18-25 Segment 1: Vanishing Teen Rites of Passage

RHJ 18-25 A (2)

 

Just a few decades ago, a large majority of adolescents experienced certain rites of passage before going off to college, such as getting a driver’s license, having a paid job, going out on dates, having sex, or drinking alcohol. But in the late 1990s, that began to change. A new generation is arising that is growing up slower than previous generations. Three experts discuss these new trends and what could be causing them.

While earlier generations jumped quickly into independence by their senior year of high school, research is now showing a decline in risk-taking for teens, says Dr. Jean Tweenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and author of I-Gen: Why Today’s Superconnected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood. With parents who are becoming more overprotective, many adolescents are now overly concerned about safety and end up postponing adult actions, such as starting a career or getting married, which in turn can lead to them being unprepared when they do reach those important milestones.

Rachel Simmons, Leadership Development Specialist at Smith College and author of Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Happy, Healthy and Fulfilling Lives, also weighs in on this issue, saying that a delay in pursuing independence leads to a decline in resilience in difficult situations. Along with this, both Simmons and Tweenge comment on the role of smartphones and social media in these changing trends. While Tweenge says that smartphones make it easier for teens to stay at home for their social needs, Simmons says that social media itself isn’t bad Rather, the effect social media has on kids depends on how they choose to use it.

Parents’ natural desire to protect their children may be partially responsible for keeping kids from becoming “streetwise,” says Dr. Dan Siegel, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, Executive Director at the Mindsight Institute, and author of Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain. Not learning to handle independent experiences while in the safety of the home, can result in teens going overboard when they are given that freedom. Overall, he says, if our culture doesn’t expect teens to rise to adult responsibilities, then, as the trends are showing, they likely won’t.

For more information about adolescent trends or about our guests, visit the links below.

Guests:

  • Dr. Jean Tweenge, Professor of Psychology at San Diego State University and author of I-Gen: Why Today’s Superconnected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood
  • Rachel Simmons, Leadership Development Specialist at Smith College and author of Enough As She Is: How to Help Girls Move Beyond Impossible Standards of Success to Live Happy, Healthy and Fulfilling Lives
  • Dr. Dan Siegel, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, Executive Director at the Mindsight Institute and author of Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain

Links for more information:

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