General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Ah, youth. Does it ever change?

Asked by wundayatta (58604points) August 29th, 2008

Are seventeen year-olds any different in their decision-making thinking now, then they were in any generation preceding this one? Or are they remarkably consistent in terms of their behavior and concerns? What are their concerns, generally, between ages 17–25? If they are consistent, how do you feel about that?

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10 Answers

aneedleinthehayy's avatar

Generally, my concerns consist of day by day issues. ie, what am I going to wear/do/go today? I’ve stopped with the constant wonder about relationships, and am more money orientated with my thoughts. College is something that concerns me every now and then, and even more rarely do I think about what I’m going to do with the rest of my life. Though, I will say upon turning 18, as if a switch had gone on, I began to actually WORRY about my future. I am very impulsive and at times inconsiderate. Basically, I only want to have fun and live right now.

My dad constantly admits to knowing what I’m going through, using examples like “when I was your age all I wanted to do was hang out with my friends to, I know its hard to think about gas money and school work, blah blah.” So I’m assuming consistency. As far as how that makes me feel, good. I’m glad my dad can relate to me. Other than that, I dont have much thoughts on it.

delirium's avatar

I cite lefteh, and me, as proof that common perceptions of the capabilities of people under the age of 20 are dated.

lefteh's avatar

Thanks, and agreed.

delirium's avatar

OMG LYKE U DO u must hav a totall crush on me omg omg srsly its lyke dis time when there was this guy who liked this girl and he was all your smart and he was all u r to and it waz happily evar affter

cyndyh's avatar

But there were always some people your age that didn’t fit the stereotype at all and some people who fit it exactly. Most people fell somewhere in between.

EmpressPixie's avatar

Del, I’d try to read that, but I’m kind of afraid of it.

I think general concerns are the same in many ways and so, so different in others. For instance, my grandmother would never have considered sex before marriage. It wasn’t even on the table, so it wasn’t as issue that needed to be discussed or thought about. Growing up today, um, it is certainly an issue we need to think about and talk about. There will be pressure for it where she faced none.

There are also technological issues, health issues, the more we know, the younger people have to think about serious issues it seems like.

cwilbur's avatar

I think there’s also an expectation that kids will be kids for much longer nowadays, and so the expectations for young people are lower. When my parents were in school, it was not only possible for them to work their way through college, it was the expected thing to do. They could buy a good house when my father was 30 and my mother was 25.

Nowadays, it’s just about impossible to work your way through college, finish in four years, and come out debt free. People are living with their parents until they’re 30, because it’s not financially possible for many of them to do otherwise. And meanwhile the colleges have taken on a much more parental role—my older fraternity brothers tell me that in the 1960s and 1970s the college I went to was very hands-off, because they were legally adults, but in the 1980s and 1990s the college started becoming much more paternalistic and protective. And this has been echoed by a lot of the things I’ve seen.

So I think youth does and doesn’t change – the hormones are the same, the finding yourself is the same, but the social context it all happens in has changed.

delirium's avatar

Pixie: I believe that I may actually be physically crippled from writing it, so I don’t blame you for not reading it.

SeekerSeekiing's avatar

I think the kids are the same, the same not-fully-formed brain, impulsiveness, and thinking they invented most things, but the times…ah the times they are a changin’ or rather have changed…which makes it more dangerous in ohsomany ways for these notfullyformedbrain forms. ;-)

cyndyh's avatar

@cwilbur: My parents bought a house when they were 18 and 20 (or they might have been 19 and 21, but you get the idea). And working your way through school wasn’t expected. Either your parents paid your way or you just went to work. People working their own way through college wasn’t the norm. When my dad went to college at 26 on the G.I. bill, that was rare. It was almost unheard of to start college much later than the year after you graduated high-school. There are more options now.

As far as paternalistic institutions goes: I lived in a co-ed dorm, no curfews, access to birth control at the school clinic. Those things were not the case in my parents’ day. So some things have progressed as far as 18–20 year olds being treated like adults and some things haven’t. I never understood the you’re-old-enough-to-vote-but-we-won’t-let-you-drink thing.

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