The infantalisation of teenagers/young adults

#1
I am putting this here because I wanted a place to give and recieve thoughts on a topic I have thought about lately. Keep in mind when I refer to teenagers and young adults, I am not just referring to deaf or disabled community, but in general people with and without disabilities.

Is it just me, or are we treating young people younger than they really are now and is this holding them back?

The other day I was watching a football game with a family member. During a break, a coach was talking to one of the younger players and he was holding his head with his hand (in a fatherly way). My family member said this "great to see coaches take a fatherly approach to send a message to the young kids"

The sport is a national/elite competition and the player in question is a 21 year old man old enough to drink.

Don't get me wrong, I am not saying 21 isn't young, it is, but the way my family member was talking you would think the coach was talking to his 5 year old child.

I see this as a common trend in society in general. Young adults are being treated like teenagers and teenagers are being treated like under 12 year olds. You hear the phrase "they grow up too quickly", which I think is a total myth. If anything kids are growing up too slowly now. 18 year olds act like 15 year olds, 26 year olds acting like 8 year olds. I believe this is to do with how they are treated. The baby boomers in general have always been afraid of their kids growing up so much that they subconsciously hold them back by still pampering when they are older.

example:

I know a 25 year old whose parents think that because this person can heat up things in a a microwave and take public transport somewhere, this person is "independent". I am sorry, but that is not independence for a 25 year old, that is independence for a 15 year old. Independence for a 25 year old should be, has their own place, cooks their own meals properly.

I understand it's harder to afford housing now and I don't think there is anything wrong with still living with parents in your 20s but I don't think that means they should still be treated like children.

Does anyone else see this? or is it just me?
 

rockin'robin

Well-Known Member
#2
Not just you...by the time my boys reached 16....they thought they were "grown azz men!"...LOL....Teenagers are difficult and mine said I treated them like children. Now in their 20's? and living independently? (not at home)...they are realizing that: factually...they don't know everything. Mothers tend to spoil their kids, no matter the age….So in other words: you are still a little boy to them.
Nothing wrong with living with ur parents in ur 20's...as long as you are working and paying for room and board, cleaning up after yourself too..
 
#3
understand it's harder to afford housing now and I don't think there is anything wrong with still living with parents in your 20s but I don't think that means they should still be treated like children.
Thank you for respecting those of us who are still stuck with our parents for financial reasoning. Until I am able somehow to rack up double of what I am getting in SSI alone (AFTER their penalties) living on my own won't be a reality...

Anyways I believe parents are just too "scared" of losing their "precious". I had actually an actual example of this...

I wanted to add ~500 door hangers (my mom asked our police department and they said these are legal to put up) for my pet care servicing. In order to bring in clients relativity quickly (the idea is to market to a lot that way even if most won't buy it you will likely end up with a few in the end).

However she was worried that I would be "vulnerable" due to being deaf/blind. After I told her it not much different than a "normal" human being AND various conditions I can ensure that I am safe or at least tell if I am LIKELY to be in danger. She had shortly thereafter understood what I meant.

After further getting this up and going we had came to "halt" given I believe that for services people TENDS to expect...
1. Email
2. Phone
Both I could supply but we figured that people will likely not care/understand to speak to a IP Relay Operator... So we both halted on this as we don't know how to go about getting clients that will be likely do this in walking distances...
 
#4
Savage WP-
I have been railing against this for years. Many individuals and the media refer to teens and 'children.' The graduating class from Parkland, FL are referred to as children. They are young adults. Immigration Services and the media refer to unaccompanied minors at the border as children. Some of them certainly are, but a 15 yer old who left school at 12 to work to help support his family until some gang endangered his life is a young adult. He or she helped support the family for years, discussed his options more or less maturely (if fearfully) with his family, then made his way alone or with a pal all the way across Mexico. This is not a child who needs protection. It is a young adult making is way and protecting himself as best he may.

