The Invention of Adolescence.

An interesting article on the invention of adolescence by Otto Scott.

Adolescence is now accepted by most Americans as a strange and difficult period marked by wild swings of mood, outbursts of temper, rudeness, rebelliousness, and personality changes — all involuntary. They would be surprised to learn that this period was unknown, unrecognized, and unseen in every previous civilization, culture, and society throughout the immensely long history of humanity. It is, even today, unknown in large areas of the inhabited world.

Read the entire article here.

7 thoughts on “The Invention of Adolescence.

  1. Don’t want to stir up a hornet’s nest here among our female readers but this reminds me of the time of the month when women are excused for being uncontrollable, having wild mood swings, saying things that hurt, but of course they don’t mean them because it’s our emotion’s fault. There’s no mention of this being excused in Scripture. God doesn’t allow for wild emotional mood swings, so where did this notion come from and why as Christians do we still allow this stuff to make us miserable? I wonder what the numbers would be for divorce when the woman is having her monthly?


  2. This message about the newness of adolescence has been new to me since joining my current (reformed FIC) church. It is amazing at how our fathers were deceived and conformed by worldings. May God keep us from similar deceptions.


  3. @the master’s slave:
    I’m a woman and I tell myself and my 3 daughters that this monthly event is no excuse for us to act in an ungodly way. I realize that some women do have difficult cycles(one of my daughters does). I tell her to drink plenty of red raspberry tea, grab the hot water bottle,pray and stay in her room if she feels really bad(we bring her meals to her and basically leave her to rest in her room). I know those may sound like pat answers, but His divine power enables us to honor Him with our lives in good times and bad.


  4. @pat…
    Thank you. It’s tough to undo generations of accepted behaviour unless one puts her foot down and is completely serious about surrendering to Christ in EVERY way. Many circumstances in life throw us opportunities to act in unChrist-like ways, but we have no excuse if we are to be honouring to our Master.

    Blessings! And good for you guys for making a difference in this well-ingrained area of womanhood.


  5. Hi Pilgrim
    Good article.
    I have often thought long about this teenage stuff after reading a different article to this years ago and came to the conclusion too that it was ‘invented’ for want of a better word. I find that too often we use this excuse to explain away bad behaviour, rudeness and ugly selfish behaviour and that it is really now an accepted norm. I am a mum of an 18 yr old and many a time as he was growing up, I would speak my mind to him in that I would not accept the behaviour just because he was a ‘teenager’. It gave him no rights to behave as he wished towards others. almost every time, he would apologise and go back to the real normal. It boils down to sin at the end of the day and this manifests in lack of self-control, self respect and respect for others in that you don’t behave as you feel, just because you are having a bad day – it is not your right to lash out at anyone. The other thing of grave importance is that God is also often not at the centre of lives, they are, and that brings immense problems in every area. I see the lack of behaviour also coming in where a country has turned it’s back on the laws the Lord set out for the well-being of mankind. The school systems in many parts of the world and even where I live, anarchy prevails and the result is more badly behaved young people coming through the ranks who will become badly behaved adults. The further the people move away from those divine laws, the worse people become and the more corrupt the systems become that rule them and things that were once unspeakable and unacceptable are being forced upon us all. I live in South Africa and it is a very violent, corrupt place. The victims often have fewer rights than those who commit the heinous crimes. The injustice is unspeakable at times.

    I see all these things as part of where the world has to go before the Lord returns. Things are not going to get better, people are not going to improve across the board – only by the divine intervention of the Lord Jesus Christ in their lives, will those lives change. The ruler of the world is not playing any games and he pulls no punches. He has a major plan and will stop at nothing to bring it about. We know however that there is another plan far greater than his and it is only through our Lord and the knowledge of His plan that we can begin to make any sense of what we see going on around us and He is the only one in whom our hope must lie. The world has nothing to offer us Christians at all. We need to take care of is His life in us and all else will be taken care of from there outward.

    Bless you.


  6. Well said sister Steph. How often I have heard the dread in parents voices when their children enter into those mystical ‘teenage years’.
    Thanks for the post Pilgrim.


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