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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.
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 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!
Essential book on the latest science on adolescent brain plasticity, proving that old notions of personality formation in early childhood are terribly wrong. Every parent, guardian or professional working with adolescents (ages 10-25) should read this book. This is the age of opportunity and the age of potential disaster for lifelong personality and psychology. The author has some hard-won and important prescriptions from parenting to public policy on how to approach adolescent development for better future adults and a better future society.
A doctor who works with young adults recommended this book to me and I am grateful to have found it. This is massively helpful when raising adolescents-not to mention understanding teenagers in general. It also helps me understand my own teenage years-I've recommended this to everyone-schools should have teachers read it and pass it out to parents.
An informative and rich overview of the most current brain research into the physical changes of the adolescent brain and possible resulting behaviors. Dr. Steinberg's experience in this field is evident by the powerful and useful real-life examples he provides. While there is definitely a need to promote and understand the development of the 0-5 year-old human brain, research shows that an even more fertile ground for long-term and successful behavior development is likely available in the adolescent (13 - 24) brain.