Maturity marks the end of adolescence

In principle, adolescence ends after fulfilling its mission of the evolutionary transition stage between childhood and adulthood. The best indicator of its completion is not the chronological age, but the maturity that allows it to go from dependent and imitation behavior to autonomous and original behavior.

Lately, in certain countries of the western industrialized world, the phenomenon of expanded adolescence is taking place. In some cases it is due to fear of getting older (Peter Pan Syndrome); in others, the prolongation of dependency due to the excessive duration of the training phase.

In some cases, it is not abnormal or reprehensible behavior. For example, the son works but is still at home to accompany very old and / or sick parents. But in most cases, it is due to fear of independent living and of living worse than in the parental home (with less comfort). For these young people, the family home is a permanent refuge. This prevents them from continuing to mature and prepare for future working life. Parents should not be complicit in that situation (for a misunderstood love). In addition, they must set limits.

Rebellion is a typical trait of adolescence. In childhood there is disobedience, but not rebellion. The latter arises as a self-affirmation of a still insecure personality. The initial rebellion is usually a reaction to the alleged oppression of the parents; it is often exercised with bad manners, but it tends to evolve for the better until it is exercised based on values.


In principle it is not bad that the adolescent is rebellious; it is preferable to being a conformist. Parents should guide rebellion (to rebel for what is worthwhile), never eradicate it.

Most adolescents experience stress and anxiety as a consequence of the strong physical and psychological transformations they are experiencing, but their behavior is not necessarily turbulent. The problem of this stage is usually not superior to that of other transitions of evolutionary development. In addition, almost in parallel, the capacity for formal thinking and the habit of reflection arises in adolescents, which modulate the primary behavior.

The adolescent seeks a new social life as a compliment or as an alternative to the family. The feeling of adherence to the group favors, in principle, the construction of their identity. But this function is not fulfilled when the adolescent merges with the group, renouncing her way of being, especially if the group leads to a gang with antisocial behaviors. Urban gangs tend to arise out of an affinity between young people who are unsuited to society and fearful of the future. By scaring others they fight their own fear.

The adolescent needs a certain degree of self-esteem; this favors motivation and academic performance. But it is a mistake to believe that self-esteem is everything in life and to become obsessed with it, to the point that some promote it through deceit: “you are the best”. In this way when the son discovers, through some failure, that he is not as good as he had been told, he sinks and enters a crisis of self-esteem.

The assertive or democratic style. It is not centered on the parents, but on the children; it is effective, but it establishes norms and limits; it is based on a persuasive and dialogue authority, which fosters responsible autonomy and a high motivation to achieve.

The value vacuum in a permissive and hedonistic society tends to be filled with idolatries, such as easy money, consumerism, and material well-being. The new heroes of adolescents are usually the protagonists of soap operas and other spaces of television-trash.

Adolescents now give an excessively fast rhythm to their life (quickly, quickly …). They live fast, they are restless. And the restlessness incapacitates for the “noble leisure”, which is in the antipodes of idleness. Boredom is also permanence in the same, without opening to valuable news. Eight hours in a row in the “large bottle” guarantees boredom.

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