Believe it or not, teens have changed drastically over the years. There are new challenges with millennial teen boys and girls that were never an issue before. New studies are showing that the rate of pregnancy and alcohol use have plummeted (past issues of past generations), along with how many are working part-time jobs.
Surveys are showing that teens are “less likely to drive, date or go out without their parents than their counterparts 10 or 20 years ago.” So, what’s changed? Why are teens not doing the “adult” things teens were doing just a couple of decades ago?
They’re not just ‘lazy’
While the number of teens working has gone down, simply calling them “lazy” doesn’t explain the other factors. It doesn’t explain why teens are being more responsible with sex (lower pregnancy rate) or alcohol.
In a recent article by CNN, Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, delved into his theory of why teens are staying teens longer than before. He says it has to do with adulthood itself.
Working, alcohol, driving, sex–they’re all things that “adults” commonly do. So, Twenge suggests, what if teens aren’t more responsible, they’re just trying to grow up more slowly?
He connects it to the “life history theory” which puts development into two categories: slow or fast. The “slow life strategy” happens most often in places where there are fewer children being born and more time spent on each child’s individual growth. This is pretty close to what we do in the United States currently–but 20 years ago, it wasn’t this way.
Just two decades ago, it was still necessary to have more than two children for many families. There was a harder focus on surviving day-to-day rather than making sure each of your children knew how to play an instrument. Teens needed to grow up faster, not slower.
So far, researchers can’t decide which strategy is “better,” but they are different and show why challenges with millennial teen boys and girls have changed.
Is growing up more slowly an issue?
There are setbacks to both strategies. The “fast” version means that teens are more prepared to enter adulthood, but receive a less rich childhood. They’re deprived of the level of care that comes with a “slow” strategy–possibly leading to future issues.
While growing up slowly provides a more involved childhood, it may mean that we need to learn how to guide, prepare, and transition our teens into adulthood that we haven’t before.
Independence, social, and decision-making are common challenges with millennial teen boys and girls. They also happen to be essential skills for adult life, but it seems to instill these into our children, we may have to place a deeper focus on them at home and in school.
blueFire works through and treats challenges with millennial teen boys and girls
blueFire Wilderness is a wilderness therapy program for teens. We help teens, ages 11 to 17, grappling with depression, ADHD, anxiety, defiance, and other emotional or behavioral problems.
At blueFire, we strive to help each client find their inner confidence and succeed. We believe that through a balance of self-assessment, insight oriented therapy, outdoor living, adventure activities and academic focus these teens will find their true selves. We provide a supportive opportunity for parents and children to reconnect and strengthen their relationship.
For more information about how we handle challenges with millennial teen girls & boys at blueFire Wilderness, please call 1 (844) 413-1999 today.