Alcohol and dating
When 17-year-old Quattro Musser hangs out with friends, they don't drink beer or cruise around in cars with their dates.Rather, they stick to G-rated activities such as rock-climbing or talking about books.In recent decades parents have become more restrictive about independent activities, and laws in some states have codified this, banning children from going out in public or staying home without adult accompaniment.(Legislation has also delayed another adult activity: In the 1970s the legal drinking age was as young as 18 in some states; it is now 21 almost universally.)To Daniel Siegel, an adolescent psychiatrist and author of "Brainstorm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain," it makes sense that adolescents would "remodel" their brains to adapt to a society that has changed since the 19th century."In a culture that says, 'Okay, you're going to go to high school, go to college, go to graduate school, and then get an internship, and you're not going to really be responsible till your late 20s,' well then the brain will respond accordingly," he said.Whether the changes are positive or negative depends on the reasons for delaying adult activities, Siegel said.Mothers living with partners who have alcohol use disorder tended to be more depressed and, as a result, were less warm and sensitive in their interactions with their children, beginning in infancy.“This is significant because children with warm and sensitive mothers are better able to regulate their emotions and behavior,” Livingston says.By analyzing data that was collected regularly over the course of their lifespan, Livingston was able to identify factors that led to some of the teenagers being involved in abusive dating relationships.“It appears that family dynamics occurring in the preschool years and in middle childhood are critical in the development of aggression and dating violence in the teenage years,” she says.
In that model a teenage boy might be thinking more seriously about marriage, and driving a car and working for pay would be important for "establishing mate value based on procurement of resources," the study said.
The declines appeared across race, geographic, and socioeconomic lines, and in rural, urban, and suburban areas.
To be sure, more than half of teens still engage in these activities, but the majorities have slimmed considerably.
And as for dating, "It seems sort of ridiculous to be seriously dating seomeone in high school. Continuing to date through college and then eventually get married?
That seems sort of unrealistic."Although the study did not look at people younger than 13, Twenge said she suspects the postponement of adult behavior begins in early childhood, starting with the decrease in children walking to school alone or playing unsupervised.
And the portion who had tried alcohol plummeted from 93 percent between 19 to 67 percent between 20.