Even smart kids do stupid things. It’s a simple fact of life. No one
makes it through the teenage years unscathed—not the teens and not their
parents. But now there’s expert help for both generations in this
groundbreaking new guide for surviving the drama of adolescence.
In WHY DO THEY ACT THAT WAY? nationally renowned, award-winning psychologist
Dr. David Walsh explains exactly what happens to the human brain on the path
from childhood into adolescence and adulthood. Revealing the latest
scientific findings in easy-to-understand terms, Dr. Walsh shows why
moodiness, quickness to anger and to take risks, miscommunication, fatigue,
territoriality, and other familiar teenage behavior problems are so
common—all are linked to physical changes and growth in the adolescent
But WHY DO THEY ACT THAT WAY goes way beyond the well-known issues of
hormones and peer pressure. It’s the first book to explain the changes in
teens’ brains and show parents how to use this information to understand,
communicate with, and stay connected to their kids. Dr. Walsh actually likes
teenagers and has worked with them and their families for more than thirty
years as a parent, teacher, psychologist, coach, and trusted expert. He
makes sense of their many mystifying, annoying, and even outright dangerous
behavioral difficulties and provides realistic solutions for dealing with
everyday as well as severe challenges. Dr. Walsh’s techniques include, among
others: sample dialogs that help teens and parents talk civilly and
constructively with each other, behavioral contracts, and “Parental Survival
Kits” that provide practical advice for dealing with issues like curfews,
disrespectful language and actions, and bullying. In addition, Dr. Walsh
explores the short- and long-term effects of drug and alcohol use on
adolescent brain development, the effects of computer games and other
activities, the brain differences between the sexes, and how to talk to your
teen about sex and the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases.
Through real-life stories, WHY DO THEY ACT THAT WAY? offers an enjoyable new
perspective on teen problems and an arsenal of strategies for helping
adolescents and adults through them. Armed with a new understanding of the
teenage brain and a new set of effective responses to small and serious,
emerging and entrenched problems, parents can help their kids learn to
control impulses, manage erratic behavior, avoid drug and alcohol use, cope
with their changing bodies, focus their minds, and, in effect, develop a
second brain. Dr. Walsh’s proven tactics for averting conflicts, keeping
teens healthy and safe, educating and guiding them, and solving many other
parenting challenges will be extremely welcome to frustrated parents trying
to help their children through this confusing time of life.
1. How does learning about the physical changes in the teen brain
help us understand their behavior? Are there scenarios from
relationships you have teens that demonstrate these processes?
2. How does understanding the changes in the teen brain help us develop
parenting strategies to help our teen navigate adolescent neural
3. How do we strike the balance between being understanding of the
"normal" erratic behavior patterns of teens and setting firm boundaries
and limits on innapropriate behavior? What about this striking this
balance is the most difficult?
4. How do we identify red flags in the behavior of the teens in our
lives amidst the wildly vacillating moods of "normal" teenagers? What
resources do you have in your community to address serious behavior
5. How do you relate to teenagers differently than children? What
changes? What do you want to see change?
6. Do you notice different behavior in the boys and girls in your life?
How does the research on the differences between boy brains and girl
brains enable you to work better with teens? How do you wrestle with the
difference between the biological and the social when working with
teenagers? When can these differences represent limits instead of
possibility for your teen? How can you use this research to benefit your
7. Where are your teens getting messages about sex, sexuality and drugs?
What are the messages they recieve? Do you talk to your kids about these
topics? In a culture where teens spend more time with media than adults,
how to we connect with our kids on these sensitive issues? What role do
your schools play in educating teens about these issues?
8. Do you think that it would be helpful for teens if they understood
the changes happening in their own brains? How would this influence
their understanding of the risk they take when they use drugs and
9. What is the difference between connection and control? Give examples
from your life.
10. What is it you love most about working with teenagers? What is the
most frustrating? Have you found ways to remind yourself of the answers
to number one? Which do you show more to teens and what message does
that send them?
About the Author
David Walsh, Ph.D. is the president and founder of the National Institute
on Media and the Family. Psychologist, educator, author, speaker and parent
of three, Dr. Walsh has emerged as one of the world’s leading authorities on
parenting, family life and the impact of media on children and teens. He is
a consultant to the World Health Organization and author of eight books
including the national best seller Why Do They Act That Way? A Survival
Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen. In his latest book, No.
Why Kids-of All Ages-Need It and Ways Parents Can Say It, Dr. Dave describes
the epidemic of “Discipline Deficit Disorder” and what we can do to help our
kids be happy and successfu. Dr. Walsh has been the recipient of numerous
awards and is a regular guest on national radio and television.