Why Our Young Adults Do the Things They Do

About a decade ago, Frances Jensen’s sweet-natured 15-year-old son returned home from a friend’s house with his hair dyed black and announced he was planning to add red streaks. Jensen’s reaction was typical of countless parents who suddenly confront a stranger living in their house. “I was gobsmacked. Is this really my child?” she writes.

While many of us would just start ranting, Jensen, then a Harvard Medical School neurology professor and researcher, was inspired by the incident to start looking into why her son and other adolescents suddenly turn into “unfamiliar, unpredictable” people.  Her research eventually culminated in The Teenage Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults.

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