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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.
Whether the changes are positive or negative depends on the reasons for delaying adult activities, Siegel said.
To him, the idea that earlier generations of teens centered evening activities around procuring and drinking alcohol sounded mystifying."I haven't heard of anyone who goes out and specifically drinks with their friends," he said.
"It's not something you set out to do, like, 'Oh yeah, I'm going to go out and get drunk.'"In a city where it is easy to bike, take buses, or rideshare, he doesn't see much need to drive.
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.
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.
My 14-year-old daughter has a boyfriend and she wants to spend time alone with him.
Many moms say that the dating issue is likely to come up for the first time during the tween years, and that it can make a parent surprisingly anxious.
But moms who've already been through this stage say it needn't be cause for stress; the key is to figure out whether your particular child is truly ready to begin dating. Nichole N., a mom of five, spaning from age 6 to 25, believes that it "depends on the maturity of the child." And Angie B.
But America is shifting more toward the slower model, and the change is apparent across the socioeconomic spectrum, Twenge said.
"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.