Few things are more satisfying than seeing your own children have teenagers of their own.
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’.
Getting out of Bed
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.
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.