The young always have the same problem - how to rebel and conform at the same time. They have now solved this by defying their parents and copying one another.




Few things are more satisfying than seeing your own children have teenagers of their own.

Handprint analysis has shown that most cave paintings were done by teenage boys.
ERMA BOMBECK (1927-96)Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.

Why Must We Be Teenagers?

The teenager is a uniquely human phenomenon, the benefit of which isn’t immediately apparent. Adolescents are often moody, insecure, argumentative, angst-ridden, impulsive, impressionable, reckless and rebellious, and characterised by odd sleeping patterns, awkward growth spurts, bullying, acne and slobbish behaviour. So what could be the possible benefit of this odd and sometimes dysfunctional gap between sexual maturity and prime reproductive age? No other species seems to need it.
Fossil studies indicate that the first teenagers appeared 300,000 to 500,000 years ago, shortly before the brain’s evolutionary leap to its full Homo sapiens size (three times what you’d expect in an animal our size). So it seems that teenagers’ extra decade of steady cerebral maturation may have evolved to allow the brain to reach its full potential.
Dr David Bainbridge of Cambridge University has described the busy activity and restructuring going on in the brain during our teens as ‘Like moving from dial-up to broadband.’ Somewhat counter-intuitively, the brain is physically smaller at age 20 than it is at 12, though more capable in terms of empathy, creativity, self-analysis, abstraction and planning. In Bainbridge’s view this honing process is ‘the greatest achievement of evolution’; he suggests that adolescence is itself the key to human achievement, with the teenage brain ‘the central phenomenon of the human race’. It is the brain's plasticity, its ability to mould the riotous excess of a child’s brain into the analytical brain of an adult that has allowed us to get where we are. The teenage brain, he thinks, is a ‘behaviour-establishing machine, leaving adulthood as nothing more than a decline into mental and emotional inflexibility’.

Teenage Stereotypes

Getting out of Bed

  • Sleep studies suggest that teenagers’ internal clocks may run slower than those of adults so that 8am feels like 6am.
  • Alternatively, evenings are more interesting than mornings for teenagers, simply making it more fun to stay up late.
  • When the body clock switches off the brain produces the hormone melatonin, which prepares our brains to be sleepy. Tests have shown that, in adolescence, melatonin is produced much later in the evening than in younger children.

Parent-Teenager Relations

  • Actively excluding parents by being rude and moody towards them is seen as a necessary rejection of the nest in order to foster a healthy sense of self.
  • Conflict arises from a maturing ‘working memory’ which, as well as bestowing increased creativity, also allows for greater detection of inconsistencies and hypocrisy as evident in parental attitudes to sex and drugs.
  • A maturing cerebral cortex brings with it new language skills, allowing teenagers to adjust their communication to their audience, so they may grunt at their parents but be articulate and charming to others when it suits them.

Loud Music

  • As well as an element of defiance, loud music can cause the release of dopamine in the adolescent brain allowing a purer enjoyment without a more critical appraisal of the music itself.


Remember that as a teenager you are at the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you.

A sloth only sleeps for around nine hours a day: the same as teenagers should ideally get.

The Teenage Total

The word ‘teenager’ is first cited in 1941, but it was in the 1950s that the teenager emerged as a cultural phenomenon, a distinct group with interests, fashions, musical tastes and (especially) economic power of their own. Today’s teen generation is the biggest the world has ever seen. A 2003 UN report revealed that one-fifth of the global population were between 10 and 19, totalling 1.2 billion people.

Acne affects 96% of teenagers.

According to a study on consumer attitudes and values, both younger teenagers and adults aspire to 17 as the 'perfect age'.

In Spanish, una cocacola is a frivolous or idle teenage girl. Un cocacolo is the male equivalent. 


A baby-sitter is a teenager acting like an adult while the adults are out acting like teenagers.