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All Grown Up and No Place to Go: Teenagers in Crisis. Prepared by Keith Warta CI 3920 Dr. Tracy Smith Summer 2004. NEEDED:. A Time to Grow. Golden age Nuclear family -two parent family -romantic love -maternal love Adolescents perceived as immature Protective environment.

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All Grown Up and No Place to Go: Teenagers in Crisis

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All Grown Up and No Place to Go: Teenagers in Crisis

Prepared by Keith Warta

CI 3920

Dr. Tracy Smith

Summer 2004


A Time to Grow

Golden age

Nuclear family

-two parent family

-romantic love

-maternal love

Adolescents perceived as immature

Protective environment

Postmodern age

Permeable family

-single parent, etc.

-consensual love

-shared parenting

Adolescents perceived as socially sophisticated

Exposure to many destructive images

Family History

Two pathways to identity formation

  • Differentiation and integration

    -separating out concepts, feelings, and emotions and putting those parts together into a higher ordered whole

  • Substitution

    -replacing one set of concepts, feelings, and emotions for another


-strong sense of self

-inner directed

-future oriented

-ability to postpone gratification


-patchwork self

-other directed

-present oriented

-less able to postpone gratification

Identity construction by:

The New Morbidity

  • Drug and alcohol abuse

  • Teenage suicide

  • Teenage gun violence

  • High rates of teenage pregnancy

  • High rates of STD’s

I am the center of the Universe!

“Starting at about the age of eleven or twelve, adolescents develop the ability to think at a higher, more abstract level than they did as children…These new mental abilities bring about a Copernican revolution in the way young people think and feel about themselves, others, and the world in general” (p. 25).

Some manifestations of these new intellectual abilities

  • Idealism/ Criticalness

  • Argumentativeness

  • Self-Consciousness

  • Speciality/ Invulnerability

Manifestations, (cont.)

  • Pseudo-Stupidity

  • Hypocrisy

  • Personal religion

Pubertyand the Emotional Lightning Rod

  • Adolescents tend to focus all of their developmental anxieties on one feature

  • Interesting fact- Adolescent girls are most satisfied with their body image when they are slightly underweight

  • It is estimated that 75% of girls have at least one symptom of an eating disorder, most often, fad dieting

Three important lessons

  • Exclusion

  • Betrayal

  • Disillusionment


A Premature Adulthood

As if that wasn’t enough!

  • The stresses on adolescents are compounded by stresses that derive from the postmodern society.

  • The new perception of adolescents as sophisticated has added demands for maturity without giving them the time to attain this maturity

Vanishing Markers

  • Clothing

  • Activity

  • Information

    -the average child or teenager views 1000 murders, rapes and assaults per year on television alone

  • Authority

No Place to Go

  • Vanishing markers leave adolescents with no special place of their own in society

  • Vanishing markers also confront teens with stressful new freedoms

What about schools?

  • Educational reforms

  • School size

  • Class size

  • Universality

The Chore of Teaching

  • When teachers lose their excitement and commitment for their work, their effectiveness as a role model is diminished, or lost

What has taken the joy out of teaching?

  • Many more students than in the past are troubled, unhappy, and difficult to teach

  • Diversity of curricula, variety of educational reforms, and demands for accountability take time and energy that once went into teaching

  • Salaries have not kept pace with inflation


Stress and its Aftermath


  • A response to an extraordinary demand for adaptation

  • Lack of stress management

Three stress situations

  • Type A- Foreseeable and avoidable

  • Type B- Neither foreseeable or avoidable

  • Type C- Foreseeable yet not avoidable

The Patchwork Self…Revisited

  • Low self evaluation

  • Mixed bag of values, attitudes, habits, and beliefs

Effects of Stressors on the Patchwork Self Adolescent

  • Type A

  • Type B

  • Type C

Teenage Reactions to Postmodern Stressors

  • Eating disorders

    Anorexia nervosa


  • Alcohol and drug use

    Alcohol accounts for 80% of teenage deaths

    45-50% violent teenage deaths

    400,000 teenage alcoholics

  • Depression

  • Repression/ Denial


  • Suicide

  • Violence

Helping Teenagers Cope

Encourage Growth by Integration

“Parents are the single most powerful, nonbiological influence on their children’s lives”(p. 241)

What Parents Can Do

  • Inform yourself about child growth and development

  • Be an adult, set limits and boundaries

  • Deal with adolescents on the basis of principle, not emotion

  • Engage in mutual authority, when appropriate

What Schools Can Do

  • Again, be adults, set limits and boundaries

  • Work with individual students when possible

  • Make the last two years of high school more like a junior college

Always remember

“Even if we can’t do it all, we can do something” (p. 253).

Other sources of information on Child Development and Techniques

  • Touchpoints by T. Berry Brazelton (1992)

  • Parenting Your Teenager by David Elkind (1994)

Services for Troubled Teensin this area

Foothills Mental Health Point of Access

Toll Free


All Grown Up and No Place to Go: Teenagers in Crisis

Presented by

Keith Warta

Summer 2004

CI 3920

Dr. Tracy Smith

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