions and experiences are heightened during adolescences, so the things we experience in adolescence will never quite be as wonderful when we experience them as adults. This book presents an interesting mix of academic treatise / parenting. The author provides extensive data revealing just how immature the adolescent mind can be and discusses social policy vis a vis the United States' treatment of adolescents -- teenagers and drinking, driving, military service, voting, and criminal prosecution. He encourages parents to help delay onset of puberty by ensuring our children eat well, avoid obesity, avoid overexposure to light -- and then protect our children through adolescence through authoritative parenting -- a combination of warmth, firmness, and support.
Although very repetitive at times, it has valuable and essential information. The underlying premise is that adolescence is a time of great brain development that presents many opportunities for growth, as well as many risks. Other authors describe adolescence as something unfortunate we need to experience. This author explains their behavior from a brain development perspective without assuming they are all calculative and conniving. The book doesn't sugarcoat the risks, but does enlighten the reader about the amazing changes that are taking place, and helps parents understand how to best accompany the process.
I enjoyed learning about the neuroscience surrounding the adolescent brain. I like the variety of topics within the book such as tips for parents and the criminal justice lens. It was an easy read with advice that is simple to follow.
What a refreshing perspective on adolescence! The advances in neuroscience as explained by Dr Steinberg, have given us a new understanding of how our brains develop, which is fascinating in itself, but the development of the brain during adolescence in particular, explains why it is such a perilous but exciting time in our lives - why it is truly the age of opportunity. As someone on the brink of teen parenting this book was illuminating, invigorating - adolescents are on full throttle and brakes dont work - and liberating: like being handed a compass when you're lost. Highly recommended.
I looked at many books for an Adolescent Psychology course I taught and this was an excellent accessible and affordable choice which my students actually read! Covering both the physical and psychological aspects of adolescent brain development and reorganization I assigned various chapters throughout the semester to complement other materials.
Also I would highly recommend this book to anyone parenting, counseling or otherwise interacting with adolescents - rave reviews from two parents to whom I gave copies.
Parents with adolescence need to read this and everyone who works with this age group. We do look at this age group as hard to deal with and parent are trying to survive this stage of development. Laurence Steinberg shines a light on this stage of development to reframe all that we know and what we think we know....we have been missing out on a opportunity of great importance to children who are going through this stage and the possibilities that could be if we would just gain some understanding. Great information, much needed and necessary for the next generation and generations to come!