Adolescence, also know as “the oy vey years” is not a time most families look forward to. But what if almost everything you thought about those angsty teen years was wrong? What if the rules we laid down as parents, teachers and people who supposedly “knew better” were actually doing more harm than good?
Well, it turns out, that just might be the case. New research on the adolescent brain seems to be turning everything we thought we knew about the care and handling of young adults on its head. And, it’s also exposing something else. Something that juuuuust might terrify a parent or two.
Adolescence is now twice as long as it used to be, starting at around 10, and continuing to almost 25 years old. Which is really important, because until it ends, you’re impulsive hedonistic desires are on overdrive, but the part of your brain that stops you from doing stupid things hasn’t really developed enough to keep you safe.
So, how do you handle that? How do you create a world that lets kids take the risks needed to rock adulthood without destroying their futures, and maybe themselves along the way?
And how do you take a part of life most families look at as a battle to be survived and turn it into something to be exalted and enjoyed?
That’s what we’re talking about on today’s episode with my guest, Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D. He’s one of the world’s leading experts on adolescence, a Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Temple University, the author of more than 350 articles and essays on development during the teenage years, and the author or editor of 17 books including his new one, The Age of Opportunity: Lessons from the New Science of Adolescence. In other words, when it comes to angsty adolescents, Larry knows his stuff.
This episode is the third in our shift to our new audio podcast-driven media format. We’ll continue to post a video version over on youtube with a static image for a while, but please be sure to subscribe below and listen and subscribe on iTunes to make sure you never miss an episode.