Hudson Valley Parent

HVP March 2016

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26 Hudson Valley Parent n March 2016 and with it, adolescent behavior. Adolescents often reflect back a dis- torted mirror image of the contemporary society in which they live and, today's adolescents are no exception. To understand adolescence, one needs to understand the times in which they live, and not look at their adolescent through the lens of their own experience. In many ways, contem- porary youth experience the same truths we all experienced - the importance that parents, peers, school, community, and culture play in their lives. However, the world as we know it has changed significant- ly, much of today's youth is decided- ly different from any other genera- tion. The speed of current societal changes has created a very different adolescent passage. How and why it's changed Up until recently, adolescence was seen as a transitional moratori- um that separated childhood from the demands and responsibilities of adulthood. Today, it has become one of the longest developmental periods, beginning earlier, and in many cases, lasting longer if your child is living home after college graduation. Kids seem to acquire a level of sophistication at a younger age, yet are remaining in an ado- lescent stage for a longer period. Today's adolescent doesn't just jump into adulthood as in the past - it's By DR. PAUL SCHWARTZ M y colleague and I recently had a book pub- lished titled Adolescence: Constants and Challeng- es. If we had written a book solely for parents, it would be titled Ad- olescence: Constantly Challenging. Through all stages of development, our children try our pa- tience and require us to develop an understanding of their views. As a parent of an adolescent, if you often ask yourself "What happened to that little person I knew and understood so well?" please be assured you are not alone. Dif ferent but similar If you think you can understand your adolescent by drawing on your own experiences, you're mistaken. Times have changed dramatically now a slow and gradual weaning process. The implications of this shift are significant. Young children are dis- playing behaviors well before they are ready to act on or understand their meaning, and older adolescents are staying perpetual children. As one writer put it, "the conveyer belt that transported adolescents into adulthood has broken down." Technically speaking This generation has been called the "plugged in" generation because of their cell phones, MP3's, com- puters, laptops, tablets, e-readers, and of course TV and radios. The variable that has produced the most significant change has been the In- ternet and the ever-expanding world of social networking. Adolescents can now shop for anything in any part of the world in a matter of seconds, but the Internet has dramatically altered the way they communicate with each other socially. Online friendships have be- come the hallmark of this generation as face-to-face communication for many adolescents has been eclipsed by Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Why today's adolescent journey is dif ferent from yours PAUL SCHWARTZ Child Behavior "The conveyer belt that transported adoles- cents into adulthood has broken down." "Today's adolescent doesn't just jump into adulthood as in the past – it's now a slow and gradual weaning process."

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