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Passions in Poetry

Adolescence -- is it different?

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Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


0 posted 02-24-2002 02:34 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Has it always been this way?

http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2002/03/powers.htm

Brad
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


1 posted 02-24-2002 02:36 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

From the text:

"Parents who generalize from the apparent contentedness of their own children are indulging a dangerous fallacy. Children, like people in general, present different faces to different groups within their social universes, a state of affairs amply documented by Judith Rich Harris in her important book The Nurture Assumption (1998), which illustrated the multiple, often contradictory personas elicited variably by parents, peer groups, siblings, and prevailing societal influences. Equally treacherous is the view that the young have always been inscrutable to adults and have always complained about being misunderstood. Since the end of World War II adolescents have been chafing against an ever more impervious, unheeding social system. Their outrage has found expression, with increasing intensity, among the inchoate "juvenile delinquents" of the early postwar years, the Beats of the 1950s, the hippies and political radicals of the 1960s, the drug and gangland subcultures of more recent years. And now it's expressed by the kids who carry out school shootings and other acts of vicious and inexplicable violence. The questions we must ask ourselves today, therefore, are these: Why are so many children plotting to blow up their worlds and themselves? For each act of gratuitous violence that is actually carried out, how many unconsummated dark fantasies are transmuted into depression, resignation, or a benumbed withdrawal from participation in civic society?"
Opeth
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since 12-13-2001
Posts 2224
The Ravines


2 posted 02-24-2002 09:48 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

To me that was a bunch of pyscho-babble, blah blah blah.

To raise a child (in general)...

1. Discipline when needed, but never lack in showing love and affection towards them.
2. Teach them to have respect for others people and their property.
3. BE THERE for them, don't ignore or display apathy towards them - listen to them.
4. Don't just tell them what right and wrong is, explain the consequences of their actions and decisions to be made.

Phaedrus
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since 01-26-2002
Posts 280


3 posted 02-24-2002 03:33 PM       View Profile for Phaedrus   Email Phaedrus   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Phaedrus

Opeth,

Your four-part plan seems all fine and dandy, Iím sure almost all parents would offer the same, or similar golden rules for bringing up children. The problem that the article is trying to point out is that the methods simply donít seem to be working. There seems to be an increase in the number of violent crimes perpetrated by teenagers who stand out in one surprising and interestingly marked way Ė their normalcy. How many times have you heard on television or read a description by a friend or acquaintance of a teenager who has just committed a heinous crime that describes the youth as a Ďnormalí friendly happy member of society. Are we now to presume that all parents of youngsters who commit offences have somehow failed? How would you explain a family where only one out of four brothers committed a crime? Have the parents been 75% successful?

Blaming parents is both an easy option and a useful placebo for society, we see it rolled out time and again in an attempt to explain what seems to be a growing trend towards violence in the young. My view is that the problem is a culmination of several issues that act to ignite latent behavioural tendencies that have always have and always will exist in young people, regardless of parenting.

One of the catalysts has been the media and expansion of communication itself, I donít mean the often touted idea that watching Rambo will somehow turn Billy into some axe wielding maniac. Iím talking about the communication of real events such as riots that seem to spark spontaneous rioting up and down the country: crimes that spring up in one area and spread like wildfire after media attention.

The consumer society has its part to play, kids feel the need to Ďbelongí, this tribal fanaticism generally shows itself as a need to wear the right clothes and act the right way, even if (or probably because) the right way doesnít correspond to the norm. Peer pressure is one name given to it but that doesnít fully describe it; a striving for recognition and success is closer to the mark even at the cost of being rated successful in an anti-social event or undertaking.

Education has failed, the systems inability to drive home the lessons of morality; honesty and decency that most parents are striving to instil in their kids is lacking. Granted this is partially due to teachers and schools being forced to take on the role of parents and enforce discipline and the rules without recourse to punishment, the former cannot be upheld without the spectre of the later.

Standards of living: I hear older generations reminiscing about Ďthe good old daysí when you could leave your front door wide open without fear of theft. Thereís a good reason for that, most people back then had very little that was worth stealing Ė the possible penalties far outweighed the potential profit. Now we have kids mugging kids for trainers; cell phones: dinner money. Not only have the potential profits increased, the potential profiteers now have a goal to strive for Ė they want what youíve got - and if the they canít get it the normal way theyíre just going to take it by force. To compound the problem we now have a reversal, the possible profits now far outweigh the potential penalties.