In small towns in Guatemala an unmarried 25 year old is not really considered an adult until he marries. That's when he takes up full responsibility of community membership. His or her 16 year old married brother is considered an adult and allowed a voice in community meetings. Only a few hundred years ago our own ancestors felt similarly- at 10 you were old enough to become an apprentice in a business because everyone "knew" parents could no longer properly teach a 10 - 12 year old, precisely because the tendency for a parent is to protect. Conditions were very different so comparisons are of limited value, but a 16 year old rebels against parental limits because they are biologically programmed to expect autonomy by then.

I get most upset about this in the discussions of sexual abuse and predation. We have heard lengthy recriminations that young men and women 14 to 23 and older should have been protected from predators. I see that as crazy. Children under 10 should be encouraged to learn self-defense, both physical moves or martial arts but also they should learn about all the classic 'grooming' lines predators use to get close to their victims. They need to know that sexual predation exists, same as bullying exists. The argument against this is that our precious kids should not even know there is evil in the world, and God forbid they should know details of sex. We end up with is grown men and women who are so naive they do not recognize that they should not have meetings alone in a man's hotel room- who are so unsure of themselves they fear losing their jobs more than they value their self-respect. It's just sick.

My dad raised us to embrace adventure. He always assumed we were competent to do what we hoped to do, unless he knew otherwise. By the time I was 12 and my sister 14 we were allowed to go on an trip by bike of 40 miles, with an overnight stop. Alone. "Got your maps?" "Yes, Pop." "Got change to make a phone call?" "Yes, Pop." "Bed roll?" "Yes, Pop". "Have a fabulous time! See you tomorrow night." He was not strong on information about predators, but that was the times. We put it together ourselves. You can't ride the subway (high school) in a major city without learning about creeps. If someone put their hands on us we smashed them in the shins.

I've made my mistakes in life but they occurred because I was playing the fool, not because I lacked information. I've done things few others dared to do and, while I ran into predators, I luckily always found a way to talk my way free or escape harm in some other way. I climbed a tree on a deserted road in El Salvador to get away from a guy. It might have worked out badly but most people are not good climbers, or they fear heights. That would not have worked with a bear but Pop taught us bout bears, too!

You get my point. If you treat older teens as needing protection, instead of teaching them how to protect themselves... they don't seem to grow up.
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
#5
I think every generation- from the beginning of time goes through this really. OK not the beginning of time... maybe around the time of industrial revolution? Meh... it's just more noticeable and 'in your face" now because of the instant news and the internet so easier access and easier way to spread news.

Most kids I know, both family and those belonging to a few friends of mine, are well adjusted, with a good education (most of the time). Sure sometimes the parents worry and may kind of 'overprotect' but in general most of the kids- at least the ones I know are prepared for the future; there's only 1 I can think of who fits the description in the OP....'babied', mom tries to be the friend more than the mother(she is in her 30s... certainly not a baby boomer!). I know my niece and nephew are ready- both of them did chores, know how to cook, academically they're hard workers, nephie is in JROTC (!!). Me- well I barely know how to cook, but that's because I hate to cook- we were allowed to make small stuff and sis I think did later do desserts/cakes and I think dinner sometimes- not the 'quick and easy' stuff like soup or something(or my memory is fuzzy).

Sure there are 'infantalized' (sp) teens and young adults... but I also see many 'immature' adults over the age of 30, 40, up into their 70s.
 

Beowulf

Well-Known Member
Premium Member
#6
Good post. I am presently not prone to lengthy discussion, because I see things around me as self-evident. It is certainly not my fault that others do not see what I do.
Guatemala? I imagine that their teens are no different than in, say, Nicaragua. I traveled through there ages ago, and there is one searing difference between them and the USA teens... Their eyes. Know what I mean? You look into them there and point with your chin and there is a frank discussion going on. They hold their own, and you respect them for it, since it is unmistakable. I was just the weird gringo, and when one of them laughs, the whole village does. I never had problems there.
Just an hour ago I was at the convenience store to get some booze and had to pass through a group of teenagers. A girl who must have been no older than fifteen accosted me, looked me in my eyes, recoiled, said something to the others and they became alpha. Their eyes were were so white they lit up the evening. I asked the biggest one "Do you know what you are doing?" He looked at the ground while mumbling something to me.
I am not really sure what I am trying to say, except that the "children" of today's world is in for a whole world of hurt.
Eh bien.
 

