In the Wall Street Journal article, What’s Wrong With the Teenage Mind? Alison Gopnik takes an in-depth look at two trends affecting the maturation of teenagers.
She has found puberty is starting earlier and earlier, and that teenagers are taking on adult roles later and later.
She says in part, “In the past, to become a good gatherer or hunter, cook or caregiver, you would actually practice gathering, hunting, cooking and taking care of children all through middle childhood and early adolescence.
But you'd do all that under expert adult supervision and in the protected world of childhood, where you would have experienced the effect of your unavoidable failures and learned from them.”
When the motivational juice of puberty arrived, you'd be ready to go after the real rewards, in the world outside, with new force and enthusiasm, but you'd also have learned the skill and control to do it efficiently and rationally safely.
She goes on to say that even the basic skills children would have learned while supervised by an adult regarding cooking, care-giving, and the accompanying jobs like baby-sitting and having a paper route have vanished.