The list goes on and on, Iím not saying that bad parenting doesnít play itís part in some cases, Iím just trying to point out that concentrating on fixing one hole in a boat full of holes isnít going to stop it sinking. If the article did highlight one thing it was the fact that when it comes to violent crime and adolescent involvement in it the boat is definitely sinking.

Thanks for the chance to read and reply
Christopher
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Member Rara Avis
since 08-02-99
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Purgatorial Incarceration


4 posted 02-25-2002 03:53 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

quote:
most people back then had very little that was worth stealing
it's relative of course though, isn't it? comparable value was the same, if not higher than it is now - just look at wage comparisons.

also - i disagree with the four-part formula as well: it presupposes a commonality between children. however, what works for one won't necessarily work for another (ask my mom, she had four kids, and four ways to deal with the exact same situation). some children respond to various forms of discipline, while others may only need to be told the difference between right and wrong, while others may need to be made aware of cause and affect - action and consequences.

the hard part of this is determining what works best with whom - can every parent be a child psychologist? personally, i think in a way, every parent is, dependent on the amount of effort they choose to put into their relationship with their children. if not - they need to be. for a simplistic analogy - i am a very visual person - read somethign (a poem) to me, and i may appreciate it... but let me READ the same piece, and i may just have fits over it. a friend is the exact opposite - she needs to hear things to recieve the full impact, is aurally focused rather than visaully. now if you were teaching us, would you simply choose one method, and let the other be a little bit behind simply because they learn differently? i wouldn't think so, but sadly, that's how i see many people raising their children - grab a book (at best) and apply a generalized formula to the welfare and future of a person's life. probably not the optimum choice.

as to violence, i want to quote an excerpt from a book by Robert A. Heinlein
quote:
"...'juvenile delinquent' is a contradiction in terms. 'Delinquent' means 'failing in duty.' But duty is an adult virtue - indeed a juvenile becomes an adult when, and only when, he acquires a knowledge of duty and embraces it as dearer than the self-love he was born with. There never was, there cannot be, a 'juvenile delinquent.' But for every juvenile criminal there are always one or more adult delinquents - people who either do not know their duty, or who, knowing it, fail."
Ultimately, it is the parents' responsibility to guide their children. Until we can show a genetic pre-disposition, alien hyptnotism, or something in the water - it's the parent's job to lay out a path for their children.

C
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


5 posted 02-25-2002 04:12 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Let me ask a more personal question:

Did anybody here act the same way around their parents as they do around their friends?

And if the answer is, "No, I didn't," doesn't that put parents at a disadvantage?

Christopher
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Member Rara Avis
since 08-02-99
Posts 9130
Purgatorial Incarceration


6 posted 02-25-2002 04:33 AM       View Profile for Christopher   Email Christopher   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Christopher

of course it would brad - but let me ask this: WHY do they act differently around their parents?

with my mom, i acted diferently, such was the nature of our relationship. my father on the other hand, i was friends with. he was still the boss, the disciplinarian (though not too good at it, lol), but i still talked to him as i did my friends.

why? i think that's what he wanted - he approached me on that plane, which allowed me to do the same - btw my father and i still have a marvelous relationship. my mother - we still do as well, though it's had moments, many of them.

this hits closely on my own philosophies of raising children - there does need to be an established authority... but there's no reason to treat them as other than a friend... i WANT my children to be my friends, to be the kind of people i'll be proud of to have as friends...
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


7 posted 02-25-2002 04:11 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

Because we all act differently depending on the situation we're in. This is really common sensical if you think about it, but it flies in the face of being true to yourself or of being forthright or of finding your true self.

What I wanted to do with my last comment was to get away, like Phaedrus, from this idea of parents as sole guardians of adolescents. This thread was intended in much the same light as faterider's. Is this generation different from the others?

When we ask this question, and I asked it, I know, I wonder if we aren't in an act of objectification and dehumanization already? Look at the abstractions that have been posted in this and faterider's thread.

