Saturday, May 1, 2010

How Fast Are Teens Growing Up?

There is an interesting article this week in the New York Times reflecting on a new study by the MacArthur Research Network on Transitions to Adulthood called “What’s Going on With Young People Today? The Long and Twisting Path to Adulthood”.

The Slow, Winding Path to Adulthood
By LISA BELKIN

Many a parent believes that their children are growing up too fast. Eight is the new 12, and 12 is the new 18. Today’s middle schoolers dress like adults, know how to swear like adults and are exposed to drugs. They also know about sex, talk back and reach puberty earlier than we ever did.

But then, they stop. And reverse. A study by researchers at Oregon State University, which appears this week in the journal Transition to Adulthood finds that “despite living in an age of iPads and hybrid cars, young Americans are more like the young adults of the early 1900s than the baby-boom generation: They are living at home longer, are financially insecure and are making lower wages.”

The gist of the article seems to be that there is no set or normal age for maturation within our culture or species, but it seems to have a lot to do with financial ability as much as anything.

How do you see this manifesting with teens in your life?

1 comment:

Anne said...

Pretty accurate, at least for some teens. There seem to be a lot of the "growing up too fast" kids that come into the library - but there is a big group of older teens/twenty-somethings that really are not mature at all. They don't have jobs, don't seem to be doing much, and spend a lot of time at the library...

They don't seem to be overly motivated to do much, though they talk about getting jobs. Not many jobs to go around in Oak Harbor, so the financial aspect plays a large role in their situations.