Why I Wrote “Brainstorm”

Dan Siegel talks to Mindful about what inspired him to write about the inner workings of the teenage brain. 

Photograph by Mind Your Brain Inc., 2014

The experience of raising his own children and grappling with the fascinating changes adolescence brings inspired the psychiatrist to investigate the radical changes happening in young brains. He wishes he knew what he knows now when his children were teenagers.

Why do you think Brainstorm has become so popular?

I’m guessing because it’s refreshing news. We’ve been dealing with this period of life in very negative ways, and it’s time to shift the conversation and make use of some helpful scientific understanding.

What motivated you to write the book?

When my children left their teenage years, I wanted to try to understand all the experiences we’d had as a family. I started looking at the popular literature and found a lot of material was insulting to adolescents. There was nothing to help parents or adolescents learn about the new discoveries in the science of the adolescent brain.

If you knew what you know now, would you have done anything differently?

I sure learned a lot researching this book. As a result, I imagine I would have been more patient with my own adolescents, more spacious in my own mind, so that when they pushed against me, I wouldn’t have taken…