What I wanted to do was try to see adolescents as people first (adolescence is a relatively new concept anyway). There is no sure fire methodology, no twelve step plan that's going to create well-adjusted teens (They aren't owned by Pavlov, right?). Nevertheless we treat them as such. In faterider's thread, Tim's comment about self-esteem makes a lot of sense. As soon as we see self-esteem as a value in and of itself, we lose a prime component in developing personality. As soon as we believe that a teen already has something special, some magic component, and that all we have to do is let them find it, we drop all other standards. This is a relinquishment of authority and responsibility.

It seems that teens see this and take it (Why wouldn't they?), but for many if not most teens isn't this the overriding question: the inability to decide what it is that they are and what it is that they want to do?

Heinlein is wrong in this case, we give juveniles responsibility, but we don't make clear exactly what that responsibility is: teens are supposed to have fun, they are supposed to explore, to find themselves, to be good students, to succeed, to obey, to make their parents proud, to contribute to society, to be individuals.

Do they really have enough of a foundation, are they really mature enough, to be able to reconcile all these conflicting demands?

The answer it seems to me is yes and no. Some are, some aren't. But we can't let them decide this, we have to. And that means the possibility of getting it wrong, of being the guidance counselor or the parent who suggests and guides in the wrong direction.

We, the adults, must judge teens, and try to direct them because many still need direction. In this sense, Heinlein's always competent, always confident father figure comes into play. But very few of us are that good. That's no excuse for not taking the responsibility though.

That or turn them into adults.

But the muddled middle just doesn't seem to be working.

Brad

PS If I have time I still want to talk about many of the points that Phaedrus brought up.   I don't think this young generation is different, but we're definitely in a system that wants this young generation to feel different.
hush
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since 05-27-2001
Posts 1693
Ohio, USA


8 posted 02-26-2002 11:36 PM       View Profile for hush   Email hush   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for hush

So, what's an adult?

Is an 18 yr. old who can vote, fight for their country, buy cigarettes, work without 30 min. breaks every half-hour an adult?

When I was 16, 17, I swore on my 18th birthday I was going out for a tattoo or a piercing. That day has come and gone, and I didn't rush out... I went to school for 7 hours, ate a quick dinner, and then worked for 5 hours.

Is that what adulthood is about?

My boyfriend and I actually talked about this today. He thinks being an adult (or, at least, the common perception most people have thereof, and the image he can't shake from his mind) is being defeated. I disagree. I didn't feel defeated on my 18th birthday... I felt the same way I feel every day that I'm gone from 8 AM to 930 PM- dutiful.

Does that make me an adult? I had plenty of duties as an adolescent... I'm not only tlaking about "do the dishes, clean your room, finish your homework" duties, but things 13,14,15,16 yr. olds should not have thrust on them... and perhaps it was an immaturity on my part ot accept those duties, because I had the choice, I always had the choice.... but sometimes our very natures make those choices for us. I'm not sure how to clarify without disclosing situations I'd rather not... but do these duties make an adult? I don't know... it's something I've been wondering about lately, and maybe my inability to reach a conclusion is proof of my continued adolescence.

To all the "adults" in here: Is there just some point you reach where you know that now you're all grown up? Because I personally, want to know.

That said... parents can be absolutely wonderful, even as close to perfect as is humanly possible... but there comes a time when they can't hold a child's hand all the time... and more and more, as kids reach adolescence, other factors, people, influences reach them, and I don't care how many people say it's a parent's job to provide a strong enough foundation of morals to keep a child "in line" in spite of all these things, sometimes there is just nothing a parent can do... and I really hope that all parents remember being a pre-teen, a teen, because I know that someday if I have a child like the one I was, I would need that assurance, the knowledge that my child is an individual, and that his/her choices, good or bad, are not mine, not to go off the deep-end myself.

I guess that's all I have to say for now.

"Love is a piano
dropped from a four story window
and you were in the wrong place
at the wrong time." -Ani DiFranco

Brad
Member Ascendant
since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


9 posted 02-27-2002 12:05 AM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't know how to answer the question except to reverse it. You know you're an adult when you no longer feel like a teen. That is, when you don't relate to 'teen' things anymore?

Don't ask me to define what 'teen things' are though.

 
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