Saturday, August 29, 2009

Adolescence Abroad

Is adolescence in Canada or the US the same as adolescence in Burma, or Ghana?
If not how does it differ? What are the effects of western style adolescence on non western communities?
The third chapter of Robert Epstein's Book The Case Against Adolescence examines these questions in detail and concludes that our type of adolescence is an anomaly. It isn't like this everywhere.
And while our kids are arguing with us to buy them lap-tops and the latest designer jeans, kids over in China or Indonesia are manufacturing these items. Are they (kids abroad) hard done by?

"In pre-industrial nations where young people are rapidly integrated into adult society at an early age,teen turmoil is largely absent. A recent study of 186 preindustrial societies indicates that 60% of such societies don't even have a word for adolescence and that antisocial behaviour in young males is completely asent in more than half of them. When teen problems are beginning to emerge in various countries around the world, they can be traced to the increasing isolation of teens from adults brought about by Western education practices, labor restrictions and media."

Epstein asks a disturbing question: Is it possible that many teens feel empty, frustrated, and angry because their lives lack real meaning? (As compared to the busy work that we keep kids doing at school?)

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