Wednesday, January 28, 2009

To Bella, (and Other Teens Like Her)

Your cognitive (ability to think) and moral development are not yet complete. As you look back at your teen years from adulthood, you will recognize the incomplete state you are now in. However, from where you are now compared to what you remember from childhood, you feel like you have arrived. You feel as though you are as adult-like as you will ever be. The truth is a majority of people do not develop into their full intellectual and moral selves until their early twenties, when adolescence really ends. (Many never go beyond adolescence in intellectual and moral ability at all. One third to one half of Americans never attain the cognitive level of formal operations at all!)

One area that you will develop over the next few years will be to final break free from childhood egocentrism. Children live in a reality centered on themselves. Their whole world in their limited understanding revolves around them. Adolescents begin to realize that the world does not in fact revolve around them, but this process takes time.

Some characteristics of teen egocentrism are:

Finding Fault With Authority Figures: As teens begin to see that the authorities they have looked up to are not perfect, they begin to express this at every possible opportunity. They soon discover that no one, including themselves, is perfect.

Argumentativeness: As teens discover a greater ability to think, they enjoy arguing any side of all issues for the sake of arguing. Once they become used to the ability to think, they begin to choose sides a cease to argue as much.

Self-Consciousness: While the teen is leaving behind egocentrism, they still find it hard not to think the whole world is conscious of them. They still think everyone is looking at them, talking about them, and judging them.

Self-Centeredness: Teens still think that they are special in the sense that they are unique and the rules of the world do not apply to them like the rest of the world. While we are special and created unique by God, the rules of the world and consequences still apply to us all. A person who does not outgrow this stage is called a psychopath.

Indecisiveness: As teens grow intellectually, they are suddenly aware of a multiplicity of choices. Thus they can have a hard making up their mind about things.

Apparent Hypocrisy: Teens (and some adults) have a hard time recognizing the difference between expressing an ideal world and working towards it. This is why they can lead rallies against pollution and still liter, demonstrate against war in a violent way, or fight for animal rights and still buy leather jackets.

All this helps us to see that a person is still very much in development until well into the college years. This also means that we are at a high level of impressionability during this time. Ideas and teachings influence us during these formative years and can shape who we become. You may not be in a position to make good decisions yet.


  1. since you have this tagged with "fun" and "humour", you DO remember that this is a fantasy book ... right? anyhoo - while you are at it, do you have any tips for Susan Pevensie or Bilbo Baggins? ;-)

    actually, i rather liked the books ... nice bit of escapism, although i actually liked the anne rice take on vamps better ... call me a purist (er, if you can say that about vampires...)

  2. Hehe, yeah...although I might classify it as romance. I too am more of a purist when it comes to Vampire fiction. I like my vampires evil, scary, and a danger to defeat. I am liking the Twilight books surprisingly well in spite of it all, I just feel like I am trapped in the head of a teenage girl and THAT is a scary place to be. She has certainly done a good job of expressing the way girls of a certain age percieve the world.


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