Abolish Adolescence

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Allan-Matlem, Jul 1, 2007.

  1. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    Check this thread , scroll down for 2 links

    ' Are you saying that teens should have more freedom?

    No, they already have too much freedom—they are free to spend, to be disrespectful, to stay out all night, to have sex and take drugs. But they're not free to join the adult world, and that's what needs to change.

    Unfortunately, the current systems are so entrenched that parents can do little to counter infantilization. No one parent can confer property rights, even though they would be highly motivating. Too often, giving children more responsibility translates into giving them household chores, which just causes more tension and conflict. We have to think beyond chores to meaningful responsibility—responsibility tied to significant rights.

    With a competency-based system in place, our focus will start to change. We'll become more conscious of the remarkable things teens can do rather than on culture-driven misbehavior. With luck, we might even be able to abolish adolescence.

  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Your post, to me, is a lot of generalizations. None of my easy child's teen friends are free to endlessly spend, be disrespectful or stay out all night. Some of them are having sex, but that's been the case since the beginning of time. Huge generalization to include all teens in this statement. That is unfair and disrespectful to the group you are trying to build up, in my opinion.

    "Infantilization???????" Psychobabble, in my opinion!!!!!!!!! They are still kids! Their brains aren't even finished developing yet, nor are they close to the people they will one day become. Household chores are not meaningful, cause tension and conflict???? Too darn bad! It is the responsibility of everyone within a family to do their part to insure the family is taken care of. If my easy child takes out the trash, keeps her room clean, and helps with the housework, then she is being taught to not only take care of herself, but to understnad that everyone has a responsibility. If my difficult child has to bring the empty trashcans around, sort the laundry, keep his room clean and feed the dog, then he also understands that everyone must pitch in for things to run smoothly. I feel a lot better knowing that, when easy child is out on her own in two years, she will now how to run the washing machine, empty a dishwasher, and run the vacuum. She will also know how to balance a checkbook and budget her money.

    Sure, there are times when my kids don't want to do their chores or handle their responsibilty, but me too! I don't want to do the laundry today but I will. By giving my daughter responsibity from an early age, to pitch in around the house and handle a few things, I learned a lot about her sense of responsibility and trust. When it came time for her to drive, I knew I had a responsible kid on my hands because she had already proved she could handle some responsibity.

    What are we supposed to do - let them pay the mortgage, raise their younger siblings, go to work to earn the family income? I'm not really sure exactly what the meaning of "confer property rights" has to do with teen responsiblity?

    The issue of "culture-driven misbehavior" that is included in your last paragraph is, in my opinion, bunk. Teen misbehavior is most often a case of bad parenting (not in all cases, but in most). Teens are not necessarily predestined to misbehave. They are wired to question authority and be lazy, not by society but by their very nature. As good parents, it is our resonsiblity to teach them responsibility. Why would we want to abolish adolescense when that is the time most teens are making their marks, figuring out who they are, and coming into their own. It is a time of excitement and disappointment - kinda like what they will experience out on their own. Highs and lows are part of life.

    It is not our job as parents to give our teens false rights that they are too immature to handle, but to give them rights based on their level of trustworthiness. That way you don't set them up for failure. If they give you a reason not to trust them, then you don't trust them. Natural consequences.

    In my opinion, "we'll become more conscious of the remarkable things teens can do" if we teach them from a young age to become responsible for themselves and to pitch in be an active member of their household by taking part in the day to day rather than watching the day to day happen.

  3. kris

    kris New Member

    <span style='font-size: 11pt'> <span style='font-family: Georgia'> <span style="color: #3333FF"> extremely well said, sharon. in all honesty, when i read your latest theory on child rearing, alan i thought it was quite bizarre.

