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We discuss Dr. Daniel Siegel’s new book titled “Brainstorm- The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain”. Dr. Siegel explains that adolescence has an ESSENCE that is often overlooked. ESSENCE stands for:

ES: An Emotional Spark is revealed in the enhanced way emotion generated from sub-cortical areas washes over the cortical circuits of reasoning. The downsides are emotional storms and moodiness; the upside is a powerful passion to live life fully, to capture life being on fire.

SE: Social Engagement emerges as teens turn more toward peers than parents, the downside being falling prey to peer pressure simply to gain membership in a group, the upside being the central importance of supportive relationships in our lives. Relationships are the key factor associated with medical and mental health, longevity, and even happiness.

N: Novelty-seeking emerges from shifts in the brain’s dopamine system with the downside of risk-taking behavior and injury, and the upside of having the courage to leave the familiar, certain, and safe home nest for the unfamiliar, uncertain, potentially unsafe world beyond.

CE: And our Creative Exploration of adolescence is found as we push against the status quo, imagining how things could be, not simply accepting them for what they are. The downside? Not just conforming to life as usual can be disorienting and stressful. The upside? The thrill and passion of discovery—and the reality that most innovations in art, music, science and technology emerge from the adolescent mind.

Dr. Siegel reminds us to be conscious of adolescent ESSENCE so we can better relate to our children and respect this important time of development.

Resources:

Daniel’s book can be found here

Click the following links to purchase Cathy’s books The Self-Aware Parent Part 1  & and Part 2

Click here to find her blog, and click here to find her Chicago Parent column.

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