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Centerpointe Research

Adolescence

Decision-Making Time

myopia

myopia (Photo credit: haglundc)

Adolescence is decision-making time for many.  These decisions might effect a person’s whole life.  Have you ever felt that you couldn’t take back something that you have said or done.

There is sometimes a cockiness to adolescence which gives them the power to make judgments, not only for themselves, but others as well, usually their parents or anyone whom they do not really understand.

What preparation do adolescents have for these often very enduring decisions?  “Do what I say; don’t do what I do,” some folks seem to imply when disciplining their adolescents.  Adolescents can be near-sighted and see things only from their own point of view.  They are quick to see the faults of others, but not their own.  Someone else’s problems, especially those of older adults, are easy to solve if they just did what the adolescent thinks that they need to do.

Knowing the repercussions that would accompany most decision choices are usually necessary precursors for making these judgments.  A lot of topics that adolescents need information about are not always covered in public situations but it is reserved for the family or church to do teach these things and ultimately if they don’t get this done, the electronic media or equally uninformed peers do it.

It is amazing who and what teaches our kids.  Their babysitters, preschool if it is a choice, and then there are the parents if they make to decision to keep the children at home and sheltered from outside sources of this information.  In the past, we tried to protect our kids from disturbing information only for them to get it elsewhere sometimes under less than desirable conditions.  Some parents take their responsibility very seriously and others do as little as possible and sometimes they can’t wait to kick the teenager out of the house and on their own at 18 with little or no preparation for independence.

Adolescents ultimately have to make it on their own.  They need to know who they are, what their values and talents or abilities are, how they view the responsibility of being sexually active, answering the question of, “Why am I here“,  and solving their own problems so they can live a happy life.  Also there are 0ften also the jobs of picking a life partner, parenting children, and finding a way to support oneself and dependent others.

What are some other decisions that adolescents usually have to make?  Are they prepared?  Also one part of the brain that has to mature in order for them to make good decisions and to be able to consider long-term over short-term effects of making decisions is not fully developed until sometime in young adulthood.

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Defining Your Identity

English: High school students from the United ...

English: High school students from the United States learn about prerequisites for veterinary school and the veterinary school admissions process at a career fair in March 2005 in Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The process of defining one’s identity can be an arduous task.  It can be a never ending process lasting throughout your entire life.  No wonder some people take the “easy” way out and join a cult.  Scientology is an example of this.  In return for doing what appears to be getting your life in order you give up your freedom to live your own life.  The more unambiguous an organization is the more attractive it is to some people, especially those who can’t deal with ambiguity.

“Foreclosure” is the psychological word for accepting as your identity something that society, your family, your culture has set up for your future without much consideration of what that would mean for you.  Freedom of choice was often not a factor here.  Large catholic families, for example, in the past often had at least one child that they planned to have devote her or his life to the church by becoming a nun, sister, priest, or monk.  If it is a good fit, the person can have a successful life.  Often, especially in the past, this decision was made when the child was very young and while attending Catholic school.

Often one still chooses their identity at an early age even if his or her family did not choose it for them because the process involved in achieving that career takes a lot of preparation and it needs to be done early.  This is often clear when a person decides to make a career change later in life.  Now that people are living longer, it is happening more and more often.  Often it is a part of mid-life crisis.  Often people who do not “jump” into something early in their lives often are afraid that they will “miss the boat.”  Yet those who do so later often have more experience and make better choices.  This is very clear in careers that peak early and bring with them fame and fortune but allow little time for those who are successful that way to develop their talents and their characters.

More to come later on finding your spiritual identity and when, if, and how doing so relates to finding a career.  Also how your initial identity is created by your environment (including your family), by your heredity (abilities, deficiencies, and talents), by the place where you were born, the time when you were born, and by the political and religious issues at that time.

Career path

Career path (Photo credit: highwind012)

 

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Difficulties with Paying Attention

Excuse me, when I wrote about a three step process for learning to control feelings and impulsive behaviors in my earlier post, Supersonic Feelings, I did not discuss how difficult this was to do without the help of a therapist doing this work.  Also self-control which can be assumed to be very useful in doing this is not fully developed until early adulthood in most people and never developed or only partially developed in others, a number of which could be diagnosed as having AD/HD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder)

Adolescents’ brains are not fully mature until late adolescence or young adulthood and as one result, they have difficulty delaying gratification and often impulsively seek immediate rewards rather than controlling themselves in favor of a long-term goal with future greater rewards and  thus avoiding some life changing consequences.  Possibly because of this, setting ages as young as 16, 18, and even 21 as the ages at which a teenager or young adult can handle certain responsibilities might not be a good idea.  Also if teens as young as this are making these sometimes life changing decisions, they should be better educated as to what these decisions entail and the long-term consequences.

Adults as well as children with AD/HD are often easily distracted and have problems focusing their attention on things or activities more than other people.  Disorganization and restlessness are two other common symptoms of this disorder.  Impulsivity can also be a problem for people like this. Medication and psychotherapy are recommended  forms of treatment.

 

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