Teenagers Don’t Exist

Recently the topic of teenagers, and how awful they are, came up in a Twitter conversation I involved myself in. While I’ve mentioned the topic in the past, I thought I’d write a bit more on them here.

Adolescence is a modern invention/perversion. Until about the 1800s or so, a person of about the age 13 was considered an adult. Since about that time, better nutrition has led to puberty occurring earlier (in the 1800s it occurred at about 15-16, it now occurs at about 12-13), but at the same time independence has also decreased. A teenager is a biological adult. (Mentally, a person continues maturing until sometime in their mid-20s).

The problem of rebellious or destructive teenagers is not a fault of the teenagers, but rather a fault of society. A teenager is an adult being treated as a child. A 14-year-old should be learning independence and self-sufficiency by going out into the world on his own (on an apprenticeship, to college, to his own shack on the family farm, etc.) and should be looking for a wife shortly therefore after. Instead, in our modern world teenagers live under the dominion of their parents as a child.

Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24 ESV)

Of course teenagers rebel, any adult treated as child will rebel against being infantilized. They lash out because they know at some level that their parents having dominion over them is wrong, because an adult still under their parents is against the natural order. It is not teenagers that are the problem, it is the parents and the society.

Now of course, teenagers are not always going to make the best decisions because they are new at being adults and are learning the basics of adulthood, but in our current order, instead of learning about adulthood at age 15 so they are responsible adults by their 20s, people are now making the same failings in their early-20s and sometimes even their late-20s/early-30s, so your average person is not a responsible adult until their 30s.

Despite this, most modern teenagers would probably break is left on their own. This is, again, not the fault of the teenagers, but most children nowadays are so thoroughly over-protected and over-controlled by their parents and infantilized by the school system that they have never been learning the kinds of independence a healthy adult needs.

Children nowadays are being raised to learn a horrible combination of lack of freedom and lack of discipline. A child learning both will be the most self-actualized and most successful. A child with freedom but no discipline will generally pick up some level of discipline through trial and error, and a child of of discipline but no freedom will usually be able to survive although possibly not thrive, but one with neither will drown.

Ideally, we should start training our children to become adults when they should do so, in their mid-teens.

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This is not going to happen on a society wide scale because infantalized adults are useful for the long march.

Adolescence gives the public school system an extra 4-6 years (8-12 extra if he goes to university) to condition a person to the docility and obedience necessary to get a man to be willing to work in a cubicle or factory for 3-4 decades of his life. It conditions a man to accept schooling and academics as being the primary measures of worth, so that he is willing to feed his mind, time, and money into the progressive college system. It prevents early family formation and helps keep the squeeze on the family so the state can continue to interject itself. It conditions dependence and a slave mentality in a man so he is more likely to see dependence on the state as normal. Adolescence is just another case of how its all related; the long march continues.

33 comments

  1. I’m assuming you’ve seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? but it’s an amazing film under the microscope about how these kids are being forced to make the same mistakes as their parents in a red-pill situation. The Day Off is metaphorical for escaping it just for that moment. At one point Ferris asks the exact same questions you do, why not get married and do it differently? His mate gives the answer, “look at my parents, that’s why you don’t get married”. But the undercurrent of the film is actually quite sad, since Ferris for all his talent cannot escape it. He doesn’t know why he has to go to College/University and what he will do there, he just understands that it is the done thing. Hope to make a review of it soon.

  2. @Free northerner
    ”Ideally, we should start training our children to become adults when they should do so, in their mid-teens.”

    I believe the age of 12 is when they should be being mentored and trained at being an adult. Such is the age of ancestral puberty rites of passage that occurred for young men and women at such ages when they transition from childhood to adulthood.

    What do you think?

  3. @infowarrior: Beat me to it. I’d say that rites of passage should come in two forms. The ones based on skills and the ones based on age.

    The former can be attempted by any child of any age as many times as is needed, almost like a scout badge. They would be based around practical skills, useful knowledge and engaging in meaningful activities. Thus, a 5 year old may have a woodworking “badge” that a fifteen year old does not, but the fifteen year old should have a much larger badge total than the five year old.

    The latter would be stages of life where they would be told what their next stage means and undergo a make-or-break challenge that is surpassable, but stressing. For example, a 6-7 year old would be explained how they are becoming freer and more socially aware and would involve a degree of social education (so they know what to expect of others their age) to prepare them for the next stage in their life, where social powers are strong and loud. The challenge would be spending a few weeks actively engaged in a social group. Or a 12-13 year old would be explained how their bodies are changing, how risk-taking is going to control their brain, how they will shortly want to be independent. They will by then possess the skills to make it on their own. The ritual would be something akin to survivalism, where their emotional maturity and skills are put to the challenge. The parents’ goal is to make sure that by the time the children reach the agreed-upon target-age, they possess all the skills required to pass the challenge.

  4. Though they lock down young people because “their brains are still developing” they decline to note that once the brain stops developing it begins to decline.

  5. At the age of 12 all “primitive” cultures put boys through rites of passage – away from the mother and introduced to the world of men – and after that they were men. These days you can’t get away from the Mother – that’s what feminism is, which has infected almost everything. And feminism, being leftist, always destroys, BTW, Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn described Leftism as the attempt to “overthrow the Father.”

