taking teenagers seriously

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Dan Frank
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Dan Frank » Sat Nov 03, 2007 4:15 pm UTC

Hexadecimator wrote: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.


I agree completely with all of that.

Or, as the kids are saying these days...

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zingmaster » Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:31 am UTC

lulz. It's Quoted For Truth.

And "because I said so" never works, imo. We're always looking for a reason, even if we're not acting rationally. If I ask for a Ferrari, my mom refuses, I ask why, and she responds, "Because I said so," I'm not about to accept that, no matter my age or mental maturity. But if she gives me a more valid reason for her rejection, then I'll deal with that. If I don't agree with the reason, I respond, and the cycle continues.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon Nov 05, 2007 2:40 am UTC

"Because I said so" can, with sufficient power backing it up, actually teach someone not to behave in a certain way. It cannot, however, inculcate any actual moral/social/practical principle or teach someone why they shouldn't just wait until Mom/Dad is gone or they leave home (whichever comes first) to indulge in their preferred forbidden behavior.

In short, it conditions without teaching.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 3:58 pm UTC

aleflamedyud wrote:
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.


First of all, no. Teenagers didn't "invent" adolescence. Adolescence is a legitimate developmental stage. And nothing I said had *anything* to do with when child labor laws were put into effect, and therefore I couldn't have had any kind of causation "backwards."
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:06 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
aleflamedyud wrote:
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.


First of all, no. Teenagers didn't "invent" adolescence. Adolescence is a legitimate developmental stage. And nothing I said had *anything* to do with when child labor laws were put into effect, and therefore I couldn't have had any kind of causation "backwards."


Except it didn't exist in western culture until the 20th century, and doesn't really exist in other cultures except where influenced by modern culture.

Puberty is different. Puberty is a biological phenomenon. Adolescence is a cultural phenomenon.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:14 pm UTC

Actually, it *does* exist. A stage of life is not dependent upon the culture you are in, whether you hold a job or are in school, whether people treat you as a kid or an adult or anything else, etc. Developmentally, people go through the stage we now call "adolescence." They pretty much always have. It's not something that's been "made up" in recent years any more than Asberger's or ADD has been "made up."
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:46 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:Actually, it *does* exist. A stage of life is not dependent upon the culture you are in, whether you hold a job or are in school, whether people treat you as a kid or an adult or anything else, etc. Developmentally, people go through the stage we now call "adolescence." They pretty much always have. It's not something that's been "made up" in recent years any more than Asberger's or ADD has been "made up."


I disagree.

Although the problem could be with what we're calling "adolescence".

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 4:57 pm UTC

zenten wrote:
22/7 wrote:Actually, it *does* exist. A stage of life is not dependent upon the culture you are in, whether you hold a job or are in school, whether people treat you as a kid or an adult or anything else, etc. Developmentally, people go through the stage we now call "adolescence." They pretty much always have. It's not something that's been "made up" in recent years any more than Asberger's or ADD has been "made up."


I disagree.

Although the problem could be with what we're calling "adolescence".


I thought I was pretty clear about it, since I keep referring to it as a "stage of life." From wikipedia...
Wikipedia wrote:As a transitional stage of human development, adolescence is the period in which a child matures into an adult. This transition involves biological (i.e. pubertal), social, and psychological changes, though the biological or physiological ones are the easiest to measure objectively.

I'm using the term to describe the stage of human development.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby aleflamedyud » Mon Nov 05, 2007 5:45 pm UTC

I'm pretty sure that social and psychological changes can have quite a damn lot to do with culture, and usually do.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:01 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
zenten wrote:
22/7 wrote:Actually, it *does* exist. A stage of life is not dependent upon the culture you are in, whether you hold a job or are in school, whether people treat you as a kid or an adult or anything else, etc. Developmentally, people go through the stage we now call "adolescence." They pretty much always have. It's not something that's been "made up" in recent years any more than Asberger's or ADD has been "made up."


I disagree.

Although the problem could be with what we're calling "adolescence".


