Dr. Shatkin’s book is based on science and at the same time is very easy to read. Dr. Shatkin debunks myths in healthcare and guide us to do what science indicates it works: from parenting interventions, physical activity, limiting access to “screens”, to the benefits of mindfulness and gratitude. Highly recommended to every parent, but especially for the parents of tweens and teens and probably also for the parents of young adults. Very important book also for teachers. Thanks your Dr. Shatkin! I will add it today to my “formulary” of books I prescribe to my patients. - Amazon Customer
NYU Professor and Child Psychiatrist,Dr. Shatkin wrote a “myth buster” masterpiece that bridges neuroscience, medicine, and his > 20 years of clinical expertise in an engaging and informative manner to help us navigate the preteen and teen years by teaching us reasons WHY our teens take risks.
Born To Be Wild includes cutting edge neuroscience coupled with practical parenting tips on bullying, substance use, nutrition, sleep and overall mental health prevention strategies.
You will walk away from reading this book with new strategies to communicate in a kind, empathic and loving way with your teen to help them thrive emotionally and to help keep them safe.
Denise McDermott M.D., Adult and Child Board Certified Psychiatrist - Denise M. McDermott
Beautifully and insightfully written, using wonderful professional and personal examples, Jess Shatkin has written a book that will appeal to a wide variety of audiences. With references as disparate as Shakespeare, Freud, Piaget and Shatkin's own family, there is something for every category of reader. I admired the combination of personal stories, academic examples and clear lists - so unusual in this sort of work. The bibliography alone is worth the "price of admission." I only wish I could give it more stars - yes, it is that good...... Francisco Castellanos.
Raising children is wondrous and equally terrifying especially when they hit the teen years. Life is complicated and the risks are innumerable. This books helps parents navigate the everyday opportunities to help guide kids through this vulnerable time and keep them safe. It is easy to read and understand with common sense options backed by scientific evidence. There are many book that address this topic but THIS book covers it all. Enjoy it and USE it . - Nurse Nancy
As a trustee of a small liberal arts college, I come into contact with students on a regular basis. In this role, I work daily to reconcile the college's need to keep them safe while helping them to thrive and to build their resilience. This book has given me new insights into and appreciation of adolescents and a greater understanding of the personal and academic choices they make. - Linda Sweet
Very intriguing and insightful. A must read for all parents of pre-teens and teens. - DebbieS
An important and eye-opening must-read! Well researched and full of practical recommendations, Born to Be Wild inspired me to examine my own teen years as well as my approach to parenting. Dr. Shatkin offers excellent examples and personal stories, pertinent psychological and philosophical references, and interweaves it all with lots of good humor. In addition to providing information I can put to use with my family, this book gave me a more thorough understanding our country's past policy mistakes and encouraged me to consider better macro-level approaches. I highly recommend Born to Be Wild to parents, teachers, healthcare providers, and anyone wishing to better understand how and why teens think the way they think. - Lisa E Cohen
If you have a teenager or young adult you should read this book! What I love about Dr. Shatkin’s book is that he uses humor and personal stories to explain complex concepts such as the neuroscience behind why teenagers take risks. This not only makes the book fun to read, but it makes these complicated concepts understandable. What makes this book so valuable is that it illustrates how to apply the science in “real life.” For example, Shatkin shows how most parents inadvertently go wrong in talking to our kids about risky situations. He then gives specific examples of the “right” language to use to talk to your teenagers about risky behavior. I’m already starting to use the suggested “conversations” with my high-school daughter and wish I had this book when my older two kids were teenagers. - Joan L
Dr. Shatkin writes a provocative book focusing upon the adolescent mind and developmental issues. Using a combination of personal stories and vignettes, along with well researched scientific evidence, he addresses adolescent behavior in an accessible, practical and thoughtful manner. The reader is also provided concrete interventions to employ whether as a parent or health care provider. - karen
Born To Be Wild by Jess Shatkin is one of those books that percolates after you’ve read it. Dr. Shatkin expertly weaves well-known notions of adolescence and parental guidance strategies with cutting edge neuroscience and novel interpretations of economists’ theories on decision-making using compelling vignettes. While it is easy to resonate with Dr. Shatkin’s comfortable and non-defensive disclosures as a teen and a parent, the book also pulls for reflection on one’s own decisions in ways that can catch you off guard. As a parent of now young adults who made it through adolescence on quite different trajectories I can see how valuable this book would have been to me had it been written earlier. As a professional in child and adolescent mental health I plan to recommend this book to parents well before their children become teens. Given the substantive nature of Born to be Wild’s many lessons I expect this book to be a resource for many years to come. - J. I. Hunt
Dr. Jess Shatkin's work is an incredible contribution to not just the field of adolescent psychology/mental health but also offers fantastic, approachable insight for parents navigating the often turbulent teen years.
