Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannise their teachers.
Or so said Socrates. If the great philosophers were moaning about teenagers 2500 years ago, this surely indicates some curious features that are timeless and universal in the adolescent brain. Nicola Morgan takes a humorous and non-patronising approach to revealing the science behind the subject. Ambitiously aimed at both teens and their parents, it may be just what you’ve been waiting for.
Dear teenagers, did you know that your parents were perfect as kids? Always polite and respectful, no hint of irrational hormonal stuff. They were definitely cleverer than you because exams were harder and they didn’t have social media to rot their brains. They even wrote thank-you letters without being prompted.
Well, let me tell you there’s a good deal of airbrushing going on here. Nobody ever escapes the great adolescent brain re-arranging. We start with the science, and thankfully it’s extremely accessible. The rate of transformation as the teen brain builds and thickens is startling, the author likens it to a tree branching out in Spring. This upheaval particularly affects reasoning, logic and decision-making, and is also influenced by disorderly hormones.
Sleep patterns change too. The ‘lazy’ kid unable to get up for school can blame their disrupted circadian rhythms! The risk-taking chapter is eye-opening. Much research has shown that teenagers tend to make decisions based on how they feel in the moment, rather than logical reasoning. The human desire for a dopamine thrill increases during these years, causing adolescents to gravitate towards risky and sensational experiences.
The ‘How much of a risk taker are you?’ quiz on page 104 provides food for thought and debate. There are numerous quizzes throughout the book, including on gender patterns, brain power, and ‘The Dark Side,’ of depression and self-harm.
An important and useful book, the hope for teenagers must be that their families ‘read this book, sympathize and become immediately reasonable.’
Let’s keep hoping.
Blame My Brain is published by Walker Books, 192 pages.