I thought I was pretty clear about it, since I keep referring to it as a "stage of life." From wikipedia...
Wikipedia wrote:As a transitional stage of human development, adolescence is the period in which a child matures into an adult. This transition involves biological (i.e. pubertal), social, and psychological changes, though the biological or physiological ones are the easiest to measure objectively.

I'm using the term to describe the stage of human development.


I already said puberty is constant (mind you, puberty can happen in different groups of people at different ages, but that's another thread really).

"Psychology" applied to a broad group is either biology (and thus falls under puberty) or social.

Social changes are cultural phenomenon. Biology can influence them, but that just restricts the set of all possible reactions to it.

So yeah, the term doesn't work when talking about different cultures. There are plenty of cultures (and there were plenty more) that don't have adolescence. They may have some other in between stage, or they might not at all, and just have biological changes will little difference in terms of social expectation or behaviour.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Indon » Mon Nov 05, 2007 6:44 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:I thought I was pretty clear about it, since I keep referring to it as a "stage of life." From wikipedia...
Wikipedia wrote:As a transitional stage of human development, adolescence is the period in which a child matures into an adult. This transition involves biological (i.e. pubertal), social, and psychological changes, though the biological or physiological ones are the easiest to measure objectively.

I'm using the term to describe the stage of human development.


Doesn't almost all of that apply to childhood as a whole, barring of course puberty?

-Childhood is a transitional stage of human development (namely, from birth - or infancy, depending on how you'd like to measure it - to adulthood).
-Childhood is the period in which a child matures into an adult.
-Childhood involves biological (i.e. growing), social, and psychological changes.

And heck, some of that stuff; biological, social, and psychological changes, namely, even continue after you become an adult.

I think that our cultural treatment of adolescence (that is, as something special, and not just a few more years of growing older with everything that it entails) is a result of changing the benchmark for adulthood from sexual maturity (being the onset of puberty) to the end of puberty; when the body has completed its' development and you now look more or less like you will for the next 15-20 years.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby space_raptor » Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:27 pm UTC

Bit of a late post, but well, sorry.

Zenten, I have noticed this issue on this site too, and I commend you for bringing it up in a fair and well worded way.

I just want to note that for the most part on this web site I notice there are a lot of posters whose ideas are "immature", but there is no shortage of people, of all ages, who are here to help educate them and help them improve or reevaluate those ideas. It is a pretty cool website, in that respect.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 8:58 pm UTC

Wow, guys.

aleflamedyud wrote:I'm pretty sure that social and psychological changes can have quite a damn lot to do with culture, and usually do.

Reread what I *actually wrote*. I never said that adolescence is unchanged across different cultures. It doesn't matter what culture you're in, you'll go through adolescence (providing you live long enough and are "healthy").

zenten wrote:I already said puberty is constant (mind you, puberty can happen in different groups of people at different ages, but that's another thread really).

"Psychology" applied to a broad group is either biology (and thus falls under puberty) or social.

Social changes are cultural phenomenon. Biology can influence them, but that just restricts the set of all possible reactions to it.

So yeah, the term doesn't work when talking about different cultures. There are plenty of cultures (and there were plenty more) that don't have adolescence. They may have some other in between stage, or they might not at all, and just have biological changes will little difference in terms of social expectation or behaviour.


So let me get this straight. You don't like the definition of adolescence as... well, what it *is*, being basically the time of a persons life between the beginning of puberty and maturity? And thus you're saying that adolescence has been "made up"? Let's take a look at what started all this.

22/7 wrote:
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.


If one of you would like to actually give a definition of adolescence that is different that the one that I've given earlier in this post, then maybe we can move forward. But so far I've been unable to find a definition of adolescence that includes much of anything else.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:09 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:Wow, guys.

aleflamedyud wrote:I'm pretty sure that social and psychological changes can have quite a damn lot to do with culture, and usually do.

Reread what I *actually wrote*. I never said that adolescence is unchanged across different cultures. It doesn't matter what culture you're in, you'll go through adolescence (providing you live long enough and are "healthy").



