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The study, published Tuesday in the journal Child Development, found that the percentage of adolescents in the U. who have a driver's license, who have tried alcohol, who date, and who work for pay has plummeted since 1976, with the most precipitous decreases in the past decade.
The declines appeared across race, geographic, and socioeconomic lines, and in rural, urban, and suburban areas.
"Even in families whose parents didn't have a college education...families are smaller, and the idea that children need to be carefully nurtured has really sunk in."The postponement of "adult activities" could not be attributed to more homework or extracurricular activities, the study said, noting that teens today spend fewer hours on homework and the same amount of time on extracurriculars as they did in the 1990s (with the exception of community service, which has risen slightly).
Nor could the use of smartphones and the Internet be entirely the cause, the report said, since the decline began before they were widely available.
Whether the changes are positive or negative depends on the reasons for delaying adult activities, Siegel said.
If the delay is to make room for creative exploration and forming better social and emotional connections, it is a good thing, he said. Why don't I stay with my friends and away from anything that has heavy consequences, like pregnancy or sexually-transmitted diseases?
They are in good company, according to a new study showing that teenagers are increasingly delaying activities that had long been seen as rites of passage into adulthood.
That seems sort of unrealistic."Although the study did not look at people younger than 13, Twenge said she suspects the postponement of adult behavior begins in early childhood, starting with the decrease in children walking to school alone or playing unsupervised.
In recent decades parents have become more restrictive about independent activities, and laws in some states have codified this, banning children from going out in public or staying home without adult accompaniment.(Legislation has also delayed another adult activity: In the 1970s the legal drinking age was as young as 18 in some states; it is now 21 almost universally.)To Daniel Siegel, an adolescent psychiatrist and author of "Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain," it makes sense that adolescents would "remodel" their brains to adapt to a society that has changed since the 19th century."In a culture that says, 'Okay, you're going to go to high school, go to college, go to graduate school, and then get an internship, and you're not going to really be responsible till your late 20s,' well then the brain will respond accordingly," he said.
Coping with a teenager can be difficult for any parent, but teens with epilepsy pose additional problems. Parents don't have complete control over their teens, as much as they may wish to.
Will she put herself at risk of having more seizures by drinking or taking drugs?
"Climate change is super real and it's obviously happening as we speak," she said.