The Adolescent Brain – A Kid’s Perspective

Teenager with booksThe adolescent brain: one of the most complex and confusing, yet, majestic things in existence. This article isn’t so much about the teenage mind itself but rather a book about the adolescent brain and the importance of keeping your child’s brain healthy. The Owner’s Manual for Driving your Adolescent Brain, written by JoAnn Deak, Ph.D. and Terrence Deak, Ph.D. is an insightful book that gives expert advice on how an adolescent’s brain works and how to nourish it to its full potential.

Throughout this article you may wonder how I came upon this book and why I took such an interest in it. Well, my mom also writes for this website and she is working on a master’s in public health so, naturally, my father and I are her outlets and guinea pigs for random health related information. She apparently thought it would be a good idea to get me a cliché “your changing body” book which turned out to be well written and interesting.

The book touches on three main points: nourishment, enrichment, and protection plus lots in between. There are pages on sleep, social interaction, stress, and puberty. It also offers a very technical aspect Young girl thinking with glowing brain illustrationincluding information on what happens in your brain during adolescence and information on different lobes of the brain such as the amygdale and the process of myelination and certain hormones such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone. This aspect is communicated through the use of clever analogies that maintain a relatively common theme and visual aids throughout. For instance, associating ear bud wires and the rubber that encases them with axons(wires) of neurons(ear buds) and myelin(rubber coating).

This book was definitely an eye opener for me. Many things that I do were either acknowledged as positive or negative actions for my body. For instance, I have learned that procrastination will only ever harm you, even if in the short term it seems like an acceptable alternative. Procrastination can affect sleep, stress, and incidentally, the development and long term healthiness of your brain. I was also surprised at how accurate the book’s description of the experiences a teen will have during puberty and adolescence was. The Owner’s Manual for Driving your Adolescent Brain talked about how an adolescent may try to find new experiences or expand their social circle. I was able to link several supporting examples to this from my life in the last year alone. For example, last year I became really Adolescent Brain book cover - finalgood friends with several girls at school. I have to admit, these doctors really get me. I mean they would make ideal parents because you would be able to share your life with them and they could give legitimate feedback. The only downside is that they may publish your life experiences in a study.

As an adolescent I need to take the initiative to take care of my brain and body, and to parents I would suggest that you take the initiative to inform your child about some of this information. Purchasing The Owner’s Manual for Driving your Adolescent Brain may also be a good idea seeing as how it goes more in depth with these topics and others than I have now. You can obtain this book at many retailers and book stores as well as at The Owner’s Manual for Driving your Adolescent Much like a car owner’s manual, though, it helps to refer to this book several times and “fix things under the hood as necessary”.

About the Author

Elliott is a thirteen year old 8th grader who lives in the Midwest. He has a wide range of interests from sports such as rugby, soccer and mountain biking to arts, cooking and video games. Elliott is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and was chosen to be a Junior Achievement ambassador. He has taken babysitting classes and looks after a boy with special needs. Elliott hopes to draw from his wide range of interests and many experiences to contribute a kid’s perspective to Pediatric Safety.


One Response to “The Adolescent Brain – A Kid’s Perspective”

  1. Suzanne Hantke says:

    Great job on writing this Elliot! Informative, humorous, and I think it is very important to get the young person’s opinion on things, and they way they see things! Thanks for the insight! I llok forward to reading more from you in the future!

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