I really appreciated the balance that was struck between the science of "why" and the practical "here's what we can do about it" candid perspective in the book.
It is a must read for all those curious about what is happening in the minds of our teens. Thank you, Jess! - Alexandra Hancock
This book is just really well written. It is that combination of story and science that draws you in and leaves you feeling enriched. My idea of how the adolescent mind works was really shifted (and how my mind used to work) and I work with kids! This is the book that every parent with an adolescent needs to read! - Alan Schlechter
This is an incredible book. The author's self-disclosure, personal parenting stories and talent for explaining neuroscience in a dignified, non-pandering way to the reader are stunning. As a doctor and a mother with a family history of untreated anxiety and heavy addictions, I was panicking as I saw the tween years approaching as to how to stack the odds so my boys did not become prey to these issues.
I'm recommending this book to the parents of every child I see, regardless of age. Thank you to Dr. Shatkin for taking the time to write this and for doing so in a way that is valuable in terms of doctoring and parenting. It will change the way I do both. - S. Hartselle
Shatkin gives us a clear, evidence-based approach to understanding why our teenagers take dangerous risks and what we can do to keep them safe. Full of heartfelt anecdotes and thought provoking wisdom, Born to be Wild inspires us to step beyond the boundaries of traditional thinking, priming us, as parents, teachers, and role models, how to guide our children and keep them safe. I highly recommend this book! - Mark W.
Few books written for parents and educators are able to use science and present it in understandable practical terms. Dr. Shatkin's writing is informative and funny! His passion for the subject is clear. High schools should get this book for the counselors. Undoubtedly parents will use this as a resource to answer some of the hardest questions we have about our teens! - Lori Evans
I read too many books about parenting. Or start them anyway. I'm always looking for information that will keep me from screwing up my kids. I found Dr. Shatkin's book to be wonderfully packed with insights about how younger people think, behave, and react in our precarious and constantly changing world; a world where young people's appetite for risk is fed in increasingly complicated ways. Shatkin's clear explanations and strategies make this book invaluable. And there are two bonuses: One is that this isn't just a book of exploration and advice -- though there's plenty of that -- it's also a source of very original and fascinating thinking. Second, Shatkin's ideas and writing style make this a real page turner. I thought I would skim it . . . . I read it straight through, and will again. - Lewis F.
Of all of the books I've read about teens and the challenges we parents face in getting them through these years of their lives, this is far and away the most candid, refreshing, and informative I've read in years. Shatkin draws on his own teenage experiences to illustrate the points he makes throughout the book, and in so doing makes the complex science behind the book not only digestible but relatable, and at times actually entertaining. It's a great book. -TK
Delayed adolescence has been in the news lately, and not in a good way. We have read and heard from an untold number of pundits, politicians, and social theorists how our young people are in danger of never growing up. That somehow it is anathema to the survival of our species that we, in the USA, have allowed our children to retain their childhood longer than anytime before in history. Well, in his book, Dr. Jess P. Shatkin, Born to be Wild, Why Teens Take Risks, and How We Can Help Keep Them Safe, not only refutes that premise, but outlines a path that actually will allow society to deal with the highly intelligent, forward looking, challenging, and overstimulated adolescents that we know and love.