No, you won't.

Sometimes you'll be a kid one day, and an adult the next. Or at least will go through a process no more nebulous or delayed than from childhood to adolescence, or adolescence to adulthood in western culture.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:16 pm UTC

C'mon zenten.

Reposted.
22/7 wrote:If one of you would like to actually give a definition of adolescence that is different that the one that I've given earlier in this post, then maybe we can move forward. But so far I've been unable to find a definition of adolescence that includes much of anything else.
Totally not a hypothetical...

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:21 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:C'mon zenten.

Reposted.
22/7 wrote:If one of you would like to actually give a definition of adolescence that is different that the one that I've given earlier in this post, then maybe we can move forward. But so far I've been unable to find a definition of adolescence that includes much of anything else.


Your definition is largely fine, as long as it's restricted to the culture we're in. Adolescence is pretty much what you think it is, which isn't surprising since you're not an idiot, and can thus observe important aspects of the culture you live in. It's just not a fundamental part of the human condition, like you seem to think it is.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Robin S » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:26 pm UTC

That depends what you define as being fundamental to the human condition.

If, for example, you count the womb as part of the environment, then suddenly all sorts of "fundamental" traits are potentially alterable by changing the environment. An isolated human, that is, one not exposed to any form of culture at any point during their life, would most likely lack a number of important characteristics that we consider common to all humans.

So, while I agree that the manner of manifestation of adolescence is culture-dependent, arguing that we shouldn't expect teenagers to behave in a certain way just because their culture predisposes them towards it isn't necessarily very justified.

Edit: I've just realized that the above may not read as clearly as it did in my head when I typed it out. If anyone's not really sure what I'm getting at, please ask and I'll try to elucidate.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:31 pm UTC

Oh really? So you're positing that the population of some country X flat out *doesn't* go through adolescence? By my definition, already posted, that would require that the population of country X is, aside from immigration, quickly declining to zero. Therefore, without another definition, I can come to no conclusion other than that you're wrong about this. What is "culturally dependent" about adolescence that makes it exist in, say, the US, but not in another country, say, Burma.

Robin S wrote:That depends what you define as being fundamental to the human condition.

If, for example, you count the womb as part of the environment, then suddenly all sorts of "fundamental" traits are potentially alterable by changing the environment. An isolated human, that is, one not exposed to any form of culture at any point during their life, would most likely lack a number of important characteristics that we consider common to all humans.

So, while I agree that the manner of manifestation of adolescence is culture-dependent, arguing that we shouldn't expect teenagers to behave in a certain way just because their culture predisposes them towards it isn't necessarily very justified.


I think you're expanding the definition of "fundamental" traits a bit beyond what I would. Also, you're talking about a situation that does not happen in the *vast* majority of all people. We're talking 99.99% or so? The *vast* majority of the population of the Earth have contact with other people, and I'm not sure I've ever heard of someone not *ever* having any contact with other people, other than babies that are left in a dumpster, I guess. But we all know what happens to them.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Robin S » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:34 pm UTC

Feral children and uncontacted peoples are the sorts of people I'm talking about. Granted, there aren't many of them, but they are the extreme end of a spectrum. It is possible to live somewhere where "contact with and knowledge of the rest of the world", as through the Internet, is available but, either through choice or necessity, relatively few people experience it to as great a degree as we do.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:40 pm UTC

Fair enough. But I don't think that you can put things like sexual maturity in the same category.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby bigglesworth » Mon Nov 05, 2007 9:43 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:I thought I was pretty clear about it, since I keep referring to it as a "stage of life." From wikipedia...
Wikipedia wrote:As a transitional stage of human development, adolescence is the period in which a child matures into an adult. This transition involves biological (i.e. pubertal), social, and psychological changes, though the biological or physiological ones are the easiest to measure objectively.

I'm using the term to describe the stage of human development.


Sooo.... A society in which you are a child until 13, and then become an adult. You are an adult immediately. You are then treated like an adult.

No social transition there, unless you count an evening's celebration.

