taking teenagers seriously

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Robin S » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:22 am UTC

Well, I think that if you generally expect 13-year-olds to behave like adults then some problems might be caused by your reactions when the majority fail to conform to your expectations.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Dan Frank » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:55 am UTC

Robin S wrote:Well, I think that if you generally expect 13-year-olds to behave like adults then some problems might be caused by your reactions when the majority fail to conform to your expectations.


Before we discuss what sort of behavior I should expect from 13 year olds, could you name a couple examples of behavior I could reasonably expect from adults? So far, that list is vanishingly small.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Solt » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:23 pm UTC

Dan Frank wrote:What really irritates me is that the situations in which a parent is most likely to "put their foot down", and use the "because I say so" argument are when they have been unable to convince their child that they're right. But if they're unable to present a reasonable and rational argument, isn't that precisely the least likely time you'd want to just take them at their word? Godwin said it much better than I ever could...


No, because parents tend to have at least 20-25 more years of life experience than their children. They are double to triple in age. There is understanding that only comes with experience. By default that means that the wisdom is not necessarily based on logic, otherwise a kid would be able to understand it. Furthermore, there may be times when parents do not want to say certain things for whatever reason, but they have their reasons.

As I grow older, I've found that my parents have been right about almost everything, and there were times when my insistence on being "treated like an adult" caused me to make a worse decision. At the time I certainly thought I was right and I really gave my parents hell for it, but if I went back and looked at all those situations now, I probably would have sided with my parents on most of them.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Robin S » Fri Nov 02, 2007 12:30 pm UTC

I agree with Solt. Obviously parents aren't omniscient, but I have found recently that the majority of my conflicts with my own parents are over misinterpreted phrases, or things that I do but wish (just as much as they do) that I didn't. So it's not really about a difference of opinion - and this is before I go through the "wisdom-giving" experience of fully-independent adult life, with permanent work, home, children etc.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby H.E.L.e.N. » Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:27 pm UTC

I'm not sure how this fits into the discussion, but I'm twentysomething, and my parents had a very controlled idea of who I was supposed to be when I grew up. It was very necessary for me to break from this idea, or I would not be a functional, independent person. There is plenty of knowledge to be had from older generations, but it is far from absolute wisdom.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:36 pm UTC

Insig wrote:(the moment you are no longer a teenager you're an entirely different person, think about it, think of a nineteen year-old. Think of a twenty year old. They seem not at all alike, do they?)


I realize that you're being sarcastic here, but actually, most people I know (myself included) changed far more drastically in the 18-22 area than at most previous periods of their lives.

Arguably, though, this is because much of the period *before* that time had been defined by constant struggle with or oversight by their parents, which was retarding their development and generally holding them back from who they were going to be.

Also (and I'm thinking of a couple particular examples), it was not always a good change.

Solt wrote:No, because parents tend to have at least 20-25 more years of life experience than their children. They are double to triple in age. There is understanding that only comes with experience. By default that means that the wisdom is not necessarily based on logic, otherwise a kid would be able to understand it. Furthermore, there may be times when parents do not want to say certain things for whatever reason, but they have their reasons.


To give a counterexample, my mother has basically said that in most of our disagreements when I was growing up, she really just didn't have a good reason, and a lot of times was just trying to do what she thought my dad wanted because he was a controlling, domineering shithead and she was (at the time) too weak to make her own decisions (this has since changed drastically, and I'm proud of her and such).

So, you know. Parents: not always amazing at what they do. There's not really an interview for the job.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Azrael » Fri Nov 02, 2007 1:56 pm UTC

Belial wrote:So, you know. Parents: not always amazing at what they do. There's not really an interview for the job.
Which is why "collective wisdom" is a far better judge than the singular variety. Heck, I don't expect teenagers to behave like adults, but I *do* expect them to believe (not follow blindly, mind -- more of acknowledge) the collective wisdom of people who have been there.

... just like I expect adults who are entering new (to them personally) territory to listen to those who have been there. I guess the distillation would be "I'll treat you like an adult provided you return the favor." Might be a high bar for society as a whole, nevermind just teens.

The relevant microcosm that removes physical age from the query is the relation between time spent on a forum (... not post count :wink:) and an increased understanding how things work there.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby The Spherical Cow » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:16 pm UTC

I think that there can sometimes be an issue with a difference in expectation between what some teenagers and what adults see as what being treated seriously means. Especially within the context of discussions.

Many of the teenagers I know appear to believe that having your argument heard and then having everyone respect that argument is what is meant by being taken seriously - whatever the content of, and reasoning behind that argument. It seems to come from the "equal" idea that everyone's opinion is as valid as everyone else's - which they then confusingly extend to arguments too.

Adults, on the other hand, view being taken seriously by having your argument accepted on its own merits, rather than purely because you have made it. If that means the argument is tore to shreds once you've put it across, so be it. (At least, many of the adults I know hold this view).

School seems to be the place that this attitude of "all my opinions are valid and equal" is instilled. The real world starts to get rid of it.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:23 pm UTC

Just to point this out, since apparently we've been missing it some. Basically every argument posed here so far has been of the form... "In general, when someone's writing is poor, I assume they are young, because you're more likely (or I have been in my experience) to find poor writing coming from a young person than an adult," countered with "but that's not true all the time, for example." To which I have to ask the people offering the second half of the argument, do you disagree with the original statement, or are you simply reinforcing that this is a generalization and should not be applied blindly?

