Teenage Behavior


Teenagers in Sulawesi, Indonesia
Christy VanArragon, for Spotlight

Robin Basselin and Joshua Leo discuss a question many people ask themselves - why do teenagers behave that way?

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Transcript


Voice 1 

Welcome to Spotlight. I’m Robin Basselin.

Voice 2 

And I’m Joshua Leo. Spotlight uses a special English method of broadcasting. It is easier for people to understand, no matter where in the world they live.

Voice 3 

“You know a child is growing older when he stops asking where he came from. And he starts refusing to tell where he is going”.

Voice 4 

“Younger children are a pain in the head; older children are a pain in the heart”.

Voice 3 

“Teenagers say that there is nothing to do. Then they stay out all night doing it”.

Voice 1 

These sayings about teenagers are supposed to be funny. But they are often true! Being a teenager can be exciting. But the teenage years can also be difficult. David Dobbs wrote about teenage behavior in National Geographic Magazine. He told this story about his own son:

Voice 5 

“One fine morning in May, my 17-year-old son called me. He told me that he had just spent a few hours with the state police. He said he had been driving 'a little fast.' What, I asked, was 'a little fast'?  He had been driving down the road at over 180 kilometres an hour. I said 'That's more than a little fast!'

Voice 2 

Many other parents have similar stories to tell about their own teenagers. Teenagers often take risks, try new things and spend time with friends. But this behavior is more than just fun.  Some experts believe that this is how teenagers learn to become successful adults. Today’s Spotlight is on teenage behavior.

Voice 1 

A child enters her teenage years at about age 12. During this time her body and brain change. Her teenage years last until about age 20. During these teenage years, there are some behaviors that are very common. For example, teenagers often stay out late at night. Their emotions and ideas change quickly. And they often disagree with their parents.

Voice 2 

In the past, scientists have asked why teenagers have these “problems”. But David Dobbs explains that scientists have found a new way to look at teenage behavior. They have found that teenagers are doing exactly the right thing. They are getting ready to move from the safety of home into the outside world.

Voice 1 

Adults have much more responsibility than children. A teenager must learn to be independent. He must learn to make good choices. He will soon leave his parents’ house. He must be able to survive alone. David Dobbs tells the radio organization NPR:

Voice 5 

“The hardest thing we ever do is leave home. It is a real test. So the reasons not to do it are very strong. Look at the things that are particular to teenagers in almost all cultures - risk, seeking new experience and wanting to be with people their own age. That is the perfect mix of things to push you if you are 14 or 18 years old. These things make you get out and explore the world. It's hard to do, and the risk is very great. But you have to be able to take risks at that time of your life.”

Voice 2 

Scientists have found three main behaviors that help teenagers achieve independence. First, teenagers often take risks. Remember the story of the 17-year-old-boy who was driving 180 kilometres an hour? He is not the only teenager to take this kind of risk.

Voice 1 

Risks can lead to danger. But learning to take some risks can be good for teenagers. Through human history, many people who took risks gained something good. Abigail Baird is a psychologist who studies teenagers. She says that a teenager who takes more risks and seeks new experiences does better as an adult.

Voice 2 

People often gain something when they take a risk. They may gain a new relationship or more respect from other people. But experts say that teenagers feel very strongly that they have something to gain. They value taking risks more than adults do. And they are more likely to take risks in front of other teenagers. In this way, they gain acceptance from other teenagers.

Voice 1 

The second way teenagers learn independence is by seeking out new experiences.  These new experiences may be activities like playing sports. Or they could be unhealthy activities such as smoking cigarettes. The new experience could even be something that is against the law - like destroying property. David Dobbs writes in National Geographic Magazine:

Voice 5 

“Seeking new experience can lead to dangerous behavior. But it can also produce positive behavior - like the urge to meet more people, for example. This can create a wider circle of friends. This often makes us healthier, happier, safer, and more successful.”

Voice 2 

Like taking risks, experience usually leads a teenager to become a more successful adult. Adults must face many new experiences. Teenagers who have had new experiences - both good and bad - are more prepared. It is easier for them to deal with changes as adults.

Voice 1 

And it is this desire for new experience that pushes the teenager. She goes out to try new things. As an adult she will have to leave the safety of her parent’s home. So as a teenager she gains experience that she will need as an adult.

