National Indie Excellence Awards, first prize in the Parenting and Family category Arguing that adolescence is an unnecessary period of life that people are better off without, this groundbreaking study shows that teen confusion and hardships are caused by outmoded systems that were designed to destroy the continuum between childhood and adulthood. Documenting how teens are isolated from adults and are forced to look to their media-dominated peers for knowledge, this discussion contends that by infantilizing young people, society does irrevocable harm to their development and well-being. Instead, parents, teachers, employers, and others must rediscover the adults in young people by giving them authority and responsibility as soon as they exhibit readiness. Teens are highly capablein some ways more than adultsand this landmark discussion offers paths for reaching and enhancing the competence in America's youth.
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About the Author
Robert Epstein, PhD, is the former editor in chief of Psychology Today, a contributing editor to Scientific American Mind, and the host of the radio show Psyched! A visiting scholar at the University of CaliforniaSan Diego and former university research professor at the California School of Professional Psychology, he is the founder and director emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies and the developer of many parenting, adolescence, and other competency tests. He is the author of many articles and books, including The Big Book of series. He lives in San Diego, California.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations xiv
Foreword Albert Ellis xv
Preface to the New Edition xix
A Note to the Reader xxi
Part 1 The Case Against the Artificial Extension of Childhood
1 The Chaos and the Cause 3
2 The Creation of Adolescence 23
3 Adolescence Abroad 75
4 Instant Adulthood 95
5 Storm and Stress 117
Part 2 The Capabilities of Young People
6 Adultness 147
7 Young People Are Capable Thinkers 163
8 Young People Can Love 203
9 Young People Are Tough 227
10 Young People Are Creative 251
11 Young People Can Handle Responsibility 267
12 What Does the Bible Say? 287
Part 3 How We Must Change
13 How Society Must Change 315
14 Why Some Will Resist 351
Appendix 1 How Adult Are You? 377
Appendix 2 Adult and Teen Competency Scores on the EDTA 382
Appendix 3 A Debate About Teen Crime 383
Appendix 4 Plato, Socrates, and Aristotle on Teens 386
Appendix 5 Brief Timeline of Teen Restrictions in the United States 388
Appendix 6 Resources on Teen Rights 392
Appendix 7 Finding the Inner Adult in Your Teen 398
Appendix 8 The Young Person's Bill of Rights 412
About the Author 536
What People are Saying About This
I heartily believe in the validity of what [the author] is saying. Furthermore, I believe what he is saying to have vast consequences for our society. All of America should take note.
Adolescence was invented in the 19th century to enable middleclass families to keep their children out of sweatshops. . . . It's a social experiment that failed. Dr. Epstein's book traces the history of the problem, demonstrates with unrelenting perseverance that much of the turmoil of our teens is a creation of our culture, and offers a specific and detailed proposal for getting our young people back on track.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I have this book and I agree that we are infantilizing teens through restrictions and lower standards, and that we need competency- based restrictions, and not age- based restrictions. However, his solutions, such as different competency tests for everything (e.g. sex, voting, drinking, and smoking) I don't agree with. He thinks people of any age who don't know about birth control and protection should not be allowed to have sex. He proposes allowing 5 year olds to vote if they simply know what voting is. If a 4 year old steals we can give him a competency test and if he simply says stealing is wrong/ you can go to jail for stealing then he gets an adult punishment. He doesn't realize some things can only come with age/ time and he never said we should become legal adults when we have independent judgment and foresight skills. He does bring up how people used to marry young, but there isn't any research on whether they were ready for it or regretted it.