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Escaping the Endless Adolescence: How We Can Help Our Teenagers Grow Up Before They Grow Old Hardcover – October 20, 2009
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"Adolescents are actually two people in one—a regressed child and an emergent adult. For too long parents and experts alike have concentrated on the former to the detriment of the latter. Thankfully, the Allens have refocused attention back to what matters most for teenagers today—the emergent adult they are striving to become. This book is simultaneously a wake up call and a breath of fresh air for parents. A delightful read that quickly gives one a more hopeful perspective on any teenager."—Mike Riera, Ph.D., author of Field Guide to the American Teenager and Uncommon Sense for Parents with Teenagers
“This superb and timely book describes a very real and troubling problem while treating teens and parents with empathy and respect. The authors demolish several widely accepted myths about adolescents and offer practical strategies to help young people become productive, responsible, and caring adults.”— Jean Kilbourne, Ed.D., co- author, So Sexy So Soon: The New Sexualized Childhood and What Parents Can Do to Protect Their Kids
"I hear often from parents whose teenagers are disengaged or withdrawn. They have a hard time caring what other kids think, or what society expects of them. They're having a hard time playing the game of resume-building for a far-off future. Now I have the perfect book to recommend: Escaping the Endless Adolescence."—Newsweek.com
"Psychologists Allen and Allen begin their important and far-reaching work by asking when 25 became the new 15. Why, in other words, are more and more young people unable to launch successfully into adulthood, returning home after college and becoming known as the "boomerang generation"?... They persuasively argue for a greater role for adolescents in adult society, one with more responsibility and exposure to adulthood. An outstanding contribution to the literature."—Library Journal
About the Author
Joseph Allen, Ph.D., is a professor of psychology and the director of clinical training at the University of Virginia and a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in working with adolescents. In an ambitious ninety-classroom study funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, Allen is currently collaborating on a teacher-training project designed to improve students’ engagement, motivation, and, ultimately, their academic performance.
Claudia Worrell Allen, Ph.D., J.D., is an associate professor and the director of behavioral science in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Virginia. For fifteen years she has been a licensed clinical psychologist with an active private practice for adolescents and their families.
Married and the parents of three preteen and teenage children, the Allens live in Charlottesville, Virginia.
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I already knew that our society shortchanges teenagers and treats them too much like little kids. I already knew teenagers are capable of far more responsibility than our society gives them credit for. I already knew common sense said we should do things differently. This book confirmed all that. But it did more. It made me realize the situation was worse than I thought, but also easier to solve than I'd imagined. Several things in it clarified some of my own thinking, and warned me away from a couple of errors I've been making.
For instance. Teenagers need responsibility. It's critical for their growth and maturity, but also for their mental and emotional health. I already knew that. But this book explains how the typical teenage jobs these days - fast food and the like - are not adequate. They don't actually help, and may in fact hurt because they often end up not really demanding much responsibility, creating yet another environment of hypersocialization by peers, and give the kid a false sense of wealth.
Hypersocialization by peers? That's another subject the authors cover. They point out that while we joke or complain about "Lord of the Flies" type behavior from youths, we are unthinkingly trapping our kids in that exact sort of environment. One where they are cut off from real adult interaction and left to be socialized - civilized - by each other.
If you think we should raise civilized, happy, healthy, and perhaps even productive children, read this book and take it's message to heart.
Along with John Gatto, the authors posit (with research backing them up) that meaningful work can turn around even the most difficult teen.
Even "good kids" can fall into the depression that accompanies the endless adolescence, so changing parenting startegy can help.
Some important tips for parenting adolescents include the following.
--If a kid can do a task, have the kid do the task. If the kid can't, teach the kid.
--Include teens in adult activities.
--Support teens as they seek to grow up.
--Build relationships with teens and help them build relationships with other adults.
--Keep the teens challenged.
--Be truthful with teens.
This book is good, and anyone with kids should read it
How to grow our children strong enough to take their place in society and be happy? This is my daily quest as a mother. I believe this book gave me good material for thinking about how I am working on this goal and improve.
I enjoyed very much the chapter about high school. Taking apart some differences, here in Brazil and Argentina too, there is the same pattern and problems. I believe that the many interesting ideas in this book, on how high school could be to serve better to our teens and families, are worth taking into account and further discussion.
Ironically, adolescents desparately want to be seen as adults. However, we isolate them from the adult world and its responsibilities, mutual dependence, and possibilities of making a difference to others. The result, according to the Allens and their research, is that adolescents don't grow up, or they engage in risky adult-like behaviors absent healthy alternatives. All this being said, they explore programs, activities, and insitutions where adolescents can meaningfully engage with adults in adult activities. This is the necessary fix to solve the problem of the endless adolescence. The Allens have provided a template for educators, parents, practitioners, and researchers to begin repairing the damages we have collectively done. Do not hesitate to purchase this book.