And another thing that should be taken into account when talking about parents/parenting, it's not their job to be the kid's friend, it's their job to raise them with what they believe to be a solid set of values, give them an education (to the best of both the parent's and the kid's abilities), feed them, clothe them, keep them relatively and reasonably safe, and get them up and running in a life of their own. Of course, it's a rare occurrence that a child and parent have a truly very solid relationship all the way through life, and it's almost a certainty that things will go awry at some point. However, the "because I said so" card is not a completely invalid card to play, for a couple of reasons. 1. Society says that adults are responsible for their kids and the actions of said kids. As such, some amount of power must be granted. 2. The ever popular "I'm doing what I think is best for you" should not always include a full explanation of *why*, since knowing the why is not always in the child's best interest.

Now, the first, IMHO, is much more important than the second, both because the first is true at (nearly) all times, while the second is a special case, but I think that, because of these two reasons (and possibly more, if someone's got one or two to throw at me) the "because I said so" routine is not by definition evil, unfair, illogical, whatever.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Girl™ » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:26 pm UTC

malarkie wrote:You think that maybe the problem with forming a coherent arguement isn't inherent with the teen? (American) schools don't help students develop reasoning skills or debate unless you're in a club or an honors class. I went through two years of high school before I found a teacher who could defend his subject without paraphrasing 'because I am the teacher.'


WORD. I find it really distressing that there seem to be virtually no public high schools in the country offering critical thinking courses. If high school students are capable enough to learn to hold an organized, structured debate, why wouldn't they be capable of learning the underlying concepts of critical thinking and logic?

The Spherical Cow wrote:School seems to be the place that this attitude of "all my opinions are valid and equal" is instilled. The real world starts to get rid of it.


I don't know if that's true across the board. In some schools I've been to, the attitude was more akin to, "Only the opinions of the teachers are valid." But I've seen that permissive attitude as well, and it does cause a problem. I think if teens were consistently held to the same standards of argument that you would hold for a college student, that attitude would start to go away.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:29 pm UTC

Girl™ wrote:
malarkie wrote:You think that maybe the problem with forming a coherent arguement isn't inherent with the teen? (American) schools don't help students develop reasoning skills or debate unless you're in a club or an honors class. I went through two years of high school before I found a teacher who could defend his subject without paraphrasing 'because I am the teacher.'


WORD. I find it really distressing that there seem to be virtually no public high schools in the country offering critical thinking courses. If high school students are capable enough to learn to hold an organized, structured debate, why wouldn't they be capable of learning the underlying concepts of critical thinking and logic?


I'd prefer it in elementary school myself.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:33 pm UTC

But, unfortunately, you have to go to *college* most of the time to get it, and by then it's far, far too late.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:34 pm UTC

Belial wrote:But, unfortunately, you have to go to *college* most of the time to get it, and by then it's far, far too late.


Heck, at my school I believe it was a second year course.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Girl™ » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:38 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
Girl™ wrote:WORD. I find it really distressing that there seem to be virtually no public high schools in the country offering critical thinking courses. If high school students are capable enough to learn to hold an organized, structured debate, why wouldn't they be capable of learning the underlying concepts of critical thinking and logic?


I'd prefer it in elementary school myself.


I agree; the earlier the better. That would probably be a lot harder to get put in, though, since it wouldn't just be a matter of adding an elective course. Pity.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby The Spherical Cow » Fri Nov 02, 2007 3:55 pm UTC

Girl™ wrote:
zenten wrote:
Girl™ wrote:WORD. I find it really distressing that there seem to be virtually no public high schools in the country offering critical thinking courses. If high school students are capable enough to learn to hold an organized, structured debate, why wouldn't they be capable of learning the underlying concepts of critical thinking and logic?


I'd prefer it in elementary school myself.


I agree; the earlier the better. That would probably be a lot harder to get put in, though, since it wouldn't just be a matter of adding an elective course. Pity.


It could be added in to the social education part of school (assuming it's similar to UK schools). Instead of spending so much time on teaching kids "how" to be happy, part of it could be given over to lessons on how to think critically.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:00 pm UTC

There's a social education part of elementary school now?
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby The Spherical Cow » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:09 pm UTC

Belial wrote:There's a social education part of elementary school now?


Well, I can't speak for America, but in the UK at least I think there has always been a social education part to what you do at school, even though it's not explicitly labelled as such.

Typical structure at my primary school -

Morning: Maths & Language (i.e. English)
Afternoon: Varied, with science, history, religion, music, and art all coming up at certain times. This is where the social bit came in too, and where time could be given over to some critical thinking.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Fri Nov 02, 2007 4:41 pm UTC

Belial wrote:There's a social education part of elementary school now?


There was when I was in school. It was called "social science".

I learned a bunch of uses for whale blubber, and other things that have not proved useful to me or even that interesting since, and thus largely forgotten.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Eleyras » Fri Nov 02, 2007 5:53 pm UTC

Belial wrote:But, unfortunately, you have to go to *college* most of the time to get it, and by then it's far, far too late.

