3, 2, 1. And we have lift off …. 

On Thursday 7th November, in Regent’s Park, London we officially ‘launched’ our book The Incredible Teenage Brain to the world – well, to a room of parents, teachers, support workers, mental health professionals and child and family experts. We asked our guests to reflect on themselves as teens and remember this incredible time of life; their highs, lows, passions, loves and experiences . Guests shared their answers to “What was the riskiest thing you did in your teens?” and “What person, place or thing did you fall in love with as a teenager?” – and their old teen photos(Hands up who looked fabulous with a perm? Or in shoulder pads?). We were struck by the magnificent bravery, generosity and honesty in our guests’ responses. The room buzzed all night.

Because Tara is currently sharing her knowledge across the globe, in St Helena Island in the South Atlantic, she could not join us and she was missed. We brought her into the room with a video saying a virtual hello. 

The event was hosted seamlessly and with great humor and warmth by Valerie Lindsay. Her questions were light and personal, giving the audience insight into Bettina and Jane’s teenage years and delving into their experience of writing together. We also journeyed through Jane and Bettina’s friendship. Finally, we thought about the three authors worked as a team to create the book. 

The journey described how Bettina and Jane met 28 years ago, studying for their PhDs. How they have been firm friends ever since.  The audience learned that Jane had been pretty fierce in her motivation to stand up for what was right in her teen years. And while morality might have been on her side, she looked back on her teen self and wondered if she had been rather intense – anyone and everyone who stood still long enough got a taste of her campaign. Bettina recounted her complete disengagement from school as a teen but took the positive risk of returning to education in her early 20s. It took great courage but there was, of course, a massive pay off with the rewarding career she since developed. 

Valerie then discussed with Bettina and Jane the premise of the book: why do some young people engage in school and others do not, how learning and success are defined? It’s clearly much more than ability. 

Bettina and Jane promise that none of the comments and questions were planted but a cynic might wonder if they had been, such was the positivity of the Q and A session. The smiles were everywhere! One mother who had already read the book (impressive we thought), explained that it helped her and her teen son understand and overcome his ‘social jet lag’. By this, we mean, his ability to manage both his social life and his sleep.

Another audience member asked if we are moving into an ‘age of the teenager’, whereas others wondered how to manage peer influence in their teen’s life. All important questions. We will be picking up on these themes and many others in our blogs and Incredible Conversations podcasts in the coming weeks. Watch this space …

Cakes by Maria.Hadji-Michael

The Incredible Teenage Brain team believe no celebration is complete without cake or wine, and we mingled, shared ideas and laughter. Our guests took home a specially commissioned Incredible Teenage Brain snow globe. This is a brilliant tool (using an idea from an American psychologist called Lisa Damour) for the times when your teens’ emotions run high. We talk about the different way that you can use the ‘snow globe intervention’ in Chapters 10 and 17 of our book.  It really does work. Try it. 

Incredible snow globes

The Incredible Team

November 2019