Brainstorm: The Power + Purpose of the Teenage Brain

As any parent with a teenager can tell you, their child’s adolescent years can be intimidating, confusing and anxiety-ridden. The behavioral changes that take place during this period strain even the strongest parent/child relationships, leaving both sides frustrated and begging a fundamental question—why do teens act this way?

Join world-renowned neuropsychiatrist and bestselling author of The Whole-Brain Child, Dr. Dan Siegel, as he helps you crack this code with groundbreaking research in interpersonal neurobiology for this two-hour lecture based on his newest book, Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain. Dr. Siegel explores how brain development affects teenage behavior and relationships and how mastering this knowledge helps promote understanding between parents and their teens.

This presentation will offer insights into hyper-rational thinking, impulsivity, changes in the dopamine drive for reward, and increases in the emotional reactivity of the brain to illuminate many of the potential risk factors during these transformative years of life.  Rather than seeing adolescence as a period of immaturity or dysfunction, this view suggests that the essence of adolescence—the emotional spark, social engagement, novelty-seeking, and creative explorations—can best be harnessed by supporting these important and necessary aspects of our human development. 


  • What is Adolescence?
  • Dispelling the popular myths of teenage behavior
    • Cultural myths
    • Modern scientific views
  • The Upsides and the Downsides of the Essence of Adolescence
  • Changes in the Brain, Changes in Relationships, Changes in the Mind
  • Why teens are driven to seek out novelty and take more risks
    • Sexual identity and relationships
    • Romance and first love
    • Drug use and abuse
    • Other issues
  • The brain undergoes rapid changes, even throughout one’s early 20s
    • Rebellious “teen” years don’t end when they turn 20
    • Pruning and myelination are the basis of adolescent brain “remodeling”
  • Adolescence is truly a “Golden Age”
    • Emotional Spark and Passion
    • Social Engagement and Connection
    • Novelty-seeking
    • Creative Explorations and Innovation

1.      Describe the fundamental aspects of the essence of adolescence
2.      Explore how the brain development affects teenage behavior and relationships
3.      Define Hyper-rational thinking and its relationship to risk-taking behaviors
4.      List two ways in which the brain remodels during adolescence
5.      Describe two mind training processes that promote integration

4. Recommended literature - Brainstorm