Unfortunately, this is not always found in college either. My EWRT1A course is a great example of students who have missed the logic train.

I am trying to imagine my former classmates being forced to think, without someone sitting next to them off whom they could copy their ideas. It's not working.

On teenage rationality: I think this has a great deal to do with the people the teenagers are debating. If they are only discussing with their peers, who do not always require rationality, they will not have to develop it to win the argument. However, if they begin arguing with very rational adults, they will find their current strategies ineffective. This of course assumes that they are not close minded and that they would like to win their arguments. Teenagers have an impressive ability to rise (or fall) to the standards that people around them set. This is what makes the current education system so detrimental in many cases. The standards are set so low that teenagers do not have to work to meet them, meaning they see no reason to do so and have no goal for which they can strive, which would allow them to grow.

Solt wrote:Yes, it's definitely productive for the people who are participating in the discussion. But it doesn't really work so well for the third party who's just trying to learn something. Unless you're lucky, only 2 people learn from an argument between those two people, because of they way it is structured. When you are arguing, you point out the holes in the other person's reasoning, and you certainly don't bring up the holes in your own argument. This is a practice in figuring out who is better at arguing, not in pursuing truth. Who's to say that a third party would defend a point in the same way as the side he agrees with? Who's to say the third party operates on the same assumptions as the side he agrees with? If their approaches are different, will the third party learn anything? No, the argument wont even address his points!

If the argument takes place on fora, the third party can read the argument in its entirety and post if they wish. This is what I am doing.

On "because I said so": At a certain age, say, eight, I would not have the capability to understand what my parents' reasoning was behind their actions. However, as I went into teenage years, I might have learned from having the reasoning explained.

It's odd, but my parents treat me much better now that I have a job. Most of their commands come in the form of suggestions now, suggestions that I can ignore or take depending on my own reasoning. Nothing changed between when I was unemployed two months ago and employed now, but apparently it makes me more responsible. It frustrates me that I could not become employed earlier, but nobody wants to take a chance on a teenager.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby libellule » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:23 pm UTC

Girl™ wrote:
malarkie wrote:You think that maybe the problem with forming a coherent arguement isn't inherent with the teen? (American) schools don't help students develop reasoning skills or debate unless you're in a club or an honors class. I went through two years of high school before I found a teacher who could defend his subject without paraphrasing 'because I am the teacher.'


WORD. I find it really distressing that there seem to be virtually no public high schools in the country offering critical thinking courses. If high school students are capable enough to learn to hold an organized, structured debate, why wouldn't they be capable of learning the underlying concepts of critical thinking and logic?

The Spherical Cow wrote:School seems to be the place that this attitude of "all my opinions are valid and equal" is instilled. The real world starts to get rid of it.


I don't know if that's true across the board. In some schools I've been to, the attitude was more akin to, "Only the opinions of the teachers are valid." But I've seen that permissive attitude as well, and it does cause a problem. I think if teens were consistently held to the same standards of argument that you would hold for a college student, that attitude would start to go away.

Ok, you've finally got onto something with which I can slightly disagree. There was far too much harmony in this thread.

I believe the underlying concepts of critical thinking and logic are best acquired by the *user* rather than imparted by teachers. In my opinion, what is lacking in American schools is the foundation of knowledge from which this thinking springs. This foundation can be built on one's own, by extensive reading on a wide variety of subjects, or taught by instructors in a more traditional classroom setting, but it must be present before coherent opinions can be developed, let alone debated. I have seen many teens here (the US) with great debating skills, critical, logical, but the opinions expressed are often trite at everything but first glimpse/audition, because their critical thinking and logic are exercised on a very shallow pond of knowledge.

This is a subtle departure from that which is being advocated by GirlTM, but I do believe it is what might differentiate the smart teenager from his/her adult counterpart.

I don't particularly like Reinhold Niebuhr, but I do like this one from him:
"Wisdom is the Triumph of Experience over Dogma".

Gotta have the dogma before you can win (imhafo).

Overall, though, yeah, what Insig says.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:31 pm UTC

I believe the underlying concepts of critical thinking and logic are best acquired by the *user* rather than imparted by teachers. In my opinion, what is lacking in American schools is the foundation of knowledge from which this thinking springs. This foundation can be built on one's own, by extensive reading on a wide variety of subjects, or taught by instructors in a more traditional classroom setting, but it must be present before coherent opinions can be developed, let alone debated. I have seen many teens here (the US) with great debating skills, critical, logical, but the opinions expressed are often trite at everything but first glimpse/audition, because their critical thinking and logic are exercised on a very shallow pond of knowledge.


I've seen two extreme situations:

1) Teens who have great debate and logical thinking skills, but incredibly trite and ignorant opinions. These are usually the really "smart" kids with an instinctive grasp of logic who decided they didn't need to do anything like learning facts or absorbing knowledge in class.

2) Teens who have a great wealth of knowledge but have no idea how to draw valid connections and conclusions from it, and end up coming up with wild, illogical courses of discussion founded in accurate knowledge and backing but only loosely involving any kind of sense. These tend to be the ones who paid attention in class, but didn't have a lot of grounding in any kind of critical thinking or logic.

