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Stewardship of the Teenage Brain

  • Head's Note
Tobin Bechtel

Last week we had a lively, earnest discussion at our first Parent Ed Book Club meeting to review The Teenage Brain by Frances E. Jensen, MD. The subtitle, “A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults” is quite accurate as she bases her advice on what we now know about the neurological development of this age group. What Jensen conveys through the research and real life examples is sometimes scary and reinforces how fragile life is at this age - without a lot of logical brakes and high susceptibility to addiction. On the other hand, this is an exciting time as the teenage brain is developing and learning at faster speeds than any other time during our lives. 

Our stewardship is incredibly important during this time. As Theodore Sizer points out in a book by the same title, the students are watching. They are learning from all our approaches, interactions, reactions, and actions. What we say and do matters. We are the models whether we are in school, at home, in the store, or on the sidelines. Unfortunately I have to admit that my daughters learned most of the choice words in their vocabulary from riding with me in the car. It is so difficult to claim “do as I say, not as I do.” I recommend this book highly and recommend as Dr. Jensen does that you share it with your teens - use the evidence to help them develop healthy habits. I will continue to pull pieces of her advice into my future notes.

As we head into our Thanksgiving break, it is a time for being thankful for what we have. I am grateful to be a part of a community that cares, shares and grows together. I am proud of what are students are able to accomplish in their classes, on stage, as athletes, and in the broader world. I hope you all have a great holiday and are able to give thanks in spending time with friends and family.

  • head's note
  • teenage brain
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