Timing is Everything

My first Developmental Psych journal entry, based in part on recent posts and comments:
After our first class, I became a little obsessed with the question “when did you become an adolescent.” I have been conducting an informal poll ever since. My sons, who are 8 and 6 years old, both said that they would be teenagers when they turned 13, because, as Colin said, “it’s thir-TEEN.” My husband and another male friend said they became adolescents when they started high school. I’m still debating whether I trace my adolescence back to the onset of menstruation or to my last year of elementary school. Perhaps our sense of one’s adolescent self is really a social construct. My mother and her sister both said that they never felt like they were teenagers. They grew up, the oldest two of six children, in Glasgow, with a lot of academic pressure – my mother started at Glasgow University at the age of 16. They both emigrated to Canada almost immediately upon graduation, and when I talked to them it seemed to me that they both felt that they had been thrown from childhood to adulthood with no real chance to adjust along the way.

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