The physical development lags behind, and the psychological change is in many ways connected to the physical development. But you're still an adult.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby chaosspawn » Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:02 pm UTC

I think adolesence is different than puberty. To me, I think the adolescent phase is characterized as a time where someone is finding their identity. It's a time when you're no longer just part of the family, but are expected to be your own person and strike out on your own. I think that think that this is typically when puberty happens (looking at the animal kingdom), but doesn't have to be. In a family unit where the children don't leave adolescence might not happen until later. Say in a hypothetical farming community, the father could still be in charge until he dies or is too physically frail to continue, during which the eldest son is expected to take up the farm. However, until that occurs the son is still not considered his own person. It is also possible for some people to never undergo adolescence. For instance some mentally handicapped people are never expected to 'be their own person' and as such never go through the phase of becoming an independent entity.

I think that adolescence is a phase that exists regardless of culture. However, I think both it's nature and importance are defined by culture. I think it's because (western) society places a big emphasis on individualism that adolescence is seen as a major transition for people.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:12 pm UTC

Well, at least we've gotten 1 alternate definition out of this.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Indon » Mon Nov 05, 2007 10:39 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:So let me get this straight. You don't like the definition of adolescence as... well, what it *is*, being basically the time of a persons life between the beginning of puberty and maturity? And thus you're saying that adolescence has been "made up"? Let's take a look at what started all this.


Well, the start - puberty - is definite.

But what precisely marks 'maturity'? What kind of maturity are we looking for?

I'm not saying adolescence isn't a valid age category. It's no less valid than, say, young adulthood, which is roughly college age (I'd peg it at from 19-25), which is characterized in western culture as having its' own kinds of experiences and lessons to learn, as well as its' own physical developments (Wow, I'm not in as good a shape as I was when I was 19...).

But adolescence isn't special, among age categories. It's no more well-defined or significant than young adulthood, going Over the Hill, or becoming old (Heck, women even have a definitive biological change to mark that one).

Or, in other words, it's a cultural artifact, created for ease of discussion and thought regarding the subject.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby VannA » Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:06 am UTC

22/7 you're not making any sense.

Adolescence does not exist in most tribal human societies. Puberty does. Adolescence does not.

You move on from being a child to an adult in a single ceremony, and then you are expected to take part as an adult in all ways.

This is the common basis behind most human social groups.

Coming of age, or social maturation, is something that has mostly dissapeared in the last century.

Oddly enough, it corresponds with the idea of adolescence as a substantial period of time.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby aleflamedyud » Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:29 am UTC

The entire point of adolescence is to exist somewhere between childhood and adulthood.

The entire point of most traditional coming-of-age rituals (as still practiced by many peoples) is that you'll best learn how to act like an adult by going from a child surrounded by adult role-models to an adult immersed in adult society. It worked rather well, in a way that modern adolescence just doesn't seem to.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Eleyras » Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:45 am UTC

VannA wrote:22/7 you're not making any sense.

Adolescence does not exist in most tribal human societies. Puberty does. Adolescence does not.

For a nontribal fairly mainstream example, see Bar Mitzvahs, a Jewish ritual. While that is mainly centered around being an adult in terms of following the Law, it still does not recognize any gap between "child" and "adult".
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby zenten » Tue Nov 06, 2007 1:40 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:Oh really? So you're positing that the population of some country X flat out *doesn't* go through adolescence? By my definition, already posted, that would require that the population of country X is, aside from immigration, quickly declining to zero. Therefore, without another definition, I can come to no conclusion other than that you're wrong about this. What is "culturally dependent" about adolescence that makes it exist in, say, the US, but not in another country, say, Burma.



I'm not saying that there is some place where the population goes through *none* of your requirements for adolescence. I'm saying there are plenty of places (and used to be pretty much everywhere before the 20th century) where no one (or practically no one) has all the requirements you give for adolescence.

