Palisadian Ellen Galinsky, president of the Work and Families Institute and author of numerous books on child development, has published her latest work, The Breakthrough Years: A New Scientific Framework For Raising Thriving Teens. Her book offers a hopeful and inspiring approach to parenting teens with a focus on their changing brains. Underpinned by science and relentlessly optimistic, Galinsky mines conversations with teens and parents as she outlines strategies to help navigate this sometimes challenging time.

As research, Galinsky spent years interviewing psychologists, neuroscientists, educators and sociologists based all over the country and in Europe. My partner Jennifer Hamblett and I (Mighty Egg Productions) happen to have had a front row seat to this meticulous process. We were tasked with filming the interviews and creating short informative films to illustrate how the researcher’s work might illuminate real world scenarios.

This was a plum assignment in journalistic filmmaking! It was also an on–the–job Master’s program in adolescent development. Backed by her research, Ellen cares deeply that parents – and teens – understand that teens are not operating from a point of deficit, and that many of the behaviors parents find challenging are actually necessary and important steps towards adulthood. It’s a novel approach. While working on this project I’ve said repeatedly that I wished I’d been privy to Ellen’s work when my kids were teens.

If you’re trying to better understand why your teen is behaving the way they are, how you might communicate more effectively with them and how everyone might operate with less misplaced emotion and frustration, then this book is for you.

Galinsky will speak about her book and more at the Palisades Community Center on Friday, May 17 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $15. Go to www.palisadescc.org for details.