Lysander

Active Member
Premium Member
#7
I used to do safe sex education for the Red Cross as well as a few other agencies when I was in my early 20's. One of the things that I found most disturbing was the unwillingness of adults to accept that their children were young adults who were sexually active. I would go into schools to do education and be told by the school, you can't discuss this or that type of sex, you can't discuss rape, you can't discuss condoms...etc. I was constantly told that the teenagers, some who were 14+, that this was too sensitive a topic for how young they were. In my head I'm thinking, I had sex when I was 11, by choice with a person my age, I know many of my friends in school were sexually active in middle school. So these young people are already doing these things and yet we are still in denial believing they are "too young" for this topic. You can't be too young for a topic if you're already doing the topic.

I also am often annoyed by parents who don't let their teenage kids play outside unaccompanied. When I was 10 I would ride my bike out with my friends and I would be gone all day. My parents knew we were out of the house, but didn't know where we were or what we were doing. They just trusted that we were smart enough to handle ourselves. Utah just had to decriminalize doing this with your own children. In many states this would now be grounds for a CYS call for neglect.

I totally agree with you. We're making young people less adult by trying to "protect" them.
 

Muse

Active Member
#8
"People who can't control themselves control the people around them. When you rely on someone for a positive reflected sense of self, you invariably try to control him or her." -- David Schnarch, Ph.D.

Helicopter parenting in a nutshell. It's like codependent parenting, but with cool rotor blades.
 
#9
"People who can't control themselves control the people around them. When you rely on someone for a positive reflected sense of self, you invariably try to control him or her." -- David Schnarch, Ph.D.

Helicopter parenting in a nutshell. It's like codependent parenting, but with cool rotor blades.
OUCH! That is vicious, no doubt too true, comment. It is worth keeping in mind that general breakdown of community and a lack of space to roam (decline of rural communities means people are boxed up in cities) has, indeed, made the world a more dangerous place for everyone. Parents face a world unlike the one I grew up in. That said, they often try to protect rather than helping the kids get tools to cope. DeafDucky- you are likely right there are lots of competent kids around, but as Lysander points out, they are not getting crucial tools in their schools, nor at home.

The Boy Scouts should have safe sex badges.
 

DeafDucky

Well-Known Member
#10
The Boy Scouts should have safe sex badges.
and Girl Scouts.. and Trail Life (oh...maybe not-- they may teach abstinence...:P).

True I do agree on the part about the decline of getting appropriate tools at school...or at home sometimes. Schools keep cutting so much necessary classes- sex ed, home ec, woodworking, vocational type classes (hell probably even typing class) in favor of cramming more studying and 'preparing' for state standardized testing and not the every day teaching they NEED. Screw Standardized testing...
 

Muse

Active Member
#11
OUCH! That is vicious, no doubt too true, comment. It is worth keeping in mind that general breakdown of community and a lack of space to roam (decline of rural communities means people are boxed up in cities) has, indeed, made the world a more dangerous place for everyone. Parents face a world unlike the one I grew up in. That said, they often try to protect rather than helping the kids get tools to cope. DeafDucky- you are likely right there are lots of competent kids around, but as Lysander points out, they are not getting crucial tools in their schools, nor at home.

The Boy Scouts should have safe sex badges.
Yeah, I came off a little hard on that one and own up to it. The idea of helicopter parents hits close to home because I've seen brilliant friends completely set back by well-meaning but unconscious parents. Still though, no excuse for me to come in with semantic guns a-blazin'.

I'm not so inclined to think the world is any more significantly dangerous than before, but honestly that is a different discussion. I think you're spot on with parents not sure how to cope with the world today, though. I know I'd feel apprehensive if I was one of them!