The Wall Street Journal - ‘WHAT’S WRONG WITH THE TEENAGE MIND?’
Some serious food for thought here. The issue of the unique upside-down quality pervasive in our generation’s youth is one that interests me personally. Not only I, but the concerned and often equally perplexed adults of the ages have wondered the same thing- what the hell is going on with teens these days? My boy Socrates mused,
"Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers."
It may be true that today’s teens share the same qualities that Socrates and your grandmother complained about, but I definitely believe that the nature of the teen of the Digital Age is a lot weirder and quite different. The realm has changed; at what other point in time has there been such a concept as sexting? Or the hundreds of other products of the new millennium that have come to define the 2012 adolescent?
These factors are what make an age-old issue all the more fascinating. Here is a fresh take on it with a psychological underpinning.
"The crucial new idea is that there are two different neural and psychological systems that interact to turn children into adults… Recent studies in the neuroscientist B.J. Casey’s lab at Cornell University suggest that adolescents aren’t reckless because they underestimate risks, but because they overestimate rewards—or, rather, find rewards more rewarding than adults do. The reward centers of the adolescent brain are much more active than those of either children or adults… What teenagers want most of all are social rewards, especially the respect of their peers…
In contemporary life, the relationship between these two systems has changed dramatically. Puberty arrives earlier, and the motivational system kicks in earlier too…
There do seem to be many young adults who are enormously smart and knowledgeable but directionless, who are enthusiastic and exuberant but unable to commit to a particular kind of work or a particular love until well into their 20s or 30s. And there is the graver case of children who are faced with the uncompromising reality of the drive for sex, power and respect, without the expertise and impulse control it takes to ward off unwanted pregnancy or violence.”
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