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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Robin S » Tue Nov 06, 2007 3:10 pm UTC

Eleyras wrote:For a nontribal fairly mainstream example, see Bar Mitzvahs, a Jewish ritual. While that is mainly centered around being an adult in terms of following the Law, it still does not recognize any gap between "child" and "adult".
On the other hand, very few Jews, having reached the age of Bar Mitzvah, are then considered "genuine" adults by their communities, because of the effects of integration and so forth.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Indon » Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:06 pm UTC

The problem of integration and such is one faced by many young adults in today's society, though.

Not being accepted as a 'full' adult is not a facet exclusive to adolescence, I would think.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Tue Nov 06, 2007 5:38 pm UTC

Since nobody (or maybe just very few of you) is actually reading the definition I put forth *or* offering another, alternative definition, I'll try this again, but this is getting kind of old.

As a transitional stage of human development, adolescence is the period in which a child matures into an adult. This transition involves biological (i.e. pubertal), social, and psychological changes, though the biological or physiological ones are the easiest to measure objectively.

I pulled this off of Wikipedia because it did a decent job of describing what I was talking about. I'm not going to go through point by point and deal with everyone of you that has disagreed with me, but I'll try and hit some of the major points.

First of all, if you are sexually mature and acting, thinking, emoting, etc. as an adult, you've been through adolescence. Second, everyone, regardless of culture, goes through adolescence.
One of the biggest arguments offered so far is the boy-to-man-in-a-day culture, which doesn't really hold up because a) it *completely* ignores the biological and physiological changes that the boy-to-man goes through, which will not coincide with this one day (or even one week or one year) ritual, celebration, rite, whatever, 2) it assumes that a society will *immediately* begin to treat the newly created "man" as a full fledged man, no different from any other man aside from elders, chiefs, etc. (which, I posit, it will not), and d) it assumes that the newly created "man" will immediately begin to act, think, emote as a full fledged man in his society (which, I posit, he will not). Even if the culture he's in makes him a man on, say, his 13th birthday, he will be subject to the kinds of changes and transitions that everyone else will go through during their adolescence. Even if there is only child and adult in his society, there is a lot of transition that is happening, even if the society does not officially recognize it.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby chaosspawn » Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:16 pm UTC

To me it sounds like all the changes (biological (i.e. pubertal), social, and psychological changes) are necessary (and sufficient?) for the phase to be considered adolescence. So would a society where people are treated like children until much later in life forgo the adolescent period? Say there was a farming community where none of the children ever left home and 'struck out on their own' instead they were part of the family until the current head of family died at which point the next generation took over. Until their parents die, the children are not still fully considered their own person, only after are they looked as a full member of the community. Thus a person passing through puberty will undergo biological and perhaps psychological changes, but there is no social change for them, or at least no more so than any other time of transition (say from youth to middle age).

Basically what I'm interested in is how important do you consider that social term in your definition? To me the reaction of society seems the more important aspect (arguably puberty is quite important as well). Because with out the societal emphasis on adolescence it becomes exactly the same as any phase in childhood or even transitions in adulthood.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Eleyras » Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:19 pm UTC

@ 22/7

Treating a newmade man as someone with equivalent skills and life experience to someone who is ten years his senior would be ridiculous, but I would suggest that the culture would hold him to the same standards and responsibilities as well as trust that he has the mental and emotional capacity to begin to deal with "adult" things. In our society, this is not the case. A teenager is told they cannot know who they will marry, that they should not even think in terms of that yet, but that they should have an idea of a career and a college that will be the best for that career. The stereotypical image of teenager is one who is rebellious, flighty, and immature, not to be trusted by adults, yet adults continually urge teens to "take more responsibility" and "act in an adult way." I propose that we as a culture choose which side of the double-standard should be the norm. If it is that teenagers should be childish, just like eight year olds, then I will gladly quit my job, slack off in school, ignore politics, and resume my practice of chasing butterflies. If it is that teenagers should be adults, then I will continue as I am and enjoy the new freedoms granted by my official status.

