Book Review – Adolescence: How to survive it by Tony Little and Herb Etkin via @BloomsburyBooks

Insights for Parents, Teachers and Young Adults

Adolescence: How to Survive It Insights for Parents, Teachers and Young Adults











  • An easy, conversational approach to the book, making it very easy to read.
  • Full of explanations as to how the teenage body and mind develops, and how this development impacts.
  • Explores the psychological, social and physiological aspects of adolescence.
  • A great list of aspirations for teenagers, that should be shared and discussed within schools.
  • The book also explores issues that might be difficult to discuss.

Working with teenagers is such a privilege. Seeing young people metamorphose into adults, with all the changes that are invoked, can be a juxtaposed occurrence of joy and angst, sadness and happiness, or sense and nonsense. The emotional, physical and cognitive changes can all be perplexing, but they are changes we have all experienced. Yet, the social pressures and educational expectations set upon adolescents make their experience of growing up very unique, and difficult for adults to resonate with.

In their new book, Tony Little and Herb Etkin offer insights into adolescence for teachers, parents and young adults and, despite the hormonal changes taking place, argue that adolescence is a phenomenon of civilised culture. With a lot of teacher education now focused on curriculum content and delivery, sadly, very little attention is given to child and teenage development. This book offers an opportunity to fill this gap with 10 information-filled chapters exploring issues like: Rites of Passage; Sexuality; Emotional Turbulence, and; Functions of the Brain. In the third chapter, Herb explains the five elements that make us what we are, constituting the psychological self – categorised as family, friends, future, school and sex. The book progresses in a conversational format, with Herb and Tony taking turns to write a paragraph each within most chapters, sharing their experiences, advice and knowledge. Key for educators are the five key things you really need to know about adolescents and their brains – with empathy and understanding, teachers can support students through changes in how they see the world, helping them understand that they are all part of a normal, healthy and necessary process.

If you live or work with teenagers, then this will be a very informative book for you. Offering insights on the changes that adolescents encounter, the book also discusses the challenges that technology offers, acknowledging that schools are quite some way behind the smartphone revolution that are now the cornerstone of young people’s lives. Concerns remain that young people who live their lives through their smartphone become less independent and resilient.

Without spoiling the ending, the book concludes sharing seven aspirations for adolescents:

  1. Being comfortable in their own skin;
  2. Recognising that it’s not all about me;
  3. Being able to seize the opportunity;
  4. Celebrating creativity;
  5. Developing a nuanced sense of perspective;
  6. Taking joy in true collaboration, and
  7. Seeing through the humbug of happiness.

I love these aspirations and can see plenty of opportunities for school, teachers and parents to help adolescents become the valued, prospering and positive adults that fit well into society.

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About @digicoled 447 Articles
Colin Hill – Founder, researcher and editor of ukedchat. Also a bit of a tech geek! Project management, design thinking, and metacognition.
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