Friday, February 14, 2014

Extended Adolescence and the Quest for Youth

Much has been said about our society's issue with our youth not growing up fast enough. Our teens are acting more like children, and our eighteen to twenty-somethings are acting like teenagers. They're unrealistic, impetuous, and controlled by immature emotions. They put off the traditional trappings of adulthood as long as they can. Often this is attributed to a certain amount of pandering on the part of adults. A certain softness in parenting approaches. And while I think these are -to a certain degree- the cause of extended adolescence I don't think these are the only causes. (Note that I'm not commenting on whether or not extended adolescence is a good thing or not, or on parenting styles. That's a completely different article. )

Our culture is obsessed with youth. Creams, exercises, treatments, spas: all aimed at making us all look and feel younger. There are businesses based around youth, lifestyles aimed at it, champions promoting it. Youth promotion surrounds us. But if everyone is trying to push back the clock, what does that mean for the young ones of our culture? I doubt that "youth-promotion" doesn't extend to behavior. I'm told that thirty is the new twenty. What does that imply about our twenty-year-olds?

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