On a), nobody in the thread has suggested that the physiological and biological changes of puberty are invalid or a cultural construction. However, your definition requires that these be accompanied by social changes over a period of time. That, I believe, is the source of the disagreement.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Robin S » Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:29 pm UTC

It is a fact that, among the biological changes due to puberty are those which occur in the brain. Therefore, teenagers' minds will work differently both from those of children and from those of adults (and not necessarily as a direct intermediary, either). This will affect their social interactions regardless of culture, surely?
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Indon » Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:32 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:As a transitional stage of human development, adolescence is the period in which a child matures into an adult. This transition involves biological (i.e. pubertal), social, and psychological changes, though the biological or physiological ones are the easiest to measure objectively.


And as I noted, all of that applies to childhood in general, except puberty. Why don't we just call the whole thing 'childhood', and say 'postpubescent' when the issue of physical maturity comes up?

22/7 wrote:One of the biggest arguments offered so far is the boy-to-man-in-a-day culture, which doesn't really hold up because a) it *completely* ignores the biological and physiological changes that the boy-to-man goes through, which will not coincide with this one day (or even one week or one year) ritual, celebration, rite, whatever,


Puberty describes the biological and physiogical changes that an individual of 14-18 years (on average) is likely to go through. We don't need to be redundant about it. Puberty, as a term, even has the bonus of not having cultural baggage tacked onto it.

22/7 wrote:2) it assumes that a society will *immediately* begin to treat the newly created "man" as a full fledged man, no different from any other man aside from elders, chiefs, etc. (which, I posit, it will not), and d) it assumes that the newly created "man" will immediately begin to act, think, emote as a full fledged man in his society (which, I posit, he will not).


Right now, in western society, we do not *immediately* treat adults (19-20 year olds) like full-fledged adults. Furthermore these people do not act, think, and emote as full-fledged adults in society. They are no less adults for this fact.

22/7 wrote:Even if the culture he's in makes him a man on, say, his 13th birthday, he will be subject to the kinds of changes and transitions that everyone else will go through during their adolescence. Even if there is only child and adult in his society, there is a lot of transition that is happening, even if the society does not officially recognize it.


But those cultural changes and transitions are not unique or indicative of adolescence.

If I say, "A young man has been put into a new and somewhat frightening situation, in which he is at the bottom of the social ladder and needs to learn to adjust to his new surroundings," you would perhaps say that I am describing an adolescent going to High School.

But I could just as easily be describing an adult who is enrolling in college. Or an adult who has enlisted in the military. Or an adult who is getting a new job. If not for the "young" descriptor, I could be describing a 50-year-old man who is going back to college.

And to Robin S: I don't think we know enough about how the mind works to say that. The brain's chemistry changes, constantly and due to biological forces independent of thought, from birth to death. These changes include aging (from birth to death, though it's more easily noticed in early years), diet, exercise regimen, and so on. We have only a loose grasp on what, if any, impact any one of these may have on our thoughts or behaviors.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:26 pm UTC

Eleyras wrote:@ 22/7

Treating a newmade man as someone with equivalent skills and life experience to someone who is ten years his senior would be ridiculous, but I would suggest that the culture would hold him to the same standards and responsibilities as well as trust that he has the mental and emotional capacity to begin to deal with "adult" things.
My emphasis added.

I would posit that, while that culture might *claim* that he is a "full" man (or whatever), I have a hard time believing that a 30 year old man in that same culture holds the newly made man at the same level as he holds another 30 year old man.

Eleyras wrote:In our society, this is not the case. A teenager is told they cannot know who they will marry, that they should not even think in terms of that yet, but that they should have an idea of a career and a college that will be the best for that career. The stereotypical image of teenager is one who is rebellious, flighty, and immature, not to be trusted by adults, yet adults continually urge teens to "take more responsibility" and "act in an adult way."
I propose that we as a culture choose which side of the double-standard should be the norm. If it is that teenagers should be childish, just like eight year olds, then I will gladly quit my job, slack off in school, ignore politics, and resume my practice of chasing butterflies. If it is that teenagers should be adults, then I will continue as I am and enjoy the new freedoms granted by my official status.

I understand what you're saying, but I don't see how it addresses or contradicts what I said earlier.