I think supplementing the teaching of knowledge with the teaching of basic logic can greatly benefit the second group. I don't know that there's much helping the first.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby aleflamedyud » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:32 pm UTC

However, the "because I said so" card is not a completely invalid card to play, for a couple of reasons. 1. Society says that adults are responsible for their kids and the actions of said kids. As such, some amount of power must be granted. 2. The ever popular "I'm doing what I think is best for you" should not always include a full explanation of *why*, since knowing the why is not always in the child's best interest.

I think that the ensuing arguments and strife actually restrict the "child's" development far more than blindly following the parents advice aids it.

After all, don't we refer to people who always naively do as they're told as "childlike"? Critical thinking and functional free will (including capacity for disobedience) are traits of adults, so why do we try as much as possible to quash them in "adolescents"*, who supposedly spend their time transitioning from childhood to adulthood?

* -- Adolescence being a life stage that modern society invented because it could no longer find any way to gainfully employ all those teenagers as adults and would rather that they sit down, shut up, and learn to do what they're told in factory jobs anyway.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Eleyras » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:35 pm UTC

The first would be best helped by offering a reasonable and not ignorant opinion and then arguing it, forcing them to seek references. As one of the "smart" kids, I hate being seen as ignorant, so there has been more than one internet debate put on hold for a trip to Google/encyclopedia/the library. Logical but trite or ignorant arguments are easily destroyed with the phrase "Did you know....?"

If they have logical thinking skills, after a few such arguments they will realize why paying at least moderate attention in class is necessary*

*until the teacher covers the same thing 2-3 times, but that's another story...
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:47 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
I believe the underlying concepts of critical thinking and logic are best acquired by the *user* rather than imparted by teachers. In my opinion, what is lacking in American schools is the foundation of knowledge from which this thinking springs. This foundation can be built on one's own, by extensive reading on a wide variety of subjects, or taught by instructors in a more traditional classroom setting, but it must be present before coherent opinions can be developed, let alone debated. I have seen many teens here (the US) with great debating skills, critical, logical, but the opinions expressed are often trite at everything but first glimpse/audition, because their critical thinking and logic are exercised on a very shallow pond of knowledge.


I've seen two extreme situations:

1) Teens who have great debate and logical thinking skills, but incredibly trite and ignorant opinions. These are usually the really "smart" kids with an instinctive grasp of logic who decided they didn't need to do anything like learning facts or absorbing knowledge in class.

2) Teens who have a great wealth of knowledge but have no idea how to draw valid connections and conclusions from it, and end up coming up with wild, illogical courses of discussion founded in accurate knowledge and backing but only loosely involving any kind of sense. These tend to be the ones who paid attention in class, but didn't have a lot of grounding in any kind of critical thinking or logic.

I think supplementing the teaching of knowledge with the teaching of basic logic can greatly benefit the second group. I don't know that there's much helping the first.


I was pretty much in the "#2" category. I still think I kind of am.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby libellule » Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:51 pm UTC

Belial wrote:1) Teens who have great debate and logical thinking skills, but incredibly trite and ignorant opinions. These are usually the really "smart" kids with an instinctive grasp of logic who decided they didn't need to do anything like learning facts or absorbing knowledge in class.

2) Teens who have a great wealth of knowledge but have no idea how to draw valid connections and conclusions from it, and end up coming up with wild, illogical courses of discussion founded in accurate knowledge and backing but only loosely involving any kind of sense. These tend to be the ones who paid attention in class, but didn't have a lot of grounding in any kind of critical thinking or logic.

I think supplementing the teaching of knowledge with the teaching of basic logic can greatly benefit the second group. I don't know that there's much helping the first.


The best help for the first group is.... age and experience. They're going to be complete asshats while they're young, but for all but the most arrogant, a few total losses will beat vincibility into them and teach them both humility and the need for knowledge. As I said in my previous post, the knowledge can then be acquired alone.

The second group can be quite painful, but there are probably educational tools available to help them ... cohere.

With respect to the "because I told you so" argument, this is an excellent way to make younger kids behave, and should be used far more frequently than the tortuous explanations with which I see parents indulging their kids every time their authority is challenged.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Fri Nov 02, 2007 7:58 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:
However, the "because I said so" card is not a completely invalid card to play, for a couple of reasons. 1. Society says that adults are responsible for their kids and the actions of said kids. As such, some amount of power must be granted. 2. The ever popular "I'm doing what I think is best for you" should not always include a full explanation of *why*, since knowing the why is not always in the child's best interest.

I think that the ensuing arguments and strife actually restrict the "child's" development far more than blindly following the parents advice aids it.

I'm assuming you meant to say that the argument restricts development far less?

aleflamedyud wrote:After all, don't we refer to people who always naively do as they're told as "childlike"? Critical thinking and functional free will (including capacity for disobedience) are traits of adults, so why do we try as much as possible to quash them in "adolescents"*, who supposedly spend their time transitioning from childhood to adulthood?

