3 Common Myths About the Teen Brain

Dan Siegel, bestselling author of Brainstorm, on the subject.

Illustration by Mariko Jesse

Dan Siegel, award-winning educator, child psychiatrist, and author of New York Times bestseller Brainstorm, explores the power and purpose of the teenage brain in Mindful’s June issue. Siegel talks about the brain science behind teen angst and how to turn parents’ concerns into understanding and confrontation into connection. Siegel warns that some of the popular misconceptions we have about the teen brain are making life more difficult for adolescents and adults alike. He shares how science is refuting three long-held myths we mistakenly believe about what makes teens tick:

Myth No. 1: Raging Hormones Make You Crazy

Yes, hormones do increase during this period, but they don’t determine the ins and outs of adolescence—that’s for another piece of anatomy. “We now know that what adolescents experience is primarily the result of changes in the development of the brain,” Siegel writes:

Knowing we’re dealing with developmental and neurological changes—and not a kid hopped up on hormones—undercuts one of the most powerful myths we hold about the teen years.

Myth No. 2: You Just Need to Grow Up

That old phrase, “It’s just a phase,” is not helping. It stems from this idea we have about teenage-hood being a time of…