Rebirth of Reason

The Case Against Adolescence
by Robert Epstein
The Case Against AdolescenceThis book argues that adolescence as we know it, a time of strife for young people, is not natural or inevitable.  It is caused by the infantilization of teenagers.  They are systematically isolated from the adult world and treated as children.  The more isolation that takes place, the longer it takes for them to transition to adulthood. 

Epstein provides ample evidence, comparing young people in different cultures, and through history.   He explains how adolescence was created historically through good intentions gone wrong.  He provides evidence that young people are far more competent to deal with the world as adults than we may think.  He shows not only that they have the intelligence, but are actually quite competent to make good judgments, even if they don't.  He focuses on potential instead of results, as the current results are easily explained by the fact that young people are treated as children and shielded from responsibility and independence.

He also describes a way to repair the current system.  He suggests a series of competency tests to allow young people to gain the rights and priviledges of adults, instead of simply relying on the necessarily arbitrary age boundary.  He offers the example of driver's licenses, which require a competency test, instead of simply allowing anyone over the age of 18 to drive.  That same model can be used for a young person to gain the right to make legal or medical choices for himself, to decide whether or not to continue with schooling, and many, many other rights that young people are denied based on age.
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