` How about a science-oriented article - which has a small chance of ending up in the school newspaper, The Clipper - which took but a few days to write the thousand-word bulk of it... and then I had to condense it down to about 450 words, leaving out all sorts of information, though I hope it still appears relatively well-rounded.
` My teacher thinks it's very interesting, though. What do you think?
Stormy adolescence: A cultural invention?
Keeping teenagers in an extended childhood is a bad idea, say researchers.
Some EVCC students are still having a frustrating time trying to establish themselves as adults. Others often deal with manipulation from their own teenagers. But why do we go through this awkward stage? Is it even necessary?
Interestingly, various anthropologists, psychologists and historians have produced a wealth of research that suggests culture plays a large role in the amount of stress we experience as teens.
“That’s something that tends to be under-emphasized,” says EVCC psychology instructor Kamil Hamaoui. “It’s easy not to notice the influence of culture when you’re immersed in it.”
Just when is a person capable of handling his or her own life? Consider this: For millennia, teenagers were adults. It wasn’t until recent years that teens in Western nations did not have a job or family to worry about. Today, they aren’t generally trusted with that type of thing!
It is true that the adolescent brain is not quite finished forming, but is this enough to keep most, or at least some, teens from behaving as responsible adults?
Mattie Davis-Wolfe of EVCC learning services says; “If you’re asking if the teenage brain can do these things, certainly. Is it totally matured? No.”
Does it necessarily need to be?
According to a study on the teens of 186 pre-industrial societies, they were expected to behave like adults, spent most of their time with adults, and also had very few mental, emotional and social problems compared to Western teens. Historical research shows that this pattern used to be the norm everywhere.
Meanwhile, teens in our culture are generally perceived as too incompetent for the adult world and are more likely to get into trouble both with their parents and the law. What’s going on?
Psychologist Robert Epstein writes that when teens are segregated from adults, they form a ‘teen culture’ and as a consequence learn about the world from “the last people on earth they should be learning from” – their media-inundated peers. Thus, they become isolated from the adult world, creating unnecessary conflicts.
Says Davis-Wolfe; “My idea is that ... the more rules that parents make for their teenage children, the more they rebel.” This is also supported by Epstein’s research.
From these studies, it seems that teens have a more positive attitude when they have a larger amount of control over their lives. This idea was behind
Interestingly, some teens are actually in charge of real towns today as mayors. Is that surprising?
“We keep our young dependent on their families much longer than many other societies,” Davis-Wolfe says. That’s just not wise, the researchers maintain.
` Not too shabby, eh? (Top-notch for a Clipper article, as most of those are really badly written!) Of course, I didn't get to go into any type of subtle detail, though I tried. Basically, my main message was that teens are 'beginner adults' and it is important for them to start living like adults (to some degree) when their brains are at that stage, and that the more you treat them like children, the more they are childish and get angry about it.
` I also had another idea in addition to what was put in the article: First of all, babies and young children have 'critical development periods' where they must use a part of the brain or it withers. (Davis-Wolfe described to me the case of a boy who was blind in one eye because he wore a medical eye patch as a baby.) The same goes for acquiring language ability and so on.
` This is because young children are going through a lot of brain growth, and as they get older, many of their new brain cells and synapses die off; they could have been used but weren't. (This is because brain cells are 'expensive' and it's better to get rid of them quickly if they're useless - your brain takes up 15% of all your energy!)
` This 'pruning' happens normally, and even moreso in cases where children don't develop their senses properly or don't learn to speak until they're older (in which case they can learn words but aren't able to form sentences).
` Teens go through another growth spurt for the brain. Perhaps, not teaching them to be more adult-like hampers their ability to behave as an adult. In any case, it seems to delay this ability (and, amusingly, I find that some adults are still quite immature). So, on yet another level it would seem that being accepted as an adult at this age is healthy for one's brain development!
` If anyone has read this far, good job! I have something else: A little thing I did for an unfinished psychology extra-credit assignment! You see, I took a psychology-approved personality test called Big-5. It described the five most obvious components to one's personality, which surfaced after extensive research.
` Since not even my teacher is going to look at it, I might as well post it for anyone who accidentally bumps into this graphic (which looks really weird on my blog):
|Closed-Minded||Open to New Experiences|
|Calm / Relaxed||Nervous / High-Strung|
What aspects of personality does this tell me about?
There has been much research on how people describe others, and five major dimensions of human personality have been found. They are often referred to as the OCEAN model of personality, because of the acronym from the names of the five dimensions.
|Openness to Experience/Intellect|
| ||High scorers tend to be original, creative, curious, complex; Low scorers tend to be conventional, down to earth, narrow interests, uncreative.|
| || ||You enjoy having novel experiences and seeing things in new ways.|| ( |
| ||High scorers tend to be reliable, well-organized, self-disciplined, careful; Low scorers tend to be disorganized, undependable, negligent.|
| || ||You tend to do things somewhat haphazardly.|| ( |
| ||High scorers tend to be sociable, friendly, fun loving, talkative; Low scorers tend to be introverted, reserved, inhibited, quiet.|
| || ||You are relatively social and enjoy the company of others.|| ( |
| ||High scorers tend to be good natured, sympathetic, forgiving, courteous; Low scorers tend to be critical, rude, harsh, callous.|
| || ||You tend to consider the feelings of others.|| ( |
| ||High scorers tend to be nervous, high-strung, insecure, worrying; Low scorers tend to be calm, relaxed, secure, hardy.|
| || ||You probably remain calm, even in tense situations.|| (|
` I suppose that's fairly accurate, though it's still pretty vague because it only measures a few things. Try it if you like.
` I also took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter for the assignment (a less scientifically-constructed test, though also more specific and prone to being less accurate), and it said I was an 'Artisan'. If I wanted to know what kind of artisan I was (and to see what learning style would suit me best), I had to pay $14.95, which I decided wasn't worth it.
` (I am, however, willing to bet ten bucks that I'm an ESFP - 'Performer'.)
` Besides, rent was technically due today and I won't be able to write a check until the seventh. Let's just say Lou fully owes me one grand and he's going to pay it back with his amazing movie star earnings, etc.