Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Children no longer

Teens have a champion!

The Case Against Adolescence-Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen by Robert Epstein is a must read for anyone with young people in their lives. Adolescence exists mainly because of ignorance on the part of adults-according to the author. Crazy teens, badly behaved youth, are a result of artificially extending childhood.

I am so impressed by the book that I will be writing a short series covering some of its chapters.
I understand from the author that the new addition of the book comes out in a couple of months at amazon.com so stay tuned!
Now to the series:
why am excited about the book? Well as you know I follow an unschool philosophy as much as I can with the goal of raising competent, creative, self directed, useful young people. As they grow older and they start entering into their teens, I want my daughters to have opportunities to expand on what I've helped establish. But I can see that society is not ready for this.
For example,my 13 year old is as competent as most adults in many ways and yet the only job available to her right now is babysitting. Kids her age are not allowed to work more challenging fields- they are basically held back.
Can we find ways to create more meaningful opportunities for young people?

You might be surprised to hear that rather than tightening restrictions on young people we need to be loosening them. Teens as a group have more restrictions that prisoners or the mentally sick according to Epstein's research. In an interview with Psychology Today (Trashing Teens), Epstein reports,"in recent surveys I've found that American teens are subjected to more than 10 times as many restrictions as mainstream adults, twice as many restrictions as active-duty U.S. Marines, and even twice as many as incarcerated felons. Psychologist Diane Dumas and I also found a correlation between infantilization and psychological dysfunction. The more young people are infantilized, the more psychopathology they show."
Can this explains some of the brutality and violence we're witnessing in public schools across North America?

Next blog posting: The Creation of Adolescence

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