April 12, 2010

Myths about teens busted in new guide for parents, others

Myths about teens busted in new guide for parentsThe Teen Years Explained: A Guide to Healthy Adolescent Development was written by Clea McNeely and Jayne Blanchard of the Center for Adolescent Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to dispel many common myths about adolescence with the latest scientific findings on the physical, emotional, cognitive, sexual and spiritual development of teens. In the book, the authors provide tips and strategies for real-life situations and experiences, from bullying to nutrition and sexuality.

Created in partnership with an alliance of youth-serving professionals, the science-based The Teen Years Explained was designed to be an accessible, practical and colorful guide to healthy adolescent development for parents and all people who work with teens.

“Whether you have five minutes or five hours, you will find something useful in the guide,” said McNeely. “We want both adults and young people to understand the changes—what is happening and why—so everyone can enjoy this second decade of life.”

Among the myths about teenagers that the authors address:

• Teens are bigger risk-takers and thrill-seekers than adults. Fact: Teens perceive more risk than adults do in certain areas, such as the chance of getting into an accident if they drive with a drunk driver.

• Young people listen only to their friends. Fact: Young people report that their parents, or a caring adult, are their greatest influence, especially when it comes to sexual behavior.

• Adolescents live to push your buttons. Fact: Adolescents may view conflict as a way of expressing themselves, while adults take arguments personally.

• When you’re a teenager, you can eat whatever you want and burn it off. Fact: Obesity rates have tripled for adolescents since 1980.

• Teens don’t need sleep. Fact: Teens need as much or more sleep than they got as children; nine to 10 hours is optimum.

Three years in the making, the guide was inspired by two partners of the Center for Adolescent Health—the Maryland Mentoring Partnership and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene—which felt there was a need in the community for an easily navigated and engaging look at adolescent development.

Released Saturday, The Teen Years Explained is available through Amazon.com or by contacting Beth Marshall at 443-287-3008 or bmarshal@jhsph.edu. Electronic copies will be available for download through the Center for Adolescent Health Web site at www
.jhsph.edu/adolescenthealth. Discount rates are available for bulk purchase and nonprofits.

The Center for Adolescent Health is a Prevention Research Center at the Bloomberg School of Public Health funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Its mission is to work in partnership with youth, people who work with youth, public policy–makers and program administrators to help urban adolescents develop healthy adult lifestyles.