I don't know that a parent telling a child what to do quashes critical thinking. And free will (assuming it exists) is not something you can take away from a kid, or extinguish, without some serious mental trauma.

aleflamedyud wrote:* -- Adolescence being a life stage that modern society invented because it could no longer find any way to gainfully employ all those teenagers as adults and would rather that they sit down, shut up, and learn to do what they're told in factory jobs anyway.

Adolescence is most certainly a legitimate developmental stage and while it might have only become a recognized stage within the last couple hundred years, it's not some creation of society to keep kids down until it's legal for them to hold full time jobs.

libellule wrote:With respect to the "because I told you so" argument, this is an excellent way to make younger kids behave, and should be used far more frequently than the tortuous explanations with which I see parents indulging their kids every time their authority is challenged.

Holy shit, agreed.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:17 pm UTC

libellule wrote:
Belial wrote:1) Teens who have great debate and logical thinking skills, but incredibly trite and ignorant opinions. These are usually the really "smart" kids with an instinctive grasp of logic who decided they didn't need to do anything like learning facts or absorbing knowledge in class.

2) Teens who have a great wealth of knowledge but have no idea how to draw valid connections and conclusions from it, and end up coming up with wild, illogical courses of discussion founded in accurate knowledge and backing but only loosely involving any kind of sense. These tend to be the ones who paid attention in class, but didn't have a lot of grounding in any kind of critical thinking or logic.

I think supplementing the teaching of knowledge with the teaching of basic logic can greatly benefit the second group. I don't know that there's much helping the first.


The best help for the first group is.... age and experience. They're going to be complete asshats while they're young, but for all but the most arrogant, a few total losses will beat vincibility into them and teach them both humility and the need for knowledge. As I said in my previous post, the knowledge can then be acquired alone.

The second group can be quite painful, but there are probably educational tools available to help them ... cohere.

With respect to the "because I told you so" argument, this is an excellent way to make younger kids behave, and should be used far more frequently than the tortuous explanations with which I see parents indulging their kids every time their authority is challenged.


I disagree. The only time where it is warranted is when the issue is time sensitive, and the child should be given the opportunity to bring it up at a more appropriate time.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Belial » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:20 pm UTC

I disagree. The only time where it is warranted is when the issue is time sensitive, and the child should be given the opportunity to bring it up at a more appropriate time.


Note that any time your child is in public and is making noise, the issue is time sensitive. Because there is a running counter on how long I will listen to your child run around screaming its head off in a bookstore while you calmly explain why it should use its inside voice and sit still, before I punt it out a window.

Be advised.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:21 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
I disagree. The only time where it is warranted is when the issue is time sensitive, and the child should be given the opportunity to bring it up at a more appropriate time.


Note that any time your child is in public and is making noise, the issue is time sensitive. Because there is a running counter on how long I will listen to your child run around screaming its head off in a bookstore while you calmly explain why it should use its inside voice and sit still, before I punt it out a window.

Be advised.


Yes, I'm aware of that.

Mind you, putting my kid out a window will result in me doing my best to make sure you are now dead, as well as both of us facing assault (or worse) charges, but I get your meaning.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Dan Frank » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:40 pm UTC

Solt wrote:
Dan Frank wrote:What really irritates me is that the situations in which a parent is most likely to "put their foot down", and use the "because I say so" argument are when they have been unable to convince their child that they're right. But if they're unable to present a reasonable and rational argument, isn't that precisely the least likely time you'd want to just take them at their word? Godwin said it much better than I ever could...


No, because parents tend to have at least 20-25 more years of life experience than their children. They are double to triple in age. There is understanding that only comes with experience. By default that means that the wisdom is not necessarily based on logic, otherwise a kid would be able to understand it. Furthermore, there may be times when parents do not want to say certain things for whatever reason, but they have their reasons.


If their 'wisdom' isn't based on logic, it's based on... what? Anecdotes? I don't accept those as valid from strangers. I didn't accept those as valid from my parents. And I don't expect my kids to accept those as valid from me.

Why wouldn't they want to express their reasons? What if they're wrong?

That's the crux of the typical parent/child relationship, really. It's that for the most part, the parent doesn't even entertain the idea that they could be wrong. And abandoning fallibility is a great way to ensure you probably are wrong a substantial percent of the time.

Solt wrote:As I grow older, I've found that my parents have been right about almost everything, and there were times when my insistence on being "treated like an adult" caused me to make a worse decision. At the time I certainly thought I was right and I really gave my parents hell for it, but if I went back and looked at all those situations now, I probably would have sided with my parents on most of them.


That's great. I'm glad your parents knew you so well. In the scope of things, however, that doesn't mean much. There are plenty of people for whom this is not the case. As well as plenty of people for whom it shouldn't be the case, but their parents succeeded in fucking them up so badly that they really believe their parents were right.

Azrael wrote:Which is why "collective wisdom" is a far better judge than the singular variety. Heck, I don't expect teenagers to behave like adults, but I *do* expect them to believe (not follow blindly, mind -- more of acknowledge) the collective wisdom of people who have been there.

... just like I expect adults who are entering new (to them personally) territory to listen to those who have been there.


I have no problem with more experienced people sharing their experience with people who could benefit from it. That's a far cry from a more experienced person coercing someone into following a specific path "for their own benefit".

