Friday, July 12, 2013

The Dumbass Decade

Everyone who has teenagers or deals with teenagers on a regular basis always complains how they think they know everything and how it is hard to talk to them. This has been the case since the dawn of time. 
“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”
 Sound familiar? That's a quote from Socrates. So, see, it's nothing new. I have found that this is a purely physiological process, and I read an article that showed me I was right in my theory that everyone goes through about 10 years of being...well...a dumbass. Some people enter it at different ages and some leave it at different ages (some never leave it), but it is around the ages of 14 - 25. Here is the biological explanation that I have found. It helps me deal with people of this age and allow them their 10 years. Of course, after age 25 I have no patience for more of this behavior, what can I say?
     Around the age of 14, puberty hits. Hormones are running wild, boys start to grow facial hair, girls start to develop breasts, and they notice each other in ways they never did before. By 16 or so many of  them look like adults, so of course they feel like they are. Here in America, they can drive by the time they are 17 (depending on the state they live in), they finish school by 18 (other countries by 17), and society tells them they are adults when they are out of high school. At 18, they are viewed as adults and treated as adults. The problem is, the human brain hasn't finished developing yet. The last part of  the brain to develop is the rational, decision-making piece--it develops around the age of 25! This is why I think the peak of the dumbass decade is around 19. At 19 the feeling of being an adult has settled in and now they think they are "all that" if you know what I mean. All kinds of decisions are being made during these years without the ability to make decisions...aka DUMBASS.
     Around 20, hopefully, they start to feel the consequences of this behavior. Let me take a moment to say I feel that parents need to allow them to feel the consequences on their own if they hope for this to fade into the realm of kid behavior and have them grow to responsible adults. That's why I told my kids they had to live at college at least for the first year--so I wouldn't see the stupid things they do and wouldn't be tempted to help them fix it. I told them to call me if they do something so stupid they end up in jail or the hospital, otherwise I don't want to know about it.
     So, at 21, here in America, they can legally drink alcohol (not they didn't do it illegally before, but now no one can say they can't), if they go to college, they finish around 22, and now they start to realize they have to do something with their life. Since they still can't make rational decisions, they still may do things that seem dumb, but hopefully not too bad because hopefully they have to deal with what they do on their own. So the decade starts winding down as the rational part of the brain starts to develop and in a few years they should be done with this behavior. If they aren't, I feel that now the rest of us can tell them they aren't allowed to act like dumbasses any more.