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A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen
David Walsh, Ph.D. With Nat Bennett

Selected by editors as one of the 50 best of 2004!

Even smart kids do stupid things. It's a simple fact of life. No one makes it through the teenage years unscathed-not the teens and not their parents. But now there's expert help for both generations in this groundbreaking new guide for surviving the drama of adolescence.

In WHY Do They Act That Way? National Institute on Media and the Family's president and award-winning psychologist Dr. David Walsh explains exactly what happens to the human brain on the path from childhood into adolescence and adulthood. Revealing the latest scientific findings in easy-to-understand terms, Dr. Walsh shows why moodiness, quickness to anger and to take risks, miscommunication, fatigue, territoriality, and other familiar teenage behavior problems are so common-all are linked to physical changes and growth in the adolescent brain.

But WHY Do They Act That Way goes way beyond the well-known issues of hormones and peer pressure. It's the first book to explain the changes in teens' brains and show parents how to use this information to understand, communicate with, and stay connected to their kids. Dr. Walsh actually likes teenagers and has worked with them and their families for more than thirty years as a parent, teacher, psychologist, coach, and trusted expert. He makes sense of their many mystifying, annoying, and even outright dangerous behavioral difficulties and provides realistic solutions for dealing with everyday as well as severe challenges. Dr. Walsh's techniques include, among others: sample dialogs that help teens and parents talk civilly and constructively with each other, behavioral contracts, and "Parental Survival Kits" that provide practical advice for dealing with issues like curfews, disrespectful language and actions, and bullying. In addition, Dr. Walsh explores the short- and long-term effects of drug and alcohol use on adolescent brain development, the effects of computer games and other activities, the brain differences between the sexes, and how to talk to your teen about sex and the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases.

Through real-life stories, Why Do They Act That Way? offers an enjoyable new perspective on teen problems and an arsenal of strategies for helping adolescents and adults through them. Armed with a new understanding of the teenage brain and a new set of effective responses to small and serious, emerging and entrenched problems, parents can help their kids learn to control impulses, manage erratic behavior, avoid drug and alcohol use, cope with their changing bodies, focus their minds, and, in effect, develop a second brain. Dr. Walsh's proven tactics for averting conflicts, keeping teens healthy and safe, educating and guiding them, and solving many other parenting challenges will be extremely welcome to frustrated parents trying to help their children through this confusing time of life.

Advance Praise for Why Do They Act That Way?

This superb book combines science, psychology, and direct experience with adolescents to create a warm-hearted, intelligent, and practical guide. Parents will find the book immensely informative, reassuring, and useful. I highly recommend it!

--Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Driven to Distraction, The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, and Dare to Forgive

"Dr. Walsh is a teacher, scientist, therapist, and parent and all of these roles enable him to deliver a powerful, practical book on the teenage brain. This book is an easy read, but its message is fresh, nuanced, and important. I recommend it to all parents who ask themselves, "Why do they act this way?"

--Mary Pipher, Ph.D., author, Reviving Ophelia

"Down to earth experience together with the latest findings on brain development, this book is a wonderful resource for parents, or for that matter, anyone who interacts with adolescents."

--John Nelson, M.D. MPH, Trustee of the American Medical Association

David Walsh has taken on the task of explaining in readable, sympathetic language what the recent discoveries in neuroscience have to say about our traditional frustrations with teenagers. And he does it beautifully! Even with new insights, however, wisdom, patience and a sense of humor are still going to be the essential tool kit for any adult working with adolescents. That is where Dr. Walsh is particularly strong. His love for adolescents shines through every page, and parents will find his generous-hearted advice both comforting and helpful."

--Michael Thompson, co-author of Raising Cain

"Why Do They Act That Way is a comprehensive guide to the biology behind just about every adolescent behavior a parent or teacher might encounter. His gentle humor and friendly exploration of some personal parenting mishaps make this a highly readable and helpful book. You'll finish it feeling as if you've just had coffee with someone who is not only entertaining and enlightening but who knows exactly how it feels to be the mom or dad of a twenty first century teen."

--Cheryl Dellasega, Ph.D., Author of Surviving Ophelia

"Teenagers...those baffling and scary creatures your adorable kids turned into, leaving you puzzled and angry all the time. Dave Walsh's weaving together of current understanding of the teenage brain with years of clinical experience with teens has produced a thoughtful, practical and down-to-earth guide that enables parents to understand and deal well with their teenager. If you are struggling with your adolescent, or even anticipating your child's entrance into those crazy years, this book will show you why it all makes sense and how to help both you and your teen have the healthiest, sanest passage."

--Gail Saltz, M.D., Today Show Mental Health Contributor; Author of Becoming Real

"The adolescent brain is NOT an oxymoron! Parents and teachers need to understand its critical developmental needs, and Dr. Walsh's clear, scientific, and humane counsel is just the ticket. I especially like his real-life stories and the chapter on helping kids manage the media."

--Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., Educational Psychologist and author of Your Child's Growing Mind and Failure to Connect

"David Walsh is one of the most eloquent and effective advocates for youth today. This book advocates for parents as well by translating the rapidly growing research on the developing brain into an accessible guidebook for understanding the behavioral changes and emotional liquidity of the adolescent years."

--W. Andrew Collins, Ph.D., Morse-Alumni Distinguished Teaching Professor; Institute of Child Development, University of Minnesota.

“This book belongs on the shelf in every middle and high school library and in the office of every school administrator who deals with adolescents.”

--Thomas R. Stevens, Headmaster, Rocky Mount Academy, Rocky Mount, NC


Now in its 4th printing.
WHY Do They Act That Way







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