    </span> </span> </span>
  4. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    I'm glad we are free to have difference of opinions on this forum...... I tend to agree with the article where most teenagers are concerned. NO, my almost twelve-year-old doesn't fit into the group, nor will he ever, most likely. BUT he is not the norm. I know I'm an older generation than many of you, but I feel like I was VERY mature-thinking when I was a teen. I married at 19 and had a child at 20, and we are still married. I, also, wouldn't have married that same man if I'd been allowed to marry the one I wanted a couple of years earlier.....and he also is a wonderful family man with morals, a great job, community giver, and a huge heart. I have no doubt that he and I would have made it, too.

    My other children, my son would be 30 (deceased) and my daughter is now 36, were extremely grown up and I could count on them for almost anything from the time they were barely teenagers. I trusted them completely and they never let me down. OK, we instilled that trust, we guided them, but that's part of parenting no matter what. There are those teens who would run amuck, but I would bet that overall, they would step up to the plate and be much more mature than we give them credit for.

    Okay.......I'll duck now while you all start throwing the rotten tomatoes.........
  5. helpmehelphim

    helpmehelphim New Member

    I don't think this is Allan's latest theory on child rearing at all. I understood him to be sharing an article with- the group. He didn't even say whether he agreed or disagreed but rather posted an article for discussion. Readers will draw their own conclusions...he didn't bias the readers by giving his.

    There's a lot in that article to think about. I was like Pamela. I can even remember my stepmother telling me how irritating it was to her that I didn't act like a child at 10 years old. I acted like a mini adult. We're all very different. I could be trusted and I did handle responsibility. I have no idea why that would be irritating to an adult but apparently it was.

    There are things I don't agree with in the article for sure and then there's a point that she makes that I think is spot on and that's looking at each individual teenager in their own light and going from there. There are SOME teens out there that are very, very capable and not only could handle more but want to handle more than they are given (I'm not talking about freedom here but being part of the decision making processes for their own lives).
  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    no tomatoes here - I buy those vine-rippened ones (before the good home-grown ones are ready very shortly here) and they are like red gold - too expensive to throw!

    What do you think made you a mature-thinking teen?

  7. wakeupcall

    wakeupcall Well-Known Member

    Hmmmm, Sharon, I'll have to ponder that for awhile. Right off, I don't know! Good question!!!
  8. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Well, count me in with Sharon and kris. I often think what comes out of the mouths of "experts" is pyschobabble.

  9. Big Bad Kitty

    Big Bad Kitty lolcat

    I have to say, I thought that a lot of the article was silly. The downplaying of chores while stating that a 14 year old is mature enough to marry is ridiculous. But I do agree that changing American culture has an awful lot to do with it. I do not think that teens are programmed or wired to question authority. Asian teens, as a rule, do not. 150 years ago, American teens did not. It was yes, sir and yes, ma'am. Sure, there were teen pregnancies, but these teens WERE married. My grandparents were married at the age of 15.

    I don't think anything can be done to change it. Any show you watch on TV, the parents look like imbeciles while the kids look at the camera with a wink and a thumbs up. It sickens me. This is why at the age of 4 my kid was telling me to talk to the hand, and giving me the "I'm watching you" sign (point to her eyes, point at me). If these freedoms were given to American kids as they are now, it would be disastrous. Of course this is a generalization, there are probably many teens who could handle it. As a rule, most could not.

    Most ADULTS cannot, for crying out loud.
  10. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I was giving this thread some more thought and remembered an article in one of the newsmagazines some time ago that postured the same idea.

    The premise of the article was that the last two years of high school were a waste of time for most teenagers and that they were just spinning their wheels. It called for a total reform of high school with kids going off to college or the workplace at the end of the sophomore year.

    Well, my difficult child was a living experiment of that. Intellectually, she was ready to move on and so she did what we call joint enrollment. She was technically a senior in high school but went full time to the local community college. She managed to get through it with A's, B's and C's and graduated high school with a year of college under her belt.

    Sounds great, right? Well, we found out later that she also was cutting most of her classes which was something that she couldn't get away with in high school. She also had moved on to a whole new set of older druggies that she met in her college classes.

    So I would say in retrospect that the "freedom" that this allowed was harmful rather than a growth experience.