Robin S wrote:It is a fact that, among the biological changes due to puberty are those which occur in the brain. Therefore, teenagers' minds will work differently both from those of children and from those of adults (and not necessarily as a direct intermediary, either). This will affect their social interactions regardless of culture, surely?

Agree.
Indon wrote:
22/7 wrote:As a transitional stage of human development, adolescence is the period in which a child matures into an adult. This transition involves biological (i.e. pubertal), social, and psychological changes, though the biological or physiological ones are the easiest to measure objectively.


And as I noted, all of that applies to childhood in general, except puberty. Why don't we just call the whole thing 'childhood', and say 'postpubescent' when the issue of physical maturity comes up?


Because adolescence is very different from childhood. Aside from the first couple/few years of a person's life, the brain develops more and the body changes more during adolescence than during any other time in a person's life.

Indon wrote:
22/7 wrote:One of the biggest arguments offered so far is the boy-to-man-in-a-day culture, which doesn't really hold up because a) it *completely* ignores the biological and physiological changes that the boy-to-man goes through, which will not coincide with this one day (or even one week or one year) ritual, celebration, rite, whatever,


Puberty describes the biological and physiogical changes that an individual of 14-18 years (on average) is likely to go through. We don't need to be redundant about it. Puberty, as a term, even has the bonus of not having cultural baggage tacked onto it.


That's fine, but I still maintain that people go through adolescence regardless of their culture, which means that we can't simply talk about puberty.

Indon wrote:
22/7 wrote:2) it assumes that a society will *immediately* begin to treat the newly created "man" as a full fledged man, no different from any other man aside from elders, chiefs, etc. (which, I posit, it will not), and d) it assumes that the newly created "man" will immediately begin to act, think, emote as a full fledged man in his society (which, I posit, he will not).


Right now, in western society, we do not *immediately* treat adults (19-20 year olds) like full-fledged adults. Furthermore these people do not act, think, and emote as full-fledged adults in society. They are no less adults for this fact.


Well, legally, we certainly treat them as "full-fledged adults." And other than that, you're going to have to be more specific as to how we don't treat them as "adults". Also, you're talking about a culture not treating people who are (in the vast majority of cases) beyond adolescence. In the earlier example we were talking about someone who is in (or more likely at the beginning of) adolescence.

Indon wrote:
22/7 wrote:Even if the culture he's in makes him a man on, say, his 13th birthday, he will be subject to the kinds of changes and transitions that everyone else will go through during their adolescence. Even if there is only child and adult in his society, there is a lot of transition that is happening, even if the society does not officially recognize it.


But those cultural changes and transitions are not unique or indicative of adolescence.

Not unique to adolescence? Hardly. Especially in the example that we've been working with. At what other time does someone in the proposed culture go through a transition that is even remotely comparable to that which he undergoes during adolescence?

Indon wrote:If I say, "A young man has been put into a new and somewhat frightening situation, in which he is at the bottom of the social ladder and needs to learn to adjust to his new surroundings," you would perhaps say that I am describing an adolescent going to High School.

But I could just as easily be describing an adult who is enrolling in college. Or an adult who has enlisted in the military. Or an adult who is getting a new job. If not for the "young" descriptor, I could be describing a 50-year-old man who is going back to college.


Absolutely. But I can also say "blue" to describe blueberries. Doesn't mean that "blue" is a full description of blueberries. If you add "and is going through puberty", then you've gotten the gist of it a bit better. You're trying to detach adolescence from puberty, and that cannot be done, as it is a part of it's definition.

Edit: Really sorry this post was so damn long. The next *few* will be much shorter.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby Belial » Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:33 pm UTC

I would posit that, while that culture might *claim* that he is a "full" man (or whatever), I have a hard time believing that a 30 year old man in that same culture holds the newly made man at the same level as he holds another 30 year old man.


Nor will a 50 year old man hold the 30 year old man at the same level as he would another 50 year old man. That doesn't mean that the 50 year old man is in a totally different stage of life.

