Developmental trends in dating for boys

Today’s teens are more virtuous and responsible, sociologist David Finkelhor has argued.

No, says journalist Jess Williams, they’re just more boring.

This generation of teens, then, is delaying the responsibilities and pleasures of adulthood. Looking at these trends through the lens of “life history theory” might be useful.

Adolescence – once the beginning of adulthood – now seems to be an extension of childhood. According to this model, whether development is “slow” (with teens taking longer to get to adulthood) or “fast” (getting to adulthood sooner) depends on cultural context.

Delaying exposure to alcohol, then, could make young adults less prepared to deal with drinking in college.

The same might be true of teens who don’t work, drive or go out much in high school.

S., when the average family has two children, kids can start playing organized sports as preschoolers and preparing for college can begin as early as elementary school.

This isn’t a class phenomenon; I found in my analysis that the trend of growing up more slowly doesn’t discriminate between teens from less advantaged backgrounds and those from wealthier families.

The entire developmental path from infancy to full adulthood has slowed.

But like any adaptation, the slow life strategy has trade-offs.

To figure out what’s really going on, it’s worth taking a broader look at today’s teens – a generation of kids I call “i Gen” – and the environment they’re living in.

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