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Are Teens Growing Up Too Fast or Too Slowly?

When I first saw this headline on Newsweek, "Why Teenagers Are Growing Up So Slowly Today," I thought, whaaa? With all the sexting and drugs, aren't teens growing up too fast?

Just because teens are doing adult things doesn't mean they are acting like adults, argue Joseph Allen and Claudia Worrell Allen, authors of Escaping the Endless Adolescence. By sheltering adolescents from work and other grownup issues in cookie-cutter high schools, we may be preventing their brains from maturing. Says Allen: "We don’t give teens enough ways to take risks that are productive." That results in bad risky behavior for cheap thrills and a generation of 25 year olds who act like teenagers. Do you think there's any truth to the argument that not treating teens like adults actually stunts their adulthood?

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PinkNC PinkNC 7 years
I say too fast as well.
kellylouise kellylouise 7 years
I'm opting neither. Each person is different and goes through different things at a different time table in order to "grow up". Besides, as mentioned before, I don't think experimenting with drugs, alcohol and sex is something that counts as an argument for teens growing up too fast- that is one of the things that define immaturity. However, do I think parents protect their children too much? Yes, in a way, I think I would be a better person hadn't I been so spoiled in my childhood and had been taught discipline, although I suppose that comes with being the youngest. Plus, especially in America, parents forbidding their children to go out and experience life in order to protect them is also not a very ideal way of letting your child grow up. But, you know, I'm not criticizing people on how they should raise their children.. I'm sure it's very difficult to find that balance between wanting to protect your children from getting hurt and not wanting to send them into the world completely unbruised because you know they won't be able to make it through alone.
jenni5 jenni5 7 years
I say too fast!!! And I think it's partially the parents faults. My sister in law actually took her 4 and 6 year old daughters to see Miley Cyrus last night! My 4 year old still watches Sesame Street!
JessieSP JessieSP 7 years
They're growing up too fast. And still they are so immature. Teens are the only ones that can't see how ridiculous they look sometimes trying to act like they know it all in life.
gamestomper-6 gamestomper-6 7 years
well, when it's all said & done, the answer is, sex too soon = babies raising babies. setting no limits = the gotta have it now attitude. they don't understand why they are supposed to be responsible.
Glamgirl1 Glamgirl1 7 years
i agree with lilxmissxmolly :)
Glamgirl1 Glamgirl1 7 years
o correction to my last comment....its not just bad parenting...out of control teens also need to be given consequences to learn from there mistakes whether at home or in juvenile hall. I see many teens who think their 'independent" without even knowing what it means...u need a career if u plan to make it in life to support urself. a "job" isnt gonna always cut it unless ur a stripper or pornstar..which does not last long and can give u std's. ...to "anonymous" no offense intended but how can u possibly pay all those things u mentioned above... when ur still a minor with a "part-time job"? and "never fail" when u "skip school"?...and "drink heavily" when u aren't old enough to even buy a beer? ....and "pay for ur own clothes since 11 yrs old" when the legal working age is 14 (part-time after-school with a restricted working permit)?...its great that ur working and great that ur in school..and i hope u continue to advance in those important areas.
Glamgirl1 Glamgirl1 7 years
education wise yes its good..but sex wise no..kids are having sex at like 9yrs old...but then again thats just bad parenting...kids should not be having kids at these young agaes such as 14...they r not even legal adults...and r just experiencing puberty!...parenting is to blame ...parents and/or guardians should be teaching their children the difference between right and wrong...and the consequences that come along with certain decisions..it will help prevent teenage pregnancy, abortions, promiscuity, drug use, stds, and keep kids in school to gain a complete college education for their future.
theseether theseether 7 years
I think that teenagers are trying to act more "mature" (drugs, sex, etc.) because of their protracted adolescence. When you're over-protected from cradle to college, what else can you expect.
lilxmissxmolly lilxmissxmolly 7 years
I think that teens do adult things immaturely. Which I think is what the article is saying.
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
Its only been a few years since I was a teen.. and I was a no sex, no drugs type, no binge drinking or partying just because everyone did it, basically getting through school and preparing for the world. You're going to have to get used to being judged as a group, it's never going to stop. For example, I'm a mother now.. so automatically I have no interests of my own, I'm selfish, I think my kids are a god send when they're really ridiculous brats, etc etc etc. It's just how it goes. It isn't right, because I'm not any of those things, but that's how it goes. There are good and bad of everyone, and this happens to be addressing some of those negative aspects. However, just by thinking things like promiscuity, drugs, drinking and such at young ages, or at all, isn't a bad thing you're showing your immaturity. It isn't about open mindedness, it's about responsibility of self. Those types of activities are harmful and have consequences that few teenagers are willing to sit down and admit to themselves. You will learn that eventually, no matter what age it happens to be at.
sontaikle sontaikle 7 years
I'm 21, but I can definitely see how people my age aren't "grown up." It sickens me to see the number of people my age who don't have jobs and aren't even trying. I understand in this economy it can be tough to find a job (especially for younger people!), but I know people who have NEVER had a job in their lives! Their parents pay for everything, even gas for their cars. It's really annoying to talk to these people because they just expect their parents to give them everything.
Smallqueen Smallqueen 7 years
I am a teen and let me say this, the definition of "adult responsibilities" and "adult privileges" varies according to culture to a certain extent. In American households, children are expected to get jobs, pay for their cars, move out etc. etc. The adult privileges they get in return are dating, sex etc. But in traditional Indian households, it's completely different. Middle-class teenagers don't work in India. For some, it's an issue of "prestige" but mostly middle-class teenagers don't work for pocket money because if they do, they will be taking jobs away from other poor people who need that money for food! But anyway, I think that teens are trying to grow up too fast but they are going about it the wrong way. I see my classmates party till 3 am, drink underage and have sex. They think it's "cool" and they think I am boring for refusing to do all of these things. They don't understand that it's better to wait for some things. I hate to see them drink themselves silly every weekend. It makes me sick! But surprisingly, many of them hold jobs and some are even paying their own way through college. Btw I don't live in India anymore. So I think there are all sorts of teens in the world. As for me, I am woefully dependent on my mother but I am trying to learn that. I am planning to learn cooking this Xmas with my grandma and hopefully in the years before I leave home I want to become independent.