Initially Dr. Shatkin explains simply how it is in society’s best interests to allow our off spring to exist in that in-between state of adolescence just that much longer. He details the benefits to their brains, how they view life, and how successful they will eventually become. Brain elasticity is a much needed outgrowth of nonrestrictive learning and growing. Taking chances, the stuff that is the thing of societal change, is a major part of adolescent behavior, and is something we really do want to encourage to a point. Important note: Adolescence does not mean just early teens, the author explains that this period of life can also mean college age, and through their twenties.
After explaining how being young, and the challenges facing how the young think is a really positive outcome of human development and evolution, Shatkin then outlines several important programs, ideas, and parenting/school must dos that will encourage your adolescent to grow in a good way in order to become productive members of society, without basically killing themselves.
Shatkin puts a kabosh on long held ideas about adolescents. There is not doubt that adolescents are risk takers, but it is not necessarily because they think of themselves as invulnerable. In contravention to longheld beliefs, he explains that adolescent behavior is despite those feelings of a lack of control. He explains how the emotional upheaval that many of them are going through is normal evolutionary callings, and how it is encoded into our DNA to take risks at the time humans are physically at their height. But then again, in our modern world, simply because something is part of our primal brain doesn’t mean that it won’t lead to problems, issues, and undesired outcomes. We can, and should, help adolescents through these periods in particular positive ways. The main point is to teach them to channel that penchant for risk taking into something that can turn into long term positive behavior.
Acknowledging emotional IQ, teaching socially appropriate behavior, as well as channeling the ability to stay focused, while developing sticktoittiveness are attributes of successful adults. Limits, boundaries, and the good old fashioned ability to say “no,” also does wonders for our adolescents. Basically what Shatkin addresses is what is being lost in our children’s education, and that is how to actually tackle adult problems.
For anyone interested in what is to become of our children, how society and parenting needs to change in light of our new world and challenging scientific, technological times, then this book is a good beginning. -Elise Ronan
This is an excellent book that describes what is happening in an adolescent’s brain and how it affects his behavior. By far, the chapter about what parents can do is my most favorite. It is chockfull of great advice, of wisdom, of perceptive insights into parenting. I think that every parent needs this information!
A huge takeaway from this chapter is that it is critical that parents start using these methods when their children are young. That way, their children’s behavior will be greatly improved and be less risky when they reach adolescence.
I recommend this book because it provides great information and excellent advice for parents to navigate their child’s turbulent adolescence. (It should be a must read for new parents!) -Nina Lewis
Since I often speak with teenagers regarding Internet safety, I am intrigued by their common willingness to take risks even though they've been taught, warned, and shown why certain actions could be harmful to them. So when I was offered an early copy of Jess Shatkin's book, Born to be Wild, I jumped at the opportunity to learn more from this nationally recognized adolescent psychiatrist and author.
My favorite way to read a nonfiction book is with Post-it flags and a pencil, because I love to flag compelling statements and I like to write notes to myself, reminding me of personal epiphanies I had while reading. The problem with this particular book was . . . I ran out of Post-its, because I had trouble using only one per page!
Dr. Jess Shatkin shares profound concepts regarding the teenager's inclination to take risks on nearly every page of his new book, Born to be Wild.
Dr. Shatkin's easy-to-read narrative combines anecdotes and scientific details to explain elements of the teenage psyche. For example, he utilizes a story about trying chocolate for the first time and relates that to how dopamine influences our future choices. Furthermore, he explains, "One of the most significant distinctions between adolescents and adults is the amount of dopamine flowing in different parts of the brain." (page 47) "Because the dopamine system of an adolescent is at its pinnacle and will never be this responsive again, novelty really rocks their world." (page 66)
Born to be Wild not only explores why teens take risks, it also gives effective tools for adults who care about the young people in their lives, offering ways to teach resiliency and provide guidance.
Parents, educators, and leaders of adolescents would benefit from reading Born to be Wild, which delivers thoughtful and scientific insights into the behavior of young adults and offers beneficial ways to help them through these turbulent years.
I highly recommend Born to be Wild by Jess P. Shatkin.
[Thank you to FSB Associates for providing me with a copy of this book for review. This in no way influenced my opinion. - Margo