Laurence Steinberg is a psychologist who happens to be one of the foremost experts on adolescence (see his fuller credentials here). His book, Age of Opportunity, applies the insights gathered by psychologists into what is going on in the minds and bodies of emerging adults.
The first few chapters are an informative look at why adolescence is so important for the development of humans (probably the second most important developmental stage) and what’s happening in the human brain at this time. If you’re a parent or an educator, I guarantee these insights will help you become more patient with your evolving children/students.
Chapter 3, “The Longest Decade,” is important because it explains why “adolescence” can actually last about two decades. In other words, this stage of brain and body development isn’t over at 18 or 21…not even close. Think late 20s!
Chapter 4, “Protecting Adolescents from Themselves,” drives home the point that adolescents are “risk-takers,” far more than those of us who are post-adolescence. This comes with many risks and possibilities that parents/educators need to consider.
Maybe the most unique argument offered by Steinberg is that one of the most important things that must be developed in adolescences in “self-regulation”. This is the central thesis of chapter 6 but remains key to the rest of the book’s argument with gives advice to parents in chapter 7 and educators in chapter 8.
If you’re wondering what’s going on in the brain of teens and most twenty-somethings, this book is worth your time. As I’ve mentioned, it’s beneficial to parents and educators. And I think it’ll make you a more patient person!