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The concept of "adolescence" should be abolished

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/10/2013 Category: Society
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,154 times Debate No: 38728
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (2)
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Teens have very little control over their lives. They can't make their own healthcare decisions, even when they have the mental ability to decide for themselves. They can't get a job without their parents' permission and permission from the state based on a medical exam, if they leave home without their parents' permission they can be reported as a runaway, returned home against their will and placed in the juvenile system and anything they buy, even with their own money can be taken from them by their parents at any time for any reason. They are forced in to a school system where their significance is diminished and they are forced to become dependent and subject to the control of their parents, who are only required to provide basic needs but make everything else a "privilege."

Before the industrial revolution it was common for people to get married at puberty, around the age of 13. During the industrial revolution, a few people wanted to keep children out of work and send them to schools. Many people were against the idea, claiming it was indoctrination and not feasible. Then there were a few people who wanted to delay adulthood by keeping young people (past puberty) out of the workforce and putting them into schools so they can obey god.

Young people are not allowed to contribute to society in a meaningful way. They are not allowed to become lawyers or doctors. They don't have a voice outside the realm of school and their families.

There were claims that the brain is not fully developed till 25. Our brains develop throughout life. Even at 70 your brain is still developing because the synopses in your brain reconnect constantly based on your outside factors. A 40 year old will have a different brain when he's 70. It doesn't necessarily make you wiser. If the norm were to finish high school at 25, there would be a new study saying the brain is not fully developed till age 30.

Here are links to prove this.
Dr Robert Epstein - Myth of the teen brain
Dr Robert Epstein – Teen 2.0 reviews
John Taylor Gatto - School As Religion
John Taylor Gatto – Quote from Wikipedia

John Taylor Gatto (born December 15, 1935) is a retired American school teacher with nearly 30 years experience in the classroom, and author of several books on education. He is an activist critical of compulsory schooling, of the perceived divide between the teen years and adulthood, and of what he characterizes as the hegemonic nature of discourse on education and the education professions.


Hello, I accept your challenge and I think the current system for education is wrong in the OPPOSITE way you think it is.
Believe it or not, I am a teenager too, and I, along with many friends, believe that we have to make decisions too early. I'm from the UK so this may be slightly different in America but, I think either it is similar to this:
At around 14/15 you must narrow down your subjects to a certain amount. This means you MUST now have an idea on what you want to do in work.
By 16/17 you move on to choose even less subjects, which means by now, you MUST know exactly what options are presented to you.
By 18 you have to choose exactly what you want to do (or atleast narrow down to it).

I appreciate that you have researched the history of teenage working and rights, but I don't think that applies in modern society. With millions of new professions and jobs and much more complex topics, subjects and systems, I think that we need all the time we can get to be ready for what we want to do.
Now in modern society, if you want to you can go into work straight after High School, which is okay for lower-end jobs, but to make more money these days, you need to specialise more by going to university or any other education centres witch provide specialised learning areas.
As for peoples views on teenage education back in the industrial revolution, it is clear that these are OLD views. They were appropriate for the time when the most people needed to know was how to use the tools of their trade to work in a variety of jobs. In this day and age, much more time is needed for us teenagers to definitely get the jobs we want and the qualifications we need.

Another problem is maturity. Due to modern culture, TV and media, alot of children, especially during puberty, feel the need to be different, express. Some express through Art, Music or Science. But sadly, others (and alot of others), express it with immaturity and in small cases, violence. Now, if teenagers could be lawyers, there wouldn't be many. They wouldn't be as experienced as adult lawyers, and alot of children wouldn't be mature enough.
Another factor is image. If a grown man went to the doctors, and a 13 year old was sat there, as his doctor, he wouldn't be happy. Growing up, in maturity and in physique, is a sign that they are more knowledgeable and trustworthy. I'm not saying its true, but its how society works.

As for marrying and pregnancy, these link straight into school. If you want a 14 year old girl to work, or go to school, she shouldn't be allowed to conceive a child, because then she couldn't work or go to school! Marrying is a case of time, if marriage was allowed at 13 or 14, there would be alot more divorces. Rushed weddings because teenagers think "he/she is the one!". There are many examples of young marriages working in other cultures, but they usually include women who aren't allowed to work or sometime even leave the house (Ancient Athenian Women were only seen as baby-makers and money-makers). Also, Hormones, if sex was legal at the start of teen hood, all the horny teens would be going round, spreading STIs and Babies like wildfires!

