Gut Rumbles

October 31, 2005

Maturity is a state of mind.....

I was reading this blog earlier, and the question came up about whether teens today seem to mature faster and are more mature than teens were even a decade ago, and why that may be.

Personally, I think kids today are a lot more adult than we were a decade ago. But that's not to say they are at all mature. Their whole lives are scheduled from preschool playdates to scouts to music lessons to soccer to varsity cheer squad. Either so Mom and Dad don't have to pay a babysitter (like my former boss) or to pad that all-important college resume (and the more important but less well known Parenting resume...."Oh your kid sings?? Well mine plays piano, violin, and cello, speaks 4 languages and is applying for his eagle scout..." You know, THAT parenting resume). Kids are also exposed to more adult themes and adult material. Swear words are common on primetime TV, sex and drug use is rampant in movies. Kids don't seem to get a chance to be kids anymore.

Ironically, though, when these kids act like kids, when they get in trouble, when they screw up royally, they don't even get a chance to do some real growing up, because Mom and Dad turn around and fix it for them. There aren't any consequences because Mom and Dad fix everything.

So basically what we get are a bunch of little adults. Little adults without the maturity to deal with their lives and without the tools to understand the consequences of their actions. But every study that's ever been done, sociologically, medically, psychologically shows that kids are kids, not little adults. Their brains and bodies don't work the same way as adults. So when they try to be adults, it goes bad.

So are they mature, no. Maturity to me is the ability to relate approriately to a situation and respond accordingly. Maturity means accepting responsibility and understanding that the right thing to do frequently isn't the easy thing to do. Keeping kids from being kids actually strips them of the maturity most of us acquired simply by having fun with our friends, getting into trouble, and discovering the adult world at our own pace

What do y'all think? I know what Rob would say, since his childhood is one of his favorite topics around here....


You said it all, nothing more to be said. My kids are individuals, not clones of me. Or trophies. Or dress-up dolls. Or a fantasy sports team.

Posted by: Bane on October 31, 2005 05:40 PM

If you can call a group of 16 Y.O.s acting like a pre-school class mature, then you can call the teens of today mature. Most of them will not be independent until at least 30 years old. A few years ago you either went to college or got a job at age 18. Now they expect and receive support from their parents or the government for years after they are supposed to be adults. Most are just a bunch of pampered A**holes.

Posted by: scrapiron on November 1, 2005 01:41 AM

I was in the military at age 18.

By 18 and half, I was a VERY mature adult, along with all my green suited peers.

Sergeants do that to you.

Posted by: Henry Blowfly on November 1, 2005 04:39 AM

I love how older people generalize and deride the younger generations increasingly as they grow further from them. That's not necessarily happening here, but you can see it in things written now or 200 years ago.

Some kids get the royal treatment, little princes and princesses who order their parents like slaves. But that's atypical now, like stay-at-home moms, most kids get little enough parental attention that they grow up on their own. At college I've seen a lot of calls-mommy-every-day, but also guys who can pick a lock, replace a carbeurator, code in C++, cook duck condon bleu, or scale a brick building by their fingertips, and still make A's in Arabic, Chinese, and Russian (even if they're blind).

Posted by: shane on November 1, 2005 05:33 AM

Well, I've seen a lot that certainly do fall into your "not mature" but "little adult" category; however, I have also seen a lot of young 'uns who were VERY mature before their time. I think it's fair to say that there are a LOT though, that fall into exactly what you described.

Posted by: Lisa on November 1, 2005 09:58 AM

Hey, you kids, get off my lawn.

Damn whippersnappers...

Posted by: Rich on November 1, 2005 11:12 AM

umm shane, any clue how old I am? the difference between me and a teenager is less than a decade.

Posted by: caltechgirl on November 1, 2005 12:07 PM

Maturiy depends on the individual kid I reckon. I have seen some at 13 or 14 that were adults in everything but age and experience and others at 18 that were still kids.

But, kids that are not given responsibility and delegated the authority to make decisions will not mature. As Heny Blowfly said, Sgts can make a person mature very rapidly. But it should have to be that way.

Posted by: GUYK on November 1, 2005 04:05 PM

"So basically what we get are a bunch of little adults".... Grrrr... just what we need, more immature adults running around. Like my momma always used to say "a little work never hurt no one."

Posted by: Danielle on November 1, 2005 04:52 PM

I think the MTV show "Laguna Beach" epitomizes the little adults you write of. Don't ask me why I know that.

Posted by: Danielle on November 1, 2005 04:57 PM
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