Extending Adolescence

Recently Andrew mentioned that new theories in human development propose a new stage between adolescence and adulthood, called “post-adolescence.”

I tend to think that adolescence is a social construct. 500 years ago, and even in some cultures today, teens 14-18 would just get married and begin families–never mind high school, college, or backpacking across Europe. Adolescence is basically human beings in adult bodies being permitted to act like children.

I feel sorry for teens today. Because of social expectations and failing schools, education has to be stretched out to 18 or 22 (or more) years. This puts them between a rock, a hard place and another rock. Their bodies are ready for marriage and sex at 14-16. If they get married at that age they risk not finishing secondary or undergraduate schooling. So they’re stuck holding it in for nearly a decade until they’re “on their feet” financially, or they engage in premarital sex with all its negative consequences.

My coworkers thought it strange that I was so eager to get married when I graduated at 21. I suppose if I had been “getting some” I wouldn’t have been as eager. But I’ve never understood our culture’s obsession with youth and all that which comes with it. I’ve always been eager to move ahead–to finish college, get married, have kids soon, get a higher degree, teach. My struggle is to stay content and enjoy the journey, not just the destination.

If only we could skip adolescence…

Benj

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About Benj

I’m a native North Jerseyan, exiled to the land of Phillies fans…an Old Testament professor and former liturgist…husband to Corrie…father to Daniel and Elizabeth…eldest sibling to three, brother-in-law to Josh and Hannah…uncle to Marshall.
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3 Responses to Extending Adolescence

  1. v02468 says:

    yeah, it would be nice wouldn’t it?

    although I don’t think a successful school could prepare someone for marriage at 14 or 16. We have much more content to train people in today as specialization has been left behind. I’m not sure what a good model should look like.

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