The Norman Transcript

Features

October 25, 2013

Not letting parents off the hook

NORMAN — The “their biology makes them do it” hypothesis concerning the oft-horrid behavior of today’s teens keeps on rolling along, charming parents of said teens into the comforting belief that said behavior has absolutely nothing to do with their parenting.

The most recent example appeared as a Oct. 16 Wall Street Journal article that reviewed a study recently published in the journal Developmental Psychology. It’s now clear, says said article, that “the brain regions that support social cognition” — those that support the development of empathy — “continue to change dramatically” during the teen years. That means they aren’t fully developed.

Given that there are plenty of children who enter the teen years with well-developed empathy, do not bully other children, are not petulant, moody, disrespectful of authority and otherwise horrid, the study in question is nothing but the latest exercise in academic mumbo-jumbo by the folks who want you to believe the deterministic myth that bad behavior is the result of things like hormones, biochemical imbalances and inadequate blood supply to the left frontal lobe — all, of course, the result of genes (which were inherited from the child’s father).

I recently spoke with an individual who has spent a good amount of time working with youth in African villages, where one teacher is often found teaching close to 100 children. During her tenure in these villages, my friend saw but one child whose classroom behavior was out of line. The Wall Street Journal says “The teen years are often fraught with door-slamming, eye-rolling, and seeming insensitivity. ...” Correction: That would be teenagers in the United States, and not all of them by any means.

Do teens in Africa have abnormal biology? How about those American teens who are not petulant, moody, insensitive and disrespectful? What about teens 50-plus years ago? We did not slam doors, isolate ourselves in our rooms, refuse to interact with family members for days at a time or engage in the sort of narcissistic drama that characterizes so many of today’s adolescents. Neither did teens in the 1830s, whom Toqueville, in “Democracy in America,” described as trustworthy, hard-working, responsible members of their communities.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Crafter’s emporium planned Saturday

    Members of the Opal District Crafter’s Emporium, plus other local artists, will have an art show from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds, 615 E. Robinson St. in Norman. It will be hosted concurrently with the ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Williams book signing event set

    Jared Williams, a resident of Moore, will sign copies of his book “Cerebral” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hastings, 2300 W. Main St. Norman....

    July 31, 2014

  • Home dedication set Sunday

    Cleveland County Habitat for Humanity will host a dedication of the Ruvalcaba family home from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at 618 E. Apache St. Those attending are asked to bring a pantry item to help the family begin life in their new home. ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Two territorial littermate cats are asserting social dominance

    Dear Dr. Fox: When we decided to get a cat 10 years ago, I thought getting a couple of littermates would work well. They got along during the first couple of years, often sleeping together and grooming each other. As they matured, though, ...

    July 31, 2014

  • Board welcomes new member

    In its June meeting, the members of the Mary Abbott Children’s House board of directors elected Barbara Henderson to serve the remaining term of Anne Ederington, who resigned from the board in May due to moving from Norman. Henderson and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Pancake breakfast set

    The Police Explorer youth organization will host an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Norman Masonic Lodge, 1700 N. Porter Ave. All-you-can-eat pancakes, sausage, milk, orange juice and coffee costs $5. ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Center will be more than a building

    Many volunteers who assist veterans and surviving spouses have driven more than an hour to be at the Goldsby Community Center by 7 a.m. each Thursday. The volunteer of the week is from Harrah and has made that drive for the last three ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Senior organizations that appeal to conservatives

    Dear Savvy Senior, Can you recommend any advocacy organizations for seniors other than AARP? I cut up my AARP card a few years back when they supported Obamacare and am now looking for another organization that better represents me....

    July 29, 2014

  • Seniors adjust to different sleep patterns

    According to the National Institutes of Health, older adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, sleep patterns change with age; this is often evident in the nursing home population. Frequent causes of interrupted sleep ...

    July 29, 2014

  • Ceremony marks opening of community center

    A July 23 ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the addition of another feature to the Chickasaw Nation Carter service campus in Ardmore....

    July 27, 2014