Coevolving Innovations

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How adult is your teen?

Posted on August 27, 2007 by daviding

In the weekend Globe & Mail Focus section, Tralee Pearce wrote an article titled “Adolescence is obsolete” (subscription required, unfortunately). It outlines a new book The Case Against Adolescence: Rediscovering the Adult in Every Teen by a former editor of Psychology Today, Robert Epstein. (As an alternative, there’s lots of links to articles, essays and even video on adolescence on the drrobertepstein site).

Pearce writes that Epstein:

…. challenges this drive to postpone the rights and obligations of adulthood. He suggests that we have lost track of what it means to be an adult – and underestimate just want it takes to become one.

The short version — 140 questions! — of the Epstein-Dumas Test of Adultness is available online at howadultareyou.com . (I haven’t taken this test, because I’m arrogant enough to actually believe that I approach a half-century in age, I am an adult!)

In my personal upbringing, I doubt that I had the classical childhood. I was helping out in the kitchen of the family restaurant before I was 10 years old, and was the buyer of records — LPs, 8-tracks and cassettes in those days! — as well as home stereos in my father’s retail store while I was a teenager.

As a parent, I’ve rarely coddled my kids, and have always tried to allow them to make their own choices and take responsibility. Of course, I haven’t always agreed with their directions, so I do have memories of saying “It’s your choice … but I wouldn’t do it that way”. Others will get to judge how adult my sons really are.

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