Blog: Teen Psychology

PSYCHOLOGY, “TEEN BRAIN”
The opinions expressed in blog posts are those of the author and not necessarily those of YouthFacts.org

Why are Atlantic, New Yorker, Harper’s, and other liberal-intellectual journals peddling primitive psychobabble about young people? Are authors like Elizabeth Kolbert, Caitlin Flanagan, Rebecca Solnit, and Ron Powers so angry at teenagers that their middle-aged brains can’t think straight?

Do leaders and interests really care about “teen suicide” — or just how they can use it? Teens commit suicide at far lower rates than adults, and the few who do have real causes of distress led by their families’ rejection, violence, depression, and addiction. It’s unconscionable that politicians and interests cynically exploit “teen suicide” to popularize themselves and push their own agendas.

Blaming adolescents for adult depression is unwarranted. A recent study in the British Medical Journal receiving widespread publicity claimed bullying by teenagers was associated with one-third of adult depression. This is part of a growing effort to blame youths for adult problems. Our letter published in BMJ argues that study authors failed to control for obvious confounds — especially physical, sexual, and psychological abuse (that is, extreme bullying) of children and teenagers by adults.

Those reckless… grownups. Male drivers and drivers age 21-44 are less likely to use seat belts than teens… but guess who gets called reckless and immature?

Very few teens suffer eating disorders. Why are new findings that 97% of teens never had an eating disorder and 94% show no signs to developing one being treated as such bad news that authorities and experts insist on trying to convince young people that mass eating disorder is the normality?

Critics of students’ critical thinking skills ain’t no critical thinkers themselves. Former Harvard University President Derek Bok, the shallow, youth-bashing Miller-McCune magazine, and a host of lofty commentators eagerly aped a recent study claiming students today lack critical skills. But, funny thing, none of these lofty types displayed a shred of critical thinking themselves!

Terrible news! Teens are happier and getting more so. In a long-term finding certain to infuriate interest groups and upset many adults, Monitoring the Future reports the large majority of teenagers are happy with their friends, school, themselves, and many aspects of their lives, and getting more so. We grownups can’t have that! Convince those kids that, in the words of pop-psychologist Jean Twenge, they’re really “miserable”!

Why are ‘experts’ so traumatized by “Kid Nation”? Do we need to install V-chips on TVs to protect fragile grownups from CBS’s new reality series, “Kid Nation”? What accounts for the outpouring of apocalyptic fear about the dangers of a show that deputized 40 children ages 8 to 15 to spend a few weeks restoring a decrepit New Mexico mining town?