22/7 wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:After all, don't we refer to people who always naively do as they're told as "childlike"? Critical thinking and functional free will (including capacity for disobedience) are traits of adults, so why do we try as much as possible to quash them in "adolescents"*, who supposedly spend their time transitioning from childhood to adulthood?

I don't know that a parent telling a child what to do quashes critical thinking. And free will (assuming it exists) is not something you can take away from a kid, or extinguish, without some serious mental trauma.


Of course it does! Someone giving you seemingly arbitrary and nonsensical orders, and then forcing you to comply when you question them, is the very essence of quashing critical thinking!


And finally, libellule...
Insignificant Deification wrote:Ageism is, allow me to be frank, despicable.

libellule wrote:Overall, though, yeah, what Insig says.

libellule wrote:With respect to the "because I told you so" argument, this is an excellent way to make younger kids behave, and should be used far more frequently than the tortuous explanations with which I see parents indulging their kids every time their authority is challenged.


If I'm understanding you correctly, then either I misunderstood her.... or you did.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby libellule » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:43 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
I disagree. The only time where it is warranted is when the issue is time sensitive, and the child should be given the opportunity to bring it up at a more appropriate time.


Note that any time your child is in public and is making noise, the issue is time sensitive. Because there is a running counter on how long I will listen to your child run around screaming its head off in a bookstore while you calmly explain why it should use its inside voice and sit still, before I punt it out a window.

Be advised.

Word.
And I speak as someone who has punted kids out windows.

There is no contradiction between this and my agreement with Insig. People who act up, whether they are children or adults, deserve to be called on it. The corollary is that people who display good manners, interest in others, general common sense, and are prepared to engage in the world around them in a non-disruptive way, should not be ostracized or condescended to because of their youth. I don't think Insig was implying adults should indulge childish tantrums.

And my "because I told you so" comment applies to kids acting up in public, not parenting in general. I should have been more precise.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Dan Frank » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:57 pm UTC

libellule wrote:There is no contradiction between this and my agreement with Insig. People who act up, whether they are children or adults, deserve to be called on it. The corollary is that people who display good manners, interest in others, general common sense, and are prepared to engage in the world around them in a non-disruptive way, should not be ostracized or condescended to because of their youth. I don't think Insig was implying adults should indulge childish tantrums.

And my "because I told you so" comment applies to kids acting up in public, not parenting in general. I should have been more precise.


Then I think it's safe to say I misunderstood you, and we're close enough to being on the same page that I'll call it good.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Fri Nov 02, 2007 8:58 pm UTC

Dan Frank wrote:
If their 'wisdom' isn't based on logic, it's based on... what? Anecdotes? I don't accept those as valid from strangers. I didn't accept those as valid from my parents. And I don't expect my kids to accept those as valid from me.

Why wouldn't they want to express their reasons? What if they're wrong?

That's the crux of the typical parent/child relationship, really. It's that for the most part, the parent doesn't even entertain the idea that they could be wrong. And abandoning fallibility is a great way to ensure you probably are wrong a substantial percent of the time.



Because most people can't sum up most of what they've learned in life into plain English, let alone something precise enough for a logical argument. And if they could, you're looking at several days of constant talking just to explain a lot of the things that come up.

For a comparison, imagine that you have a two year old, who has a full grasp of the English language, but is otherwise a two year old. Now explain to the two year old why putting your keys in their mouth is a bad idea.

Plus successfully arguing something logically doesn't mean that you're right.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Dan Frank » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:15 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
Dan Frank wrote:
If their 'wisdom' isn't based on logic, it's based on... what? Anecdotes? I don't accept those as valid from strangers. I didn't accept those as valid from my parents. And I don't expect my kids to accept those as valid from me.

Why wouldn't they want to express their reasons? What if they're wrong?

That's the crux of the typical parent/child relationship, really. It's that for the most part, the parent doesn't even entertain the idea that they could be wrong. And abandoning fallibility is a great way to ensure you probably are wrong a substantial percent of the time.



Because most people can't sum up most of what they've learned in life into plain English, let alone something precise enough for a logical argument. And if they could, you're looking at several days of constant talking just to explain a lot of the things that come up.

For a comparison, imagine that you have a two year old, who has a full grasp of the English language, but is otherwise a two year old. Now explain to the two year old why putting your keys in their mouth is a bad idea.


Are you implying that the difference in cognitive function between me and a two year old is similar to the difference between me and a teenager? Or what?

I'm really not sure what your comparison is supposed to prove. But I have convinced two year olds in my care that putting my keys in their mouth is a bad idea. It's actually remarkably easy. I imagine if they had a better grasp of English, it would have been even easier.


zenten wrote:Plus successfully arguing something logically doesn't mean that you're right.

Perhaps not, but what other criterion would you use? Does the inability to successfully argue something mean that you're right?

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Girl™ » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:24 pm UTC

libellule wrote:Ok, you've finally got onto something with which I can slightly disagree. There was far too much harmony in this thread.

I believe the underlying concepts of critical thinking and logic are best acquired by the *user* rather than imparted by teachers. In my opinion, what is lacking in American schools is the foundation of knowledge from which this thinking springs. This foundation can be built on one's own, by extensive reading on a wide variety of subjects, or taught by instructors in a more traditional classroom setting, but it must be present before coherent opinions can be developed, let alone debated. I have seen many teens here (the US) with great debating skills, critical, logical, but the opinions expressed are often trite at everything but first glimpse/audition, because their critical thinking and logic are exercised on a very shallow pond of knowledge.

