Dr. Lynn Ponton has extensive media experience. She has appeared on television on The Today Show more than five times; Dateline NBC twice; Good Morning America four times; NPR more than twenty-five times, including Fresh Air, Talk of the Nation and Morning Edition; and has held more than 500 media engagements. She has written for mainstream publications, including Newsweek.

Dr. Ponton is highly respected by both academic and popular communities. She is a distinguished professor with more than 25 years experience at the University of California in San Francisco.

Video & Audio

NPR – Morning Edition

Dr. Ponton appeared on NPR’s Morning Edition on May 10, 2010 in the story Q&A: Teaching Kids To Take Healthy Risks.

Part of raising a child is helping him or her define boundaries. It’s a balancing act that requires knowing when to let a child take risks in safe environments versus taking risks in a situation where they could endanger themselves or others.

NPR talked to two experts about the role of risk-taking in the teenage years, and how parents can help a teen engage in less risky behavior. Lynn Ponton is a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco; Laurence Steinberg is a professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Risk-Taking in Adolescents

KQED – Forum with Michael Krasny

Forum takes a look at increasing rates of depression and suicide amongst college students and adolescents. What are the factors responsible for the increase, and what can be done about them?


  • First novel, ‘Métis,’ mines ancestry

    June 09, 2011 | By Regan McMahon, Special to The Chronicle

    San Francisco author Lynn Ponton knows that teenagers are prone to risky behavior. An adolescent psychiatrist and professor at UCSF, she has written two books on the subject: “The Romance of Risk: Why Teenagers Do the Things They Do” and “The Sex Lives of Teenagers: Revealing the Secret World of Adolescent Boys and Girls.”

    But when Ponton wrote her first novel, “Métis: Mixed Blood Stories,” she focused on adolescents in her own family, digging into her roots among the Métis – descendants of Cree and Assiniboine Indian women who married French and Scottish men in Canada, formed a hybrid French Catholic and Indian culture and later fled Canada and intermarried with people in Wisconsin.

    Ponton, who grew up in Wheaton, Ill., outside Chicago, speaking a combination of French, Métis and English, is related to the Métis leader Louis Riel. Little known in the United States, Riel is a folk hero in Canada. He fought for Métis rights, led two resistance movements against the Canadian government, fled to exile in Montana and ultimately was executed in Canada for treason in 1885.

    In “Métis,” Ponton portrays four family members of different generations at age 16. The characters are based on her father, grandmother, daughter (actually a composite of her two daughters, one a filmmaker, one a doctor who just graduated from UCSF) and herself.
    Read this San Francisco Chronicle article.

  • Psychiatrist Explores a Subject Parents Dread – Teen Sex

    by Elizabeth Bell
    San Francisco Chronicle

    Parents can relax and forget the ever-dreaded “birds and the bees”  conversation. It turns out that’s not the best way to approach  teen sexuality after all, according to San Francisco psychiatrist  Lynn Ponton, the author of a newly published book, “The Sex  Lives of Teenagers.” Read this San Francisco Chronicle article?

  • Lynn Ponton; An Expert’s Eye on Teenage Sex, Risk and Abuse

    by Susan Gilbert
    New York Times

    Even the best parent-teenager relationships have their shares of disconnects, and it is hardly surprising that they often occur on the subject of sex. Beyond a certain point, parents can only guess what their children are thinking, feeling and doing — and hope that they are doing it safely. Read the New York Times article?