Saturday, February 6, 2010

Only because you treat them as such

Early in the last century an idea was popularized: teens were classified as “adolescents,” not as adults, as had previously been the case. As Dr. Robert Epstein has shown, in his convincing book, The Case Against Adolescence, the result of this infantilization has been almost wholly negative. We segmented teens away from adults, meaning their socialization into the adult world is delayed by years. This age compartmentalization continues until they graduate college, or graduate school. Often this results in physically mature adults acting emotionally like children much of the time. Since their socialization was continually in the hands of their peers they didn’t experience anything else.

In the past, many teens entered the workforce and quickly interacted with adults of all ages and ranks. Instead of being surrounded by their peers they were surrounded by experienced adults who were capable, through instruction and example, to show them how responsible, mature adults behave. It doesn’t take much reading of history to discover that teens of previous centuries, who accomplished great things, never realized they were supposed to act just like “big children.”

Even now, in college, we are definitely allowed to get away with things that we really should not...For example, I'm sure you've heard...

"It's not alcoholism until you're out of college."
"It's ok to be broke because you're a college student."

Can we stop treating perfectly capable human beings like little kids now? Thanks.

Another article here.


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