This is a subtle departure from that which is being advocated by GirlTM, but I do believe it is what might differentiate the smart teenager from his/her adult counterpart.

I don't particularly like Reinhold Niebuhr, but I do like this one from him:
"Wisdom is the Triumph of Experience over Dogma".

Gotta have the dogma before you can win (imhafo).

Overall, though, yeah, what Insig says.


That is a very good point, and I don't think it's completely at odds with what I was saying. Yes, critical thinking and logic can be developed on your own, but it's so incredibly helpful to have these skills defined, and language with which to describe them in detail.

For example, I never had the opportunity to participate in proper debate classes in school. But I read constantly, and I loved lateral thinking puzzles and participated actively on online forums. All of these things led to a basic understanding of logical fallacies, but I didn't have the resources to describe it. So when someone on a forum linked to that list of logical fallaciesthat floats around the net, it was amazing. I was finally able to go, "Please put away the straw man and maybe you'll be worth listening to," instead of, "But.... but.... that's not what I'm saying..."

But you're right; if I didn't have the broad knowledge base that came from educating myself, I would be much worse off. Schools need both, and tend to have neither.

libellule wrote:With respect to the "because I told you so" argument, this is an excellent way to make younger kids behave, and should be used far more frequently than the tortuous explanations with which I see parents indulging their kids every time their authority is challenged.


The key here is "younger kids." There's a big difference between using this with an eight-year-old and with a fifteen-year-old.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Eleyras » Fri Nov 02, 2007 9:59 pm UTC

Girl™ wrote:
libellule wrote:With respect to the "because I told you so" argument, this is an excellent way to make younger kids behave, and should be used far more frequently than the tortuous explanations with which I see parents indulging their kids every time their authority is challenged.


The key here is "younger kids." There's a big difference between using this with an eight-year-old and with a fifteen-year-old.

Yes, but unfortunately, many parents either miss this entirely or miss the point at which it should no longer be used.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Dan Frank » Fri Nov 02, 2007 11:07 pm UTC

Eleyras wrote:
Girl™ wrote:
libellule wrote:With respect to the "because I told you so" argument, this is an excellent way to make younger kids behave, and should be used far more frequently than the tortuous explanations with which I see parents indulging their kids every time their authority is challenged.


The key here is "younger kids." There's a big difference between using this with an eight-year-old and with a fifteen-year-old.

Yes, but unfortunately, many parents either miss this entirely or miss the point at which it should no longer be used.


Agreed.

I submit that the earlier one begins using actual reasons, the better. In my experience, even young children can be pretty reasonable, as long as they haven't already been conditioned towards obstinance by domineering adults.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby aleflamedyud » Sat Nov 03, 2007 1:29 am UTC

Adolescence is most certainly a legitimate developmental stage and while it might have only become a recognized stage within the last couple hundred years, it's not some creation of society to keep kids down until it's legal for them to hold full time jobs.

You have it the wrong way around. First they outlawed "child labor", then the people who newly found themselves "children" started acting in a new way, and then society recognized that new mode of action as "adolescence".

Just because teenagers invented adolescence all on their own doesn't mean it wasn't caused by treating otherwise grown adults like children. Look into psychological experiments on how perfectly rational adults act when treated like irrational monkeys.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Hexadecimator » Sat Nov 03, 2007 2:11 am UTC

IMO the "because I said so" method is extremely useful and important in time-constrained situations and when the person is acting irrationally. As soon as a voice is raised, it's time to pull out the authority and ensure obedience, whether your opponent is 4 years old and crying, 16 years old and complaining, or 20 years your senior and being a total idiot/jackass/insert-adjective-here.
However, if they ask reasonably for an explanation, you have the obligation to provide one. It could be a logical argument; it could just be a statement of what experience (wisdom) has taught you, but you must at least provide one. Otherwise you are acting irrationally and thus should not be ordering anyone around anyways.
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Discussing several points within this thread in this post.

Postby muteKi » Sat Nov 03, 2007 7:09 am UTC

I find that I have two problems when it comes to expressing my opinions and discussing them:

1. I don't really have a lot of patience, particularly notable in terms of internet posting where I have to spend a lot of time typing out a reply
2. My mind has gotten even worse lately in terms of processing data faster than I can communicate it. When trying to write out an opinion on paper neither my fingers nor my mouth have any chance of keeping up with it. Eventually I am left with a poorly-written document that really doesn't fully explain my viewpoint on a subject. Every time I try to write or type something my train of thought gets derailed.

Also, trying to write and speak publicly ends up causing me to repeat whatever thought I currently have in my head multiple times before I can actually properly express it. This has to some degree affected my normal thinking process as I find myself randomly repeating a single possibly insignificant thought in my head multiple times. Eventually I get sick of it and relax to empty my mind and forget everything that I was working on until that point. This is of course all assuming that I have an opinion on a subject or something to say.

