The Myth of Adolescence

Discussion in 'Family Forum' started by JBaldwin, Aug 26, 2008.

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  1. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I read this blog by BrandonAdams (posted on another thread about Sunday School).

    The Myth of Adolescence « Contrast[/QUOTE]

    I have been thinking about this on and off for some time since I am struggling with a 13-year old daughter right now, and I have found that many of my problems with her have been solved by treating her more as an adult than as a child.

    Are we systematically destroying our society by letting our teenagers run free instead of grooming them into adulthood?

    I ran into a friend of mine who homeschools her children. She mentioned that her daughter at age 16 is finishing up high school this year. She said, we started working and as she finished one subject, we just kept putting her in another and before we knew it, she was almost done. In her home school, there are no "grade levels" or time schedules to follow.

    I have repeatedly seen this in homeschool familes where adolescents are ready to launch out into the world at age 16 having completed their high school work. The young man (homeschooled) who wrote the book Eragonwas age 16 when he wrote it. He was finished with high school and needed something to do before he started college.

    I wonder sometimes, as is mentioned in BrandonAdam's blog, if we are short changing teens, because of age segregation.
  2. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  3. JM

    JM Puritan Board Professor

    Thank you.
  4. smhbbag

    smhbbag Puritan Board Senior

    I've been running into a theme repeatedly over the last few years, and it is especially the case with teenagers.

    There have been more cases than I can count of people who I (internally) write off, or believe to be incapable of a task, come through it with a lot of effort and a little patience on my part. It seems like people often rise to the level of what you expect of them, as most of us just want to do the bare minimum to get by. The solution, in most cases, is then to make the minimum expectation a genuinely respectable or honorable result. And, most unexpectedly, a little trust and less supervision (along with increased expectations), brings out internal motivation on their part that they had never shown before. This has been the case with some people at work, and with some of my younger extended family.
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  5. queenknitter

    queenknitter Puritan Board Freshman

    Well, the notion of a "teenager" wasn't created until WW2, so yeah . . . it's a social construction. I've got a stack of books in my reading pile that talk about the changing definitions of childhood and adolescence. It's a really fascinating read. _The Child in Christian Thought_ is one really good reader.

  6. wturri78

    wturri78 Puritan Board Freshman

    I would agree that we're artificially extending childhood at least through the teen years by lowering expectations of what young people are capable of understanding and doing. For that matter, I think childhood is extended well into college and even beyond. I'm 30 now, and I still hear from old college buddies who spend most of their spare time playing video games and their weekends at bars, still trying to evade reality...I knew many people who were hooked on shows like "Friends" who thought that reality was a group of people in their middle 30's still living like kids. And that's the life they're trying to live now.

    Our first child was born 2 weeks before my 30th birthday, and I actually had someone ask why I started having kids so young!!!

    We should absolutely challenge kids to live up to their potential and not force an artificial "adolescence" onto them that gives them a place to hide and an excuse to give for dragging out childhood.

    Just my humble :2cents:
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2008
  7. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor


    We had our first when I was 25 and our second when I was 27. The vast majority of my married friends who are of the same age were aghast that we would have kids so young. Often we heard "What about your careers (especially towards my wife)? What about me time?"

    Of course this is not a self-perpetuating lie only promulgated by the young as we can see by the inordinate and inexplicable ads for "male enhancers" and ED drugs as well as the ads promoting plastic surgery and other age-defying remedies.

    Narcissism pure and simple.
  8. wturri78

    wturri78 Puritan Board Freshman

    I once read some quote to the effect of "Why do people waste time searching for fountains of eternal youth, when they can already drink from the fountain of eternal life?" Great quote, but I just can't remember where I read it. I probably paraphrased it too. If I paraphrased it enough, I could pass it off as mine! But I can't be sure until I find the original :think:
  9. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    If I remember correctly, anthropologists have found that the concept of adolescence as a period of rebellion correlates with societies where children are expected to eventually move out of the house and live some distance away. In societies where children end up living with or very near their parents or their spouse's parents, this idea is unknown.
  10. rjlynam

    rjlynam Puritan Board Sophomore

    We homeschool and have come under the conviction that our children need to be functional adults at the age of 13, not 16. That is what we are shooting for. We believe this to be the Biblical model.
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