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Are Teens Taking Longer to Grow Up?

Hannah Johns, Sophomore Staff Writer

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Typically 21 has been labeled as the age of adulthood; however, more and more this benchmark isn’t the reality.  Teens have been waiting to try new experiences usually associated with adulthood like getting a job, moving out of the house, drinking alcohol, or even driving. Many people say that teenagers are just immature, overly dependent and lazy,  but is this the case?

Stereotyping teenagers as lazy, or their actions as immature is missing the big picture. According to CNN news online statistics, “the development towards adulthood has slowed dramatically not only in teenagers, but in young adults.” For example. settling into a career, getting married, and having children are adult activities that now seem postponed into the 30’s for some young adults.

Slowing the process of adulthood has pros and cons such as teens not driving in high school, which could reduce the chance of them getting into an accident. Many students that don’t go out or get a job when they are in high school have a harder time making tough decisions when they are in college, some studies suggest. Slowing the development into adulthood can be beneficial, but the most important thing is that teens eventually get the opportunity to develop adult skills. Teenagers should stay teenagers for as long as they can, but there is a time when the parents need to let them go and force them to learn skills that will be helpful in the future.

Some children may grow up faster than others–especially children from past generations, which may suggest that growing up is a cultural construct.  Jean Twenge, from CNN online, labels this as a “slow-life” cultural construct.  She writes, “A “slow life strategy” is more common in times and places where families have fewer children and spend more time cultivating each child’s growth and development. This is a good description of our current culture in the U.S., when the average family has two children, kids can start playing organized sports as preschoolers and preparing for college can begin as early as elementary school.”

However in the mid 50’s -60’s, before technology, when woman had more children, the partners needed to focus on day to day survival, Twenge explains.  As a result of this emphasis, many of the children had to take care of one another, so maturating quickly was a must. In this day and age people rely on technology to “take care” of them. For example, when someone needs to know how to get to someone’s house he/she pulls out a phone and enters the address into the gps, instead of having to learn the roads.  This reporter asked student Kyleigh Johnson why she thinks it takes teenagers longer to grow up? Her reply was, “nowadays kids grow up with technology that can do almost everything for us. Since they don’t have to learn how to do it themselves it takes them a longer time to grow up.”

   Growing up is every teenager’s dream, but they really do take the challenges and responsibilities of adulthood for granted. Senior Chelsea Chaibi says, “ I’m very excited to graduate; it’s been my dream for years. I’m going to miss my friends and teachers, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.” The seniors may think they grew up slowly, but in reality, four years was faster than expected.

A question every mature student should ask him or herself is, “How long do I want to stay here at home with my parents?”  When that lifestyle becomes cramped and uncomfortable, it’s time to make a change, but realistically, that change won’t be possible if the young adult hasn’t taken the first steps toward independence as a teen.

 

www.cnn.com/2017/09/22/health/teens-grow-up-slower-partner/index.html

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Are Teens Taking Longer to Grow Up?