    It's easy to make blanket statements and sweeping generalizations. Too often it doesn't fit reality.

    in my humble opinion, the problem isn't giving chores, it's that too many parents have stopped having any expectations of their teens at all. I see it in the classroom on a daily basis. While the majority of my students are great kids, they are also spoiled rotten. They laugh when I ask how many do their own laundry or cook or clean. I have also noticed that the few that do are often the most serious, responsible kids.

  11. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Kathy, I agree with you 100%.

    I dont think it is infantilizing teens to ask them to contribute to the household. I think it is teaching them to stand on their own one day. How on earth are they going to know how to run their own homes if they dont learn it in our homes?

    I wasnt taught how to cook or clean. I thought that clean clothes mysteriously appeared in my closet by the clean clothes fairy! Imagine my surprise when I was on my own with a baby no less and the dirty clothes I threw on the floor didnt magically jump up and put themselves back in the drawers!!!! I was dumbfounded. My mother did me no favors.

    You mean to tell me that just because you have checks left you cant still write them if there is no money in the bank? HUH???? How was I supposed to know that? No one told me!

    You can bet your bottom dollar I told my kids. They also learned to cook, clean, wash clothes, push a vacuum, mop a floor, buy groceries, plan meals for a week, and everything else it took to run a house. AND THEY ARE ALL BOYS! They did this from the time they were little.

    Teens arent ready to go out on their own at 13 or 14 or 15. Thats why they need to have parents. We give them freedom with rudder to steer them. You let the rope out as they show more and more responsibility so that when they do leave home they are able to do so with the knowledge they are ready and have the skills needed to succeed.
  12. helpmehelphim

    helpmehelphim New Member

    Janet I cannot imagine a teen at 13, 14, or 15 living on their own either. However, I have an Aunt who married at 14 because she was pregnant and is still married to my Uncle. They had 5 children over the years who are all grown with- grown children of their own. What the article was saying is that for this Aunt who did marry at 14 to a 16 year old, those 2 who had a baby and were responsible (my Aunt finished high school while my Uncle worked) couldn't own property of any kind with-o adults involved.

    My brother married at 17 and his wife was 16. They have been married 33 years. They have 2 grown kids and 5 grandkids. My sister in law didn't have help from her parents or my parents in keeping the kids, etc. They did it all on their own and yet, they couldn't buy their trailor until my brother reached 18 and still he needed a co-signer. I wouldn't have wanted this for myself but it worked for them. And of course, they needed parental consent to marry.

    These are issues that are discussed by this article too. These 2 examples didn't have parental help getting them through; they did it all on their own. It doesn't make a whole lot of sense that they met expectations for responsibility and yet weren't given more rights. That's not true for all kids and we all know that but it's true for some and it's not about freedom because once they started having kids, their freedom went out the window...it's a case by case basis.
  13. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Actually, I found the article had some interesting points to ponder. I also found it didn't avocate "all" teens having the freedoms and responsibilities of adults, but perhaps some can, and should be allowed, to have those rights. I don't know if giving some sort of competency test is at all a very practical solution, but yes, some teens could could, and frankly DO handle themselves in a more responsible manner than many adults.

    In our american quest to give our children a "better" life than we had (by better I mean more comfortable and affluent) we deny our children, in particular our teens, the experience, and the appreciation, and what it means to juggle, struggle, and plain bust their rears to achieve.
  14. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    I'm of two minds on this...

    On the one hand, my son joined the service at age 18. He was "old" enough to die for his country if necessary, but not old enough to drink a beer legally, rent an apartment with out a cosigner, rent a car, etc. There is just something wrong with that.

    On the other hand, there are SO many 18 year old (heck, there are 28 year olds) that have no concept of money management, or what it takes to actually get along in life.