Voice 2 

There is a third and last behavior that helps teenagers gain independence and become adults. Teenagers like to be around people of their own age. Their friends are very important. They are learning the skills of surviving in a community. David Dobbs explains this also:

Voice 5 

“Teens want to be around people in their age group for a powerful reason. They want to invest in the future instead of the past. We enter a world made by our parents. But we will live most of our lives in a world run by people our own age. Knowing, understanding, and building relationships with them is very important for success.”

Voice 1 

Adults need to have good relationships with their communities. This is important for feeling peaceful and happy. But it is also important for a person to survive. That is one reason why teenagers are influenced by their friends. They are preparing to be social adults in their communities.

Voice 2 

So there are good reasons for teenagers to take risks, try new things and spend time with friends. Knowing this does not make the teenage years easier. Teenagers will still make mistakes. But hopefully their teenage behavior will help them to become successful adults.

Voice 1 

The writer and producer of this program was Rena Dam. The voices you heard were from the United States. All quotes were adapted for this program and voiced by Spotlight. You can listen to this program again, and read it, on the internet at www.radioenglish.net. This program is called, "Teenage Behavior".

Voice 2

You can also leave your comments on our website. Or you can email us at radio@radioenglish.net. You can also find us on Facebook - just search for Spotlight Radio. We hope you can join us again for the next Spotlight program. Goodbye.

Question:

What do you think is the most difficult part of being a teenager? Did you take risks when you were a teenager?

Comments


Avatar Spotlight
kenhieuloilam
said on January 05, 2012

We have time for good things. We learn and train. We prepare for the future. We try much to do good things. We need stability. We need maturity. Good things are helpful. Not good things are harmful. We try much to do good things. We aim to good things.

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Narath
said on January 18, 2012

I am 27 year old so I am not teenager any more I am adult .I am Cambodian and I am an older sister in my family . I am still under my parents’ control because of traditional and culture but my parents believe and trust me . I am stability with much more patience but not maturity . Try to do something good so it will become a good habit but bad habit is very difficult to change . Cambodia .

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nature187_vn
said on February 20, 2013

All of us the children are borned ,who are good people. A big problem to building character of children ,that is family,social,comunity the children lived. So that I think we need build a good enviroment where all our children will be growing fine.Because all that good or bad action will influence to the teenage behavior.Thanks Spolight for sharing useful information for everyone!

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Rain Bows
said on February 20, 2013

I think as parents of teenagers we should comprehend them a lot, instead of pointing them.
One good way to make them focus on good things and helping them make new friends is sponsoring them so they can do art,music or sports as suggested.
That way they focus on a productive thing where they will find acceptation and good friends who have something good in common.

Greetings,
SofĂ­a Miketta.
From:Manta-Ecuador.

Sultan's avatar
Sultan
said on February 21, 2013

It is important to recognize some of the normal behaviors and reactions of parents and teens during this period. Many parents perceive certain teen attitudes and behaviors to be problems, whereas in reality these may follow typical adolescent patterns and should be dealt with as such. However, to determine if the behavior or attitude is cause for concern, it is important to note its frequency.

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Hanthanh
said on April 24, 2013

thanks for useful information. And I’m agree with nature87_vn. I’m a adult. I have a child but sometime I still under my parent control. It’s my learning from life.

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blue diamond
said on July 07, 2013

Don’t try to prevent teenagers from experiencing good and even bad things because it’ll helpful for their future of living independently!

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Dela
said on April 29, 2014

The time of adolescence is hard, complicated for parents just as for teenegers. The parents should try to create the nice environment into family and mainly not to lose their patience with children. Surely, getting the new interesting experiences can be useful for adolescents, however, also very dangerous. The parents should perform regularly controlling who are their children in contact with. If children trust to parents and not fear to tell them anything so this fact shows the children are led and broughr up in a correct way.
Thanks for excellent topic!
Greetings

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jellynhi
said on June 16, 2014

I’m 16 now :) I like to “explore” everything I can^^ hope that my experiences’ll help me to become a mature girl.

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holan
said on June 09, 2015

Thank you Spotlight for sharing useful information. The report give me new insight about teenagers behavior and help me understand my brother more and why does he usually disagree with my parent. Understand and accept teenagers behavior as process of natural growing. I don’t like the