Book details

The Breakthrough Years

A New Scientific Framework for Raising Thriving Teens

Author: Ellen Galinsky

The Breakthrough Years

The Breakthrough Years

About This Book

Blending cutting-edge research with engaging storytelling, The Breakthrough Years offers readers a paradigm-shifting comprehensive understanding of adolescence.


Page Count
On Sale

Book Details

Blending cutting-edge research with engaging storytelling, The Breakthrough Years offers readers a paradigm-shifting comprehensive understanding of adolescence.

“Just wait until they’re a teenager!”

Many parents of newborns have heard this warning about the stressful phase that’s to come. But what if it doesn’t have to be that way?

Child development expert Ellen Galinsky challenges widely held assumptions about adolescents and offers new ways for parents and others to better understand and interact with them in a way that helps them thrive.

By combining the latest research on cognitive neuroscience with an unprecedented and extensive set of studies of young people nine through nineteen and their families, Galinsky reveals, among other things, that adolescents don’t want to separate completely from their parents but seek a different type of relationship; that they want to be helpers rather than be helped; and that social media can become a positive influence for teens.

Galinsky’s Shared Solutions framework and Possibilities Mindset show you how to turn daily conflicts into opportunities for problem-solving where both teens and parents feel listened to and respected; how to encourage positive risk-taking in your child like standing up for themselves, making new friends, and helping their communities; and how to promote five essential executive function–based skills that can help them succeed now and in the future.

The Breakthrough Years recasts adolescence as a time of possibility for teens and adults, offering breakthrough opportunities for connection.

Imprint Publisher

Flatiron Books



In The News

“This book smashes common stereotypes of tweens and teens. Ellen Galinsky marshals extensive evidence to reveal what adolescents today are really like—and how to help them grow and flourish.”
– Adam Grant, author of Hidden Potential and Think Again

“A masterpiece weaving together current scientific discoveries, key insights from extensive interviews with teens and parents, and empowering suggestions – this book is a gem! Comprehensive and with ready-to-apply suggestions for any adult caring for an adolescent in these challenging modern times, The Breakthrough Years offers us all a practical path to cultivating resilience and wellbeing for our next generation.”
– Daniel J. Siegel, M.D., author of Brainstorm, Executive Director of Mindsight Institute

"Grounded in science and rich with real-life examples, The Breakthrough Years beautifully explains the inner workings of the teenage mind and details exactly what adolescents need - and deserve - in order to thrive. Ellen Galinsky's compassionate call-to-action is an essential guide for anyone raising, educating, or caring for teenagers."
– Lisa Damour, author of The Emotional Lives of Teenagers

"This book is a gift! A true treasure trove of evidence-based wisdom on adolescent development. Beautifully written, extensively researched, and full of specific and actionable advice, The Breakthrough Years is essential reading for anyone who has wondered what we can do to help the teenagers we love thrive. I loved it!"
– Angela Duckworth, author of Grit

"Destined to be a classic, Ellen Galinsky’s new book, The Breakthrough Years is a breakthrough in its own right. It gives us a whole new view of adolescence based on the latest research and provides the tools we need to understand our teenagers and help them thrive. She’s the gold standard when it comes to parenting!"
– Michèle Borba, Ed.D., author of Thrivers

"So often the narrative about adolescence tells us our children are in trouble. This meticulously researched book is different. It highlights the timing of heightened adolescent brain plasticity, thus giving us an opportunity to support adolescents and the tools to navigate these changes. If you have, care for, or care about an adolescent, this book will change your relationship and most importantly inspire you—not frighten you—in the process.”
– Aliza Pressman, PhD, Author of The Five Principles of Parenting; Host of Raising Good Humans Podcast; Co-Founder The Mount Sinai Parenting Center

"Ellen Galinsky has written a singularly important, creatively unique, and timely book. The Breakthrough Years seamlessly integrates cutting-edge research; the cumulative knowledge of youth program professionals; and the wisdom, insight, and decades of experience of its author. This book is required reading for scholars, practitioners, parents, and youth themselves. I could not put it down...a superb contribution to science and society."
– Richard M. Lerner, Ph.D., Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University

"Solutions, practical advice, and insights are what we need right now. Ellen Galinsky’s connection of research with the voices of young people and their families is a singular contribution to educators and the communities they serve.”
– Mort Sherman, Ed.D., Senior Associate Executive Director, Leadership Network, AASA The School Superintendents Association

Galinsky’s love for adolescents as individuals and for the developmental period of adolescence shines through on every page. This is absolutely the most informative, compelling, and passionate book on adolescents and adolescence I have ever read. I will be quoting it heavily for years to come.”
– Karen Pittman, Founding Partner, Knowledge to Power Catalysts

"Ellen Galinsky taught us long ago how much adults mattered to teens, even as so many others were (wrongly!) trying to portray the generations as emotionally disconnected. Now, reflecting the genuine respect she has for adolescents and families, The Breakthrough Years, guides us how to make the difference in young lives by giving us the strategies and tools to respond to what young people say they want from us. This meaningful, extraordinarily well-written and thoroughly-researched book is the indispensable guide you have been waiting for to learn how to seize the opportunity adolescence offers."
– Kenneth Ginsburg, MD, MS Ed, Founding Director of The Center for Parent and Teen Communication, and author of Building Resilience in Children and Teens

"Ellen Galinsky’s The Breakthrough Years is a must-read book for adolescents, parents, educators, researchers, and anyone with an interest in positive youth development. This book is not only timely but is also culturally and contextually relevant, providing insights on core elements for fostering positive developmental outcomes for all youth."
– Velma McBride Murry, PhD, Professor, Departments of Health Policy & Human and Organizational Development, Vanderbilt University

“Finally! A front row seat at the very essence of human development, one that challenges many of the assumptions about adolescents that are just plain wrong. The Breakthrough Years is a brilliant, accessible guide to understanding the adolescent brain and what teens themselves want us to know about what this incredibly exciting time in their lives means to them and the futures they aspire to.”
– Pamela Cantor, M.D., Founder, Turnaround for Children

"A tour de force! Finally a science-based instruction manual for the adolescent brain that parents, educators, policy-makers, and teens themselves will benefit from reading and living by! The Breakthrough Years combines amazing insights on what teens want adults to know with an outstanding and easy to digest review of current findings in psychology and neuroscience. Don’t attempt to raise a teenager without reading this book first!"
– Mitch Prinstein, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer of the American Psychological Association, author of Popular

About the Creators

The Breakthrough Years

The Breakthrough Years

The Breakthrough Years
The Breakthrough Years