That's fine, but I still maintain that people go through adolescence regardless of their culture, which means that we can't simply talk about puberty.


No, people go through puberty regardless of culture. If, socially, they are promoted directly from child to adult, then they don't go through the social aspects of "adolescence" and there is a fair amount of indication that the psychological and neurological differences we associate with "adolescence" are largely artifacts of our expectations of teenagers and their place in society. So, arguably, they don't go through the psychological aspects, either.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby chaosspawn » Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:45 pm UTC

22/7 wrote:
Indon wrote:Puberty describes the biological and physiogical changes that an individual of 14-18 years (on average) is likely to go through. We don't need to be redundant about it. Puberty, as a term, even has the bonus of not having cultural baggage tacked onto it.
That's fine, but I still maintain that people go through adolescence regardless of their culture, which means that we can't simply talk about puberty.

Then what is the difference between puberty and adolescence? It seems that the societal change is all that is left.

I agree that adolescence will have happen for any adult because it is explicitly the transition from childhood to adulthood. But puberty is the transition from sexually immature to a sexually mature individual. Yet, it seems to me that the societal changes can be decoupled from the pubescent changes. Basically sexual maturity != adulthood. Thus I see puberty as a seperate process from 'becoming an adult' or 'adolescence.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby aleflamedyud » Tue Nov 06, 2007 7:51 pm UTC

One of the biggest arguments offered so far is the boy-to-man-in-a-day culture, which doesn't really hold up because a) it *completely* ignores the biological and physiological changes that the boy-to-man goes through, which will not coincide with this one day (or even one week or one year) ritual, celebration, rite, whatever, 2) it assumes that a society will *immediately* begin to treat the newly created "man" as a full fledged man, no different from any other man aside from elders, chiefs, etc. (which, I posit, it will not), and d) it assumes that the newly created "man" will immediately begin to act, think, emote as a full fledged man in his society (which, I posit, he will not). Even if the culture he's in makes him a man on, say, his 13th birthday, he will be subject to the kinds of changes and transitions that everyone else will go through during their adolescence. Even if there is only child and adult in his society, there is a lot of transition that is happening, even if the society does not officially recognize it.

Go talk to some ultra-Orthodox, non-assimilated Jews. Those guys are expected to marry as soon as they can after their bar mitzvah and, commensurately, to either enter yeshivah (religious higher education for the rabbinate) or enter a profession. They've done it this way for centuries.

The 13-year-olds know how to act like adults because they've been immersed in a world of adults for their entire lives, in contrast to more Westernized youths who spend their first 21 years of life immersed in various kinds of children or artificially-retarded adults (the proper term for "adolescents").

Yes, artificially-retarded. When you restrict a biologically mature individual from joining adult society you artificially retard their development. Hence why high school is hell.
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Re: taking teenagers seriously

Postby 22/7 » Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:18 pm UTC

Belial wrote:
I would posit that, while that culture might *claim* that he is a "full" man (or whatever), I have a hard time believing that a 30 year old man in that same culture holds the newly made man at the same level as he holds another 30 year old man.


Nor will a 50 year old man hold the 30 year old man at the same level as he would another 50 year old man. That doesn't mean that the 50 year old man is in a totally different stage of life.


No, but the 13 year old *is* in a different stage. You telling me that the day you turned 18, you woke up a different person?

Belial wrote:
That's fine, but I still maintain that people go through adolescence regardless of their culture, which means that we can't simply talk about puberty.


No, people go through puberty regardless of culture. If, socially, they are promoted directly from child to adult, then they don't go through the social aspects of "adolescence" and there is a fair amount of indication that the psychological and neurological differences we associate with "adolescence" are largely artifacts of our expectations of teenagers and their place in society. So, arguably, they don't go through the psychological aspects, either.


You're gonna have to show me this "fair amount of indication." Cause, I'm not buying that the psychology and neurology of adolescence is society, as that would indicate that we can basically alter the biology of an entire species and the way that they grow and mature simply by expecting them to act/behave a certain way.

All the time I've got right now. I'll deal with the rest of it later.
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