  6. While I agree with your characterization of the problems of present-day adolescence FN, I should point out that not all cultures treated 13 year-olds as adults. In fact, in England for many, many centuries, the age of majority was 21 (not 18). This principal was also present in the US for a long time as well, only ending in the previous century.

  7. I’ve noticed this getting worse, even during my lifetime. Both in college dorms and the army, the number of rules imposed on people are increasing, with each screw-up used as justification for the rules. Of course, the screw-ups become more dire as people have less and less experience making mistakes, and the result is infantilized adults.

  8. Thank you, FN, for the link to a study I find highly interesting. Social stress contributing to earlier puberty? Again, highly interesting….

  9. Adolescence is real but in the past people didn’t have the luxury of acknowledging it. They needed the kids to get to work ASAP as a matter of economic necessity.

    The average 16 y/o today is not mentally equipped to live independently. This is not really their fault though. Our K-12 system is outdated and is failing our kids. There needs to be more emphasis on civics, economics/home economics, personal finance, and health science. College prep would still be an option but all students would be equipped with basic life skills.

    With that kind of education we could consider them adults upon graduation. Ambitious students could take an accelerated track and graduate sooner. The idea that it takes 13 years to educate a student seems a bit ridiculous to me.

  10. Free northerner, are you afraid of open debate? You never got back to me in the other comments section.

  11. @ donalgraeme: You don’t really present a counterpoint since if you look at American and English history you still find adolescent boys beginning their apprenticeships and teenage girls marrying. Being treated as an adult is more of a deciding factor than what a piece of legislation says

  12. @donalgraeme

    The legal age for majority is not the same thing as the social acceptance of adulthood. It could come even earlier. Take, for instance, the early career of Admiral Farragut:

    “Through the influence of his adoptive father, Farragut was commissioned a midshipman in the United States Navy on December 17, 1810, at the age of nine. A prize master by the age of 12, Farragut fought in the War of 1812, serving under Captain David Porter. While serving aboard USS Essex, Farragut participated in the capture of HMS Alert on August 13, 1812, then helped to establish America’s first naval base and colony in the Pacific, named Madisonville, during the ill-fated Nuku Hiva Campaign. […]. Farragut was 12 years old when, during the War of 1812, he was given the assignment to bring a ship captured by the Essex safely to port. He was wounded and captured while serving on the Essex during the engagement at Valparaiso Bay, Chile, against the British on March 28, 1814” (from the Wiki).

  13. “Modern Gamer” If you used a degree of reading comprehension, you’d see that F.N. does get on Twitter a lot, perhaps you should try there.

    On the topic of this post, I believe that “Jim” wrote about how teenagers would be given over to another family to live with them for several years of training so that the parents wouldn’t coddle them and the hosting family would push the teenager harder, thus building the individual’s character. Similarly, private boarding schools became popular in the 1800s until the Devil’s Decade (1960s). Likely, those two solutions would be for middle and upper class families. However, for lower class families and their teenagers, the apprenticing situation, along with a lot more corporal punishment for any laziness, would be the solution instead of leaving home.

    Any of these would be much more sensible than the path that F.N. writes about in this article.

    A.J.P.

  14. @ donal: What Al and TanS said. Adulthood and legislated age of majority not necessarily the same.

    @ MG: Both rude and impatient. I have a life outside this blog and answer comments when I can get around to it. I probably shouldn’t respond, but will, check that thread.

  15. We should go back to having college start at 14 normally (for those who ought to take that path, at least), with some adult colleges available for those who learned a trade or some other labor first and desire change. Some modern innovations in these areas are merely results of the industrial revolution, and I personally have no desire to see the industrial revolution overturned. We simply do not have the room in middle class properties to have children move into their own space at the age of 14, nor is it very realistic to expect them to pay for their own housing, considering they used to be simply handed their own space on the farm.

    Allowing people to get to work earlier and start building for full independence should increase long term prosperity as well. People will be able to save up money while they are still young and supported by their parents. Right now, the best a high schooler can hope for is a part time minimum wage job, and then to get into massive debt going to college. Such is hardly conducive to savings and prosperity just from a basic economic perspective, let alone the fact that it is damaging to the traditional family and helps feed the narrative that sexual sin is some kind of inevitability.

  16. Adulthood and legislated age of majority not necessarily the same.

    And I never argued that it was. Perhaps I wasn’t clear enough in my original comment. What i was trying to say is that even in the past you weren’t a full adult, with all your adult rights, until 21 in England and the US. There was still a gradient or timeline to becoming an adult. I wanted to make that distinction clear- that becoming an adult is a process, not a single point in time.

  17. FN,

    One issue you largely avoided is the difference between teenaged males and females. Because the contributions to creating a successful family are different for each sex, it seems to me that they shouldn’t be treated the same or have the same expectations at the same ages.

    Although all teenagers, male or female, should be given adult tasks within the home or outside of it, a teenaged female’s ability to be a mother is probably not helped all that much by waiting until she is 25. However, a provider male’s ability would be.

    Regardless, I thank you for pointing out that adolescence is a marketing ploy.

  18. The irony here is that teenagers are being infantilized for longer periods of time yet they are also being sexualized at much younger ages. This creates an interesting dynamic where they are making adult decisions i.e. sexual intercourse but they are resolved of responsibility i.e. welfare (and often celebrated as being heroic) when giving birth to illegitimate children.

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