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The Incredible Teenage Brain

The Incredible Teenage Brain

Everything You Need to Know to Unlock Your Teen's Potential

Bettina Hohnen, Jane Gilmour & Tara Murphy. Foreword by Sarah Jayne Blakemore, illustrated by Douglas Broadley

Quick Overview

An accessible, expert guide to the incredible potential of the teen brain from 3 psychologists. The authors give practical tips and advice based on the very latest research that reappraises the adolescent years as an exciting and unique period of development, showing how we can best support teens' emotional, social and intellectual development.
2019, Paperback / softback, 9.69in x 6.81in / 246mm x 173mm, 360pp
ISBN: 9781785925573

Availability: Out of stock


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Written by a team of leading clinical psychologists, this straightforward book walks the reader through the workings of the teenage brain. Pulling together the latest research, from brain imaging techniques to studies of teen behaviour, the authors provide an invaluable framework for parents, teachers and professionals to understand how teenagers learn.

Uniquely, the authors provide a manual with clear strategies for what to do to support teens based on findings from neuroscience and psychology. They show that good relationships and communication are the bedrocks of supporting teens to develop, learn and grow. They also highlight the importance of individual and learning differences, mental health, and a growth mindset, as part of the over-arching theoretical framework of the book. A must read for anyone supporting young people.


'This book is full of practical advice for parents of teenagers. It uses up-to-date understanding of how the brain works to give sensible, useful guides on how to handle adolescents. It reflects a new revolution in our understanding of how relationships can affect brain structure, and gives sensible advice on how to optimise children and young people's development so they are set up with healthy brains for the rest of their lives.'
- Stephen Scott CBE FRCPsych FMedSci Professor of Child Health and Behaviour, Kings’s College London, Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist at Maudsley Hospital

'The Incredible Teenage Brain is a brilliant distillation of the best advice that we can give parents and professionals based on what we have learned about the brain and mind over the past 50 years. It is exceptionally accessible notwithstanding the extraordinary wealth of information it contains on adolescent behaviour. It is perhaps the best book for mental health professionals to recommend to families. But they also should make sure to keep a copy on their shelf.'
- Professor Peter Fonagy OBE FMedSci FBA FAcSS PhD DipPsy, Head of the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences Director, Chief Executive, Anna Freud National Centre for Children & Families, National Clinical Advisor on Children’s Mental Health

'An exciting book. It unravels the complexities of teenage thoughts, stresses and behaviour patterns and shows adults how to respond in a positive and uplifting way. This builds up self-belief, happiness and ambition. I wish this had been around when my children were teenagers!'
- Diana Hudson, author of Specific Learning Difficulties What Teachers Need to Know, secondary school teacher and mother to four adult children

'This is an insightful, inspiring and fun book that opens the lid on the often misunderstood and sometimes maligned world of the teenager. Drawing on personal experience and the authors' work as clinicians it reveals how teenagers are affected by brain development, their expanding social world and self-concept as emerging adults. Invaluable for parents and those who work with teens.'
- Prof. Tony Charman, Chair in Clinical Child Psychology, King’s College London

'Such a useful and reassuring book for parents, carers and anyone working with young people. The authors dismiss the stereotype of the 'troublemaker teen' and spell out with great clarity how we can all help our teenagers to flourish. They explain why teens are at the height of their learning potential in all areas of life and show us how, by choosing our words carefully and making shifts in our own behaviour, we can help them shine.'
- Margaret Rooke, author 'You can Change the World. Everyday Teen Heroes Making a Difference Everywhere' and 'Dyslexia is my Superpower (Most of the Time)'

'This book's a relief to read! A fresh and heartening take on how to see and work with teen potential, it gives a positive, practical steer on the grittiest of problems, along with plenty of examples and some great, direct solutions that actually work. Anything that helps us understand and elegantly manage the inherent ups and downs that come with having teenagers in the family is valuable stuff. If you wished that modern teens came with a manual, honestly, you need look no further.'
- Samantha Murray Greenway (parent of two teenagers)

'This brilliantly written book celebrates the teenager and simply and clearly explains the biological, psychological and social impacts of adolescence. By really understanding the teenage brain it is possible to enable our children to navigate this key developmental time without our anxiety getting in the way. This book will empower us all to enable our teen to develop into the best version of themselves while holding strong during some of the inevitable challenges on the way. Every family should buy a copy on their child's 13th birthday!'
- Professor Tanya Byron, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, journalist, author, broadcaster, London

'Bettina Hohnen, Tara Murphy, and Jane Gilmour have written an accessible, useful and fun guide for parents and teachers of adolescents. They do an admirable job of explaining several aspects of the developmental changes taking place in adolescence-and tying these changes to practical tips and exercises for those wanting to support adolescents. Most importantly, they effectively convey how adolescence represents a period of opportunity-a time of learning and development.'
- Ronald E. Dahl MD, Professor, Community Health Sciences and Professor, Joint Medical


Any teacher who works with teenagers will find this book fascinating and invaluable. The science of the brain is explained so clearly and offers a new way to look at the rapidly developing brain and how it influences teen behavior and learning. The malleability of the teen brain is reflected in the unpredictable behavior of teenagers as well as their ability to learn rapidly.
This book explains the neuroscience of learning. Bettina, Jane and Tara emphasise the primary need for emotional security as a secure base for learning in school and they give many examples of how stress and anxiety affect the brain and interfere with learning.
What I love the most about this book is that it is written with emotional insight and a great deal of compassion. Bettina, Jane and Tara and offer a hopeful and positive way to look at adolescent behavior which has often been seen as negative and offer many examples of how teachers can create a 'positive cycle of learning'.

- Sarah Fortna, teacher and learning specialist

'I'm blown away by this book, I just couldn't put it down. As I turned the pages, it made me reflect not just on my teenage children, but on my own teenage years. I'm refreshed, inspired and can't wait to share it with my friends . It's so full of useful recommendations that I'll be using it like TripAdvisor in researching my teens for months and years to come.'
- Valerie Lindsay (mother of teenage children)

'Your child's teen years can feel like a dark, hazardous path. Here's the guide every parent wishes for, sending up flares of light to ease your way and practical tools to overcome the too-recognisable, real-life pitfalls. The wise authors' compassionate insights will have you bring out the best, rather than suppress, the powerful joyful potential of your teenager's developing mind. I do dearly wish I'd had it in the 2000s.'
- Sheila Fitzgerald, mother of three now adult girls


Illustrated by: Douglas Broadley
Foreword by: Sarah Jayne Blakemore