The Amazing, Tumultuous, Wild, Wonderful, Teenage Brain

“What’s going on in that head of yours?” How many adults have asked an adolescent some form of that question? In his book, Brainstorm, a New York Times bestseller, Dr. Dan Siegel decided to go a step further and actually answer that question. The results are surprising—and very exciting.

Illustration by Mariko Jesse Photographs by Joshi Radin

Adolescence is as much a perplexing time of life as it is an amazing one. Running roughly between the ages of twelve and twenty- four (yes, into our mid-twenties!), adolescence is known across cultures as a time of great challenge for both adolescents and the adults who support them. Because it can be so challenging for everyone involved, I hope to offer support to both sides of the generational divide. If you are an adolescent, my hope is that the information I am offering will help you make your way through the at times painful, at other times thrilling personal journey that is adolescence. If you are the parent of an adolescent, or a teacher, a counselor, an athletic coach, or a mentor who works with adolescents, my hope is that these explorations will help you help the adolescent in your life not just survive but thrive through this incredibly formative time.

In recent years, surprising discoveries from brain imaging studies have revealed changes in the structure and function of the bra