doogirl doogirl 7 years
My neighbor's 12 year old daughter had sex with a 28 year old man because she was curious and wanted to get it over with. They weren't in this country so the parents can't press charges, but that is totally growing up too fast! At 12 I just wanted to hang out and read!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I agree snooky
Gdeeaz Gdeeaz 7 years
I do think that teenagers are growing up to quickly and too slowly at the same time. Many teenagers participate in adult activities like partying, having sex, smoking, drinking, etc. but at the same time they don't have any adult responsibilities. If a teenager wants to act like an adult then they should deal with the responsibilities of an adult. I am 19 and once I started to do adult stuff my parents made sure I knew the consequences and the responsibilities that go along with it. They talked to me about how sex is an adult activity that can lead to adult responsibilities like children and STDs. When I wanted a car they made sure I was able to pay for my insurance, gas, etc. They taught me about money and how much it really cost to support yourself. When I made mistakes they were there to support me but they made sure I was the one who faced the consequences. I believe that by giving me adult responsibilities and allowing me to make mistakes it has made me into a well adjusted, independent and responsible 19 year old. When I look at my life compared to my friends there is a huge difference, I know I could get up tomorrow, move out and be able to take care of myself and I hate to say it but a majority of my friends can't say the same.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I agree with the article and as for the physical adolescent brain "Few can say for sure yet how these anatomical features actually interact" if anyone is interested Dr. Amen of the Amen clinic has been studying the physical & chemical aspects of the brain and its abilities for twenty five years and has some very solid studies to back up his views on the adolescent brain. Although their brains are not as developed as an adults I agree that this has nothing to do with with providing healthy portions of reality and responsibility in a teens life. How else are they suppose to learn? I was a high school coach for eight years and I live very close to a major university. In my interaction with young adults the biggest thing I notice is naivete 18-25 yr olds who have no clue. Adding insult to injury we then have college students who have parents that fix any mess they get themselves into rather than allowing them to learn from their mistakes and the real life consequences of their actions. Growing up I had an old fashioned father who wanted me to learn from the real world and an over protective Latina mother who still called me her baby well into my late twenties and treated me like one. Unfortunately my fathers influence lost out to protectionism and I hit my early twenties making every mistake in the book. The good thing is I learned fast and wised up fast but that's not always the case.
Studio16 Studio16 7 years
I'll try and answer this as best I can, seeing as I'm a 16 year old girl. There are some teenagers who fit into both categories. They are mature in some ways and immature in others. I feel like more often than not, however, my fellow teens and I fall into one category or the other. Some kids I know act a lot older than they really are. They party, they smoke and drink, they wear revealing clothing, all that stuff. And then there are some who act like normal teenagers. Ones who go out to the mall or movies with friends on weekend and then come home around 10 to study for a little bit. Usually the kids who act old for their age are very immature (they're spoiled and generally just very childish) while the kids who act more our age are mature. That's probably very confusing, though.
pinupgirl76 pinupgirl76 7 years
Teens behave the way they do because that is how they are being raised. Sheltering and silencing then from "adult" issues causes them to make impulsive, irrational and poor choices. Children look to us for guidance on how to navigate life on their own and many are doin a disservice by denying their very nature. For example, sex....parents are often terrified of their teens engaging in sexual behavior when its perfectly healthy and normal (provided you have educated them and armed them with all of the necessary information). We are sexual beings from birth and denying a teens urge/desire for sexual intimacy is absurd. Parents preach astinence only which is very risky. You should exress your deire for them to wait until x amount of time but let them know the decision is theirs. This allow them the opportunity to be responsible. TEACH THEM ABOUT THEIR BODIES! Too many childen (gils in particular) are not familiar with their own bodies or the health benefits of self-stimulation (or they are mistakenly informed that it is shameful). They do not know how to relieve their sexual energy themselves so they look to a partner to do it for them. Censoring information, negative views on sexuality and denial lend to pre-mature sexual experiences. It is your responsibility to educate your children and it is also your responsibility to let them make mistakes so they can learn cause and effect. Independance and responsibility in the right places will produce a more responsible child.
MissSushi MissSushi 7 years
I agree on the lack of responsibilities... My kids will have to get a job if they want a car/insurance/gas money. Most people say I will change or that its "cruel", but i wont. Even AS a teenager, it disgusted me when my sisters/peers were handed everything without any work. I don't think teens should be in full time jobs, but they should have responsibilties and chores. It constantly astounded me when i left home that so many of the teenagers my age were so completely clueless about money and normal responsibilities. Kids who have never washed a stitch of laundry or cooked a meal, etc etc. My kids will start young like I did, and continue to do more as they age. There is absolutely NO reason kids can't clean up after themselves and their belongings. My husband was/is pretty guilty of a lot of these things when we got together, and to this day refuses to get to work on time. He just spams his snooze button and works at jobs that deal with him being late every single day. Total laziness if you ask me... I'd have fired him long ago.
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