They Grow Up So Quickly – Or Do They??? | Tyrades!

According to Agence France-Presse (AFP) news service, researchers have found what they call a “broad-based cultural shift” in teen behavior.

Writing in the journal “Child Development,” the authors reveal that today’s American teens are about THREE YEARS behind their counterparts from the 1970s when it comes to the average age for achieving certain rites of passage and trying “grown up” responsibilities and pleasures such as dating, sex, drinking, employment and driving.

Although today’s teens are more contented to “hang out” and group date, depend on their parents indefinitely (for shelter, transportation and allowances) and delay starting their own families, my contemporaries in the ‘70s seemed to be in high gear to secure an afterschool job (“Sorry about the meat cleaver, Mr. Schmidt — it always looked so cool when Daniel Boone threw that hatchet on TV when I was younger”), buy a $600 rattletrap car, obtain Marlboros and bootleg alcohol, get married right out of school and produce 2.5 children (who needed just enough fingers for a 15-minute guitar solo).

This is probably largely because we were the offspring of the Greatest Generation. If we RESPECTED our parents, we aspired to emulate (and surpass) their achievements. (“Mom! Dad! I’m going to work at the same company for 40 years, pay ridiculously low insurance premiums and hope that my eyesight goes before I start to notice to my life-long mate’s constantly increasing collection of wrinkles.”)

If we DIDN’T respect our parents, we were anxious to rebel and declare our independence. (“Ha! You said I’d break my neck imitating Evel Knievel. But, actually, I broke it because streaking doesn’t mix well with marijuana, long hair and platform shoes. Guess I showed you, you reactionary old bigot!”)

Despite what “soccer moms” may think, the researchers claim there has been no great increase in homework and extracurricular activities over the years that would account for the slowdown of teen social development.

Instead, the researchers do allow that the amount of time teens spend with their faces glued to smartphones, tablets and computers could be a leading factor in the shift. They also decided that earthquakes could be one factor in all those squiggly little lines on the seismograph paper.

I’m sure the social media moguls are happy to have a captive audience, but I’m surprised that the producers of other goods and services aren’t more worried about lost revenue from teens dragging their feet about joining the adult market.

(“Those high school goal posts aren’t going to tear THEMSELVES down; a rope and a Nissan Titan with extended warranty will create countless warm memories. And, sure, internet trolling is fun — but isn’t it every girl’s dream to do your internet trolling while you and your groom – Sean in first period Trig will suffice! — are on an extravagant Cancun honeymoon?”)

I’m not advocating an aimless slacker lifestyle, but I think it’s sort of sweet that the developmental trajectory of adolescence has slowed and teens are growing up more slowly.

I just hope that teens don’t keep getting further and further behind schedule. Then we might overhear things like “I know I said we could always adopt, but I sort of chased the darned lady from the adoption agency off our lawn.”

Or even “I’d love to pin that prom corsage on you, but that undertaker whippersnapper insists it would go better with my casket.”

Danny Tyree welcomes email responses at and visits to his Facebook fan page “Tyree’s Tyrades.” Danny’s weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.

More in Opinion

Trump’s 72nd week in office | In cartoons

Here’s a look back at Week 72 of Donald J. Trump in… Continue reading

Trump’s 71st week in office | In cartoons

Our cartoon chronicle of the 45th president continues with Week 71. This… Continue reading

Trumpian Values on Display Both Here and Abroad | John L. Micek

Even as he cozied up to an evil dictator who routinely murders,… Continue reading

Where does city get its information | Letter to the editor

To the editor: I received a citizen survey that Douglas Schulze, city… Continue reading

If Only Donald Trump Jr. Were More Like Justin Trudeau | Blair Bess

Instead of being saddled with the sycophantic Donald J. Trump Jr., who… Continue reading

Trump Envies ‘Love’ for North Korean Dictator | Dick Polman

Well, the so-called peace summit with North Korea has come and gone.… Continue reading

Today’s cartoon for Tuesday, June 19

Today’s cartoon is by John Darkow.… Continue reading

With Friends Like Us, Who Needs Enemies? | Blair Bess

During World War II, when the communist government of Joseph Stalin joined… Continue reading

Your signature is worth money | The Petri Dish

OLYMPIA — The signature of a registered voter will be one of… Continue reading

Most Read