18-25 Segment 1: Vanishing Teen Rites of Passage

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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

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17-27 Segment 1: Overwhelmed Teens

 

 

Stress is a familiar occurrence for adults in our hectic world, but recently it has also shown up in great numbers in high schools. A combination of social media, cyberbullying, and college pressure may be to blame.

Online, teenagers often act as their own public relations managers,  constantly posting updates and replying to feedback — often until late at night. Sometimes they share in order to create false personas of who they want to be, or who they think they should be.

At school, the stress multiplies as students are encouraged to think about college as early as their freshman year. “The bar is being raised for the kids in almost every element of life that you could think of,” shares Jared Mason, Teen Programming Director at the Alive Center. “It’s being raised for academics, it’s being raised for athletics, it’s being raised for extracurricular involvement, all these different areas.” He mentions that teens believe that performing “under the bar” is unacceptable, and they internalize the stress they accumulate.

This stress is not only brought on by social media and schools, but by parents. Some parents will request that their child be placed in accelerated, honors, or Advanced Placement courses, regardless of if their child is capable of handling the workload. Mason suggests that parents might be the next step in helping their child avoid stress by teaching them to stop listening to the “noise” of fellow students and of Ivy League schools. By asking their children what they want to do or what they’re interested in doing, parents can use communication to effectively help with stress.

The culture of stress is hard to break, and since colleges have begun to consider more holistic reviews of students, looking at both academics and extracurriculars, students are feeling even more stressed than ever. Kandice Henning, founder of the Alive Center, says that teens now feel pressured to have both a stellar GPA and full schedule. While some students are able to work well under pressure, most are left wondering why it so hard to be a “well-rounded student.” A new kind of parenting may offer a solution, wherein parents teach their children to cope with their stress and understand why they’re stressed. “Stress is not bad. In the appropriate dose, stress is strengthening, says Dr. Michael Bradley, clinical psychologist and author, “you want to find that sweet spot in the middle.”

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Guest:

  • Dr. Michael Bradley, clinical psychologist and author, Crazy-Stressed: Saving Today’s Overwhelmed Teens With Love, Laughter, and the Science of Resilience

  • Jared Mason, Teen Programming Director, Alive Center, Naperville, IL and former high school English teacher

  • Saumya Bharti, senior, Naperville Central High school and member, Student Advisory Board, Alive Center

  • Kandice Henning, Founder and Executive Director, Alive Center

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17-19 Segment 1: Bariatric Surgery in Teenagers

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The proportion of severely obese teenagers continues to rise. Doctors increasingly understand that only weight loss surgery is likely to help them lose weight and avoid health consequences of obesity. But teens are often held back until they’re so heavy that even bariatric surgery isn’t enough to return them to normal weight.

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Coming Up On Radio Health Journal

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Bariatric Surgery in Teens: The proportion of severely obese teenagers continues to rise. Doctors increasingly understand that only weight loss surgery is likely to help them lose weight and avoid health consequences of obesity. But teens are often held back until they’re so heavy that even bariatric surgery isn’t enough to return them to normal weight.

Cancer Treatment and Sex: Cancer treatment has always focused on survival. Now doctors are increasingly focusing on side effects, including the effect of treatment on sexual function and satisfaction. However, many patients are shy about bringing up their difficulties, unaware there are ways to help. One of the nation’s top experts discusses.

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