I see why you wish to be free of the school system and want to contribute to the world, but it simply can not happy in this modern era.
It is possible in some countries, where life is simpler, but not here, sorry.
Debate Round No. 1


Before the industrial revolution it was common for people to get married around the age of 14. During the industrial revolution, a few people wanted to keep children out of work and send them to schools. Many people were against the idea. There were also a few people who wanted to further delay adulthood by keeping young people out of the workforce and into schools.

The word "teenager" came to use in 1941, so did the distinct teenage culture of music, clothes and trends. Before then there was no school system. Nature wanted us to be adults at puberty, that's why nature set puberty at the age of 12, not 18.

Young people are infantilized. Their autonomy is surrendered to their parents. They are given curfews, not just by their parents, here in the US most major cities and many small places have curfew ordinance (a minor can be arrested for simply being out between 11:00 PM-600AM, even if they are committing no crime). This infantilization makes many young people angry and in addition we are wasting resources of capable young people because they are not allowed to contribute meaningfully to society.

In western societies like the US and UK, teens socialize exclusively with other teens. In non-western societies, teens are integrated into the adult world and treated like adults, and don't have the problem western youth have. Many countries don't have a word for "adolescence" or "teenager." And it is normal for 13 year olds to get married and be adults. We have completely isolated young people from adults and created a peer culture. And if one youth does something wrong, we box them with "other teens" and assume every youth will act the same, there is nothing you can do about it.



I argue back with one simple point.

The 'other' cultures who treat teens as equals to adults are MOSTLY not advanced enough to know of the bodily process they go through where they are still developing. These other cultures dont have the jobs like most western cultures, therefore they dont need school. We still do.
Debate Round No. 2


1. The 'other' cultures who treat teens as equals to adults are MOSTLY not advanced enough to know of the bodily process they go through where they are still developing.

Nature wanted us to be adults at puberty, that's why nature set puberty at the age of 12, not 18.

2. These other cultures don't have the jobs like most western cultures, therefore they don't need school. We still do.

In the US standardized testing is used all across the country.

They tell us that we need to know the stuff learn in order to work. Due to budget cuts, my state considered eliminating the global history exam to save money. Why would they eliminate something if we need it for a job?

In other cultures they have lawyers, doctors, teachers, just like the west. Pretty much the same jobs.



VeniVidiVici forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


Child labor laws should be abolished.
In most Western, industrialized countries, inhumane work conditions rarely exist in the formal economy. Workers in the formal economy are now protected through workplace regulation and safety codes. They also get health insurance, pensions, a minimum wage, and vacation and sick leave.

Child labor laws (which limit the hours youth can work, require parental consent, and a medical exam, and working papers given by the state based on a medical exam) force youth desperate for money to work in the informal economy, which lack safety regulations, minimum wage, and all those other benefits. This is not to say toddlers should be working.

Compulsory schooling laws should be abolished.
One can argue that youth are incompetent to quit school, but this problem can be easily countered by abolishing age limits for school attendance, allowing them to return at any time.

Runaway laws should be abolished.
The definition of runaway is "an unmarried child under the age of 18 years who is absent from the home of a parent or other lawful placement without the consent of the parent, guardian, or lawful custodian" so they need their parents permission to leave home. The reason behind runaway laws is teens don't know what they are getting into if they can't move out. If that's the case, why punish them for running away? We don't call an elderly person with Alzheimer's a "runaway" when they wander off.

To evade capture by the authorities under terms of runaway laws, some youth will turn to the crime. If we allowed them to move out, work without restrictions, and to sign a lease, this problem would go away. This is not to say toddlers shouldn't be reported as missing.


VeniVidiVici forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
2 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Posted by Baldur 3 years ago
One point to note: it is my impression that British teens can leave home at age 16, whereas 18 is the age in the USA. This makes a substantial difference in how teens might see their own situation, as the desire to leave home increases with age - meaning that the cohort of US teens seeking independence may be considerably larger than in Britain.

It is true that modern society requires more preparation for adulthood than traditional societies, but one should not extend this concept too far. After all, adults often invest in continuing education, and are capable of benefitting from it. They do not have to lose all their rights in order to be a successful student. I am curious why someone would think teenagers would need to be treated otherwise.
Posted by xXCryptoXx 3 years ago
Great debate topic. I hope a good debater accepts this.
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