I just ended up doing the above and I had something that I wanted to lead that into but my train of thought jumped the tracks again and went in a completely different direction and by the time that I came back to it I forgot about it. (I nearly did it while typing THIS paragraph too, but since it was mostly inconsequential I was able to recall what I wanted to say.) I didn't have enough down to be able to figure out what I wanted to talk about.

I mean, right now I'm at university. All I want to spend most of my time doing is looking over posts on various webfora, reading webcomics, playing videogames, and such when I'm slacking off and the only work I want to do is solve problems in math and science and compose music on the side. I am overall pretty good at them given a good problem to work with and can even explain to others what the hell I do in solving it. While I would love to have debates in religion and ethics and politics, first of all my political and historical knowledge is severely lacking due to a generally ineffective memory for such information, and with religion and ethics, while I do have strong and fairly well-informed opinions on a lot of subjects and could probably express them well, I just don't have the patience for a lot of it. I HAVE in the past attempted to have a civil-ish debate/discussion/argument or something on topics relating to Religion but I find that the people around me are perhaps even more close-minded, or at least more confrontational, than I am.

Ultimately though, in nearly any time I am able to share my opinion, since I process all the information I intend to communicate so quickly, I end up giving a very shallow and simplistic explanation of my beliefs and opinions. (Spaced out again! Looked up google returns for "Clit mouse" and lost track...) They end up not being very meaningful and pretty much anyone else can give a better explanation of them.

In terms of actual age-ism I really haven't ever faced much. I never really had many issues with cases where my "rights" were restricted on account of my age. Anything that might have been I've moved out of my memory since it really wasn't important stuff to begin with. Online it really isn't important because I really don't ever give out my age anyway. I just will say that due to a lack of programming experience I find my ass handed to me by people several years younger than me in terms of working with coding, but I would never dare try to argue about social issues because I do honestly get the "impetuous youth" vibe from some of them. The sites that involve this get engulfed in major flame wars every half-a-year to a full year.

I mean, when it came to going to school they may have treated us like factory workers as is wont to do toward students in public school systems, be it high, middle, and to a lesser extent, elementary. I wasn't concerned with whatever was going on in terms of the authority since it really didn't make much difference to me how things turned out. Intramural politics honestly made me a little sick. ("No parking? Why the hell did this have to happen to OUR class, for crying out loud!" they said, to which I respond with, "Well, when the hell else are they going to remodel this broken-down shack?" and besides, I knew I didn't want to drive to school. I have this thing with operating heavy machinery while drowsy, and I am very drowsy at 7:00 in the morning.)

I was always more logical than pretty much everyone else around me, and in middle school and the start of high school very unemotional and almost disturbingly independent. I moved to WV in 7th grade and attended a Catholic school with 31 people in my grade, which rivaled Sesame Street in terms of diversity (sarcasm). Since pretty much everyone else there was incredibly emotional rather than logical, and they were a tight-knit group (READ: known each other since kindergarten or earlier), I never did feel like a part of their groups, always very distant. Brought about another damned bout with depression near the end. I was a "rebel" since I wanted to think for myself, though I didn't give a shit about the complaints that everyone else had with their teachers. I don't give a damn about bad teachers because I don't learn the curriculum through them. That's why I didn't make a fuss rebelling against authority -- because they had no power over me anyway, ultimately.

Come high school, I had a much larger social circle and could end up feeling more at ease since there were more people around, yet a degree of ostracism continued because a ton of people presumable viewed me as a pretentious asshole by "acting" bigger than the problems that they all had to deal with, when to be honest, they were of no consequence to me. Rebelling against authority and making a big fuss still made no sense because none of it mattered and I may as well do what they ask because except in the very short term it doesn't mean a damn thing.
Going to a big-name (public) college has greatly helped that as I no longer feel like the lone smart kid or anything.

I mean, that's the thing. I didn't want to be a slave to my hormones or my emotions lest I end up like those people who read those "scary medical statistics" that they talk about on sites with names like BadScience.net, not looking at anything with any sort of critical thinking or analysis but getting scared the fuck out of their heads. That was the sort of stuff that led me to develop my "critical thinking skills" and everything, and I certainly don't think that I could learn them from a teacher or anything.

So there. I've wasted probably the better half of an hour making this post, and it's probably still mostly unreadable and fairly disconnected.

EDIT: Actually, one last thing: I must have been a very brilliant youth indeed, fairly observant and quick-thinking. I recall studying the stock market and some current events, finding the kid's day at the mall of my own accord and reading a newscast there -- at the age of 6, and maybe some other things here and there. So one of my problems is that when I feel that something ought to be taught to children at a young age my own experience is once again so far skewed from the typical child's (I assume) that stuff that I think that I could easily wrap my head around then might actually be difficult concepts. Which leads me to this:
In relation to the "Because I said so" I hope to never have to use that excuse with any children I might someday have (yay posting on a webforum on a friday night I'm so cool). I recall reading in a parenting magazine (while in the waiting room in the pediatric care section of the hospital for one of my siblings' checkups, I believe) once that giving children a good explanation of rules and stuff without talking down to them can be very beneficial to their mental development, but I would take that with a few grains of salt since I don't know what studies that finding is based on, and I can't remember where the heck I read that anyway.
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