Synopses & Reviews
A leading authority draws on new research to explain why the adolescent years are so developmentally crucial, and what we must do to raise happier, more successful kids.
Adolescence now lasts longer than ever before. And as world-renowned expert on adolescent psychology Dr. Laurence Steinberg argues, this makes these years the key period in determining individuals’ life outcomes, demanding that we change the way we parent, educate, and understand young people.
In Age of Opportunity, Steinberg leads readers through a host of new findings — including groundbreaking original research — that reveal what the new timetable of adolescence means for parenting 13-year-olds (who may look more mature than they really are) versus 20-somethings (who may not be floundering even when it looks like they are). He also explains how the plasticity of the adolescent brain, rivaling that of years 0 through 3, suggests new strategies for instilling self-control during the teenage years. Packed with useful knowledge, Age of Opportunity is a sweeping book in the tradition of Reviving Ophelia, and an essential guide for parents and educators of teenagers.
"The professional and personal angst of directionless twentysomethings is given a voice and some sober counsel in this engaging guide. Drawing on research and case studies from her clinical psychology practice, first-time author Jay shows how the decisions we make in our twenties radically affect the rest of our lives. Jay's twentysomething clients are well-educated, yet they lack focus and resist making decisions about love, work, family, and the future. Jay blames popular culture, the media, other researchers, and parents for spreading the idea that the twenties are a time for free exploration, not settling down. In clear but occasionally alarmist prose (e.g., 'It would be reckless for us to focus on Kate's past when I knew her future was in danger'), Jay warns that lack of direction in one's 20s leads to cramming major life experiences (graduate school, marriage, children, professional success) into one's 30s. Stressed, over-burdened thirtysomethings end up in Jay's office, regretting their previous decade of deferring serious relationships, career-building jobs, and other life-defining events. While Jay maintains that facing difficulties in one's 20s 'is a jarring but efficient and often necessary way to grow,' the author is sincere and sympathetic, making this well-researched mix of generational sociology, psychotherapy, career counseling, and relationship advice a practical treatise for a much-maligned demographic. (Apr. 17)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Simply the best book I have ever read about adolescence, and I say this as both the father of seven and as a scientist who works in this field. With gentle wisdom, Steinberg guides us through truly novel findings on what happens during adolescence and tells us how, as parents and teachers, we should change our ways." — Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph. D., author of Learned Optimism and The Optimistic Child
"Any recent college grad mired in a quarter-life crisis or merely dazed by the freedom of post-collegiate existence should consider it required reading."--Slate.com, Staff Pick
"Meg Jay takes the specific complaints of twenty something life and puts them to diagnostic use."--New Yorker
"This study will be gratefully received by many for its advice on how our increasing understanding of adolescent development can be put to practical use in helping adolescents through emotional and behavioral tumult ... Steinberg's audience is as broad as his approach and includes parents, educators, politicans, businesspeople, and health care professionals. A clear and canny look into the adolescent brain that will help influence adolescent lives for the better." —Kirkus Reviews
"This is a convincing and eloquent call for change." —Publishers Weekly
"Steinberg forces us to rethink our assumptions, and ... includes some fascinating advice ... Steinberg's essential book serves the same purpose for parents of adolescents as the work of the late Louise Ames did for those of babies, toddlers, and young children: it makes sense of these mysterious creatures." — Huffington Post
"Simply the best book I have ever read about adolescence, and I say this as both the father of seven and as a scientist who works in this field. Steinberg guides us through truly novel findings on what happens during adolescence and tells us how, as parents and teachers, we should change our ways." — Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph. D., author of Learned Optimism and The Optimistic Child
"As a mother of two boys and an educator, I am so grateful Laurence Steinberg has written this amazing book. He not only clearly and elegantly communicates the newest insights into understanding teenagers' brains but also shows how adults can manage ourselves when we get frustrated with teens' behavior." — Rosalind Wiseman, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes and Masterminds and Wingmen
"If you need to understand adolescents — whether your own or anyone else's — you must read this book. Steinberg explains why most of our presumptions about adolescence are dead wrong and reveals the truth about this exciting and unnerving stage of life. Written with warmth, lucidity, and passion, Age of Opportunity will fill parents with relief by demystifying their children. Educators and policy-makers should study it carefully." — Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy and No Fun
"I love this book! Steinberg has blended the latest research with his decades of expertise to give us a bold new view of the perils and promise of adolescence." — Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., Clinical Professor, UCLA School of Medicine, and author of Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain
"Clear, evidence-based, and solutions-oriented, Age of Opportunity is the roadmap you need whether you already have a teen or young adult, or are preparing for one." — Madeline Levine, Ph.D., author of The Price of Privilege and Teach Your Children Well
"A fascinating and important book. What every parent, teacher and counselor MUST know about the adolescent brain, its vulnerabilities, and its tremendous possibilities." — Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology, Stanford University, and author of Mindset
"A masterful summary of what science has recently discovered about adolescence. I learned something new on every page." — Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., MacArthur Fellow and Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania
"This fascinating book gives us cause for concern, cause for hope and cause for celebration. Whether you're a parent or an adolescent yourself, you should read it. There's information in these pages that could change and improve your life." — Peg Tyre, author of The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve
"Steinberg explains how 'abnormal' adolescent behavior is actually 'normal.' This book belongs on the shelf of every parent, teacher, youth worker, counselor, judge — heck, anyone interested in pre-teens and teenagers." — David Walsh, Ph.D., author of Why Do They Act That Way?
"Based on cutting-edge research and the wisdom of a leading authority in the field, this magnificent book will captivate parents, teachers, policy-makers and adolescents themselves." — Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, Ph.D., Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience, University College, London
Our "thirty-is-the-new-twenty" culture tells us the twentysomething years don't matter. Some say they are a second adolescence. Others call them an emerging adulthood. Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized what is actually the most defining decade of adulthood.
Drawing from a decade of work with hundreds of twentysomething clients and students, THE DEFINING DECADE weaves the latest science of the twentysomething years with behind-closed-doors stories from twentysomethings themselves. The result is a provocative read that provides the tools necessary to make the most of your twenties, and shows us how work, relationships, personality, social networks, identity, and even the brain can change more during this decade than at any other time in adulthood-if we use the time wisely.
THE DEFINING DECADE is a smart, compassionate and constructive book about the years we cannot afford to miss.
The world's leading authority on adolescence presents original new research that explains, as no one has before, how this stage of life has changed and how to steer teenagers through its risks and toward its rewards.
About the Author
LAURENCE STEINBERG, Ph.D. is one of the world’s leading experts on adolescence. He is Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Temple University, in Philadelphia. Dr. Steinberg is the author of more than 350 articles and essays on development during the teenage years, and the author or editor of fourteen books, including You and Your Adolescent, The 10 Basic Principles of Good Parenting, Beyond the Classroom, and Adolescence, the leading college textbook on the subject. He has been a featured guest on numerous television programs, including CBS Morning News, Today, Good Morning America, 20/20, Dateline, PBS News Hour, and The Oprah Winfrey Show, and is a frequent consultant on adolescence for print and electronic media, including the New York Times and NPR. He has also written for the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, and Psychology Today. A graduate of Vassar College and Cornell University, Dr. Steinberg is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the Association for Psychological Science.
Table of Contents
1 Seizing the Moment 8
2 The Plastic Brain 18
3 The Longest Decade 46
4 How Adolescents Think 65
5 Protecting Adolescents from Themselves 86
6 The Importance of Self-Regulation 107
7 How Parents Can Make a Difference 125
8 Reimagining High School 141
9 Winners and Losers 164
10 Brains on Trial 182