    But I think ALL kids should be given family responsibilities and know and learn how to live on their own. All teens should work a job - not necessarily for the cash, but so they can learn work ethics, and how to do things you may not want to do.
  15. guest3

    guest3 Guest

    sorry guys not enough brAIn cells functioning to even try to respond to this one, LOL
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    In most states, if a person is an emancipated adult then they also have the same rights and responsibilities as adults. That means that they can do the same things as adults do including rent apartments, get a loan if they can qualify, make contracts, etc. They are considered legal adults. Getting married or joining the service makes a person an emancipated adult from what I understand.
  17. helpmehelphim

    helpmehelphim New Member

    Actually here are some of the rules that apply to emancipated minors in New York. The rules vary from state to state and some are more strict while others are not. One would have to look up their state to understand how the rules apply. Most though will not let a minor own property. And most banks do not give loans to minors with-o someone to co-sign regardless of the financial status. Here is how New York defines it and applies the rules:

    Q. 1.1 How is Emancipation defined?
    The term emancipation applies to youth over the age of 16 and under 18 who are:

    (1) living separate and apart from their parents;
    (2) not receiving any financial support from them (except by court order or benefits to which they are entitled, i.e. Social Security);
    (3) living beyond the parent's custody and control; and,
    (4) not in foster care.

    Emancipation involves the renunciation of the legal obligations of a parent and the surrender of parental rights over the child. It may occur when a parent is unwilling or unable to meet his/her obligations to one's child or when a child refuses to comply with the reasonable rules of a parent and leaves home.

    In New York State, there is no Emancipation Statute or court proceeding in which an Order of Emancipation can be obtained. In New York, the status of a youth as an Emancipated Minor depends on the facts. Whether an Emancipated Minor has the same rights as an adult depends upon the relevant law.

    Emancipation does not give a minor adult status in all areas.
    An Emancipated Minor is not allowed to vote;
    An Emancipated Minor is still required to obtain parental consent to get working papers and is limited in the kindsof jobs he/she can perform;
    An Emancipated Minor cannot bring a lawsuit and must have an adult commence any litigation on his/her behalf;
    An Emancipated Minor cannot buy, sell or control real estate;
    Age and consent requirements to marry apply regardless of emancipation;
    An Emancipated Minor cannot join the military;
    An Emancipated Minor is subject to statutory rape laws and age requirements governing consent;
    An Emancipated Minor cannot get a learner's permit or driver's license without parental consent;
    An Emancipated Minor cannot rent a campsite;
    Parental consent is required to obtain routine health care. As in any case involving a minor, an emancipated minorcan obtain health care without parental consent when it involves an emergency, a sexually transmitted disease, family planning services, alcohol and mental health treatment, or if the minor is pregnant, a parent, or married.
  18. Allan-Matlem

    Allan-Matlem Active Member

    I found the article pretty profound in keeping with my theories of parenting and education. In fact according to Jewish law when i became bar Mitvah at the age of 13 , I became an adult in the legal sense with full rights etc . I agree with the article that we are delaying transitioning in adulthood by extended education and not at least on a part time basis encouraging children to have jobs . We have created a peer culture which perpetuates childhood. I have always recommended on parenting sites , mentors, young adult involvement with kids to counter act peer culture. Having some sort of part time real job , that our teenagers should be involved with adults not in a top down controlling dynamic but respecting competence and responsibility. Chores don't do the trick because both parents and kids perceive it as a topdown control issue , if you do you get , rather than taking responsibility as a contribuor to your family because you believe this is the type of person you want to become and the type of family you want. I disagree with the notion that kids brains are equal or better than adult brains , this maybe true in academic testing , but in real life kid's limbic brains get in the way of their frontal lobes. However the perpetuation of childhood by creating teen -peer culture reinforces limbic brain thinking, enjoying the moment instead of delaying gratification and thinking responsibly how one's actions effect others and one's future. In relationships , the age of sexual behavior amongst teenagers is getting lower and lower , yet a commitment to marriage or longterm relationships , having children is being delayed. We cannot expect teenagers to act responsibily when they are not allowed to make decisions that effect their lives , don't give them a voice. I want adult involvement and participation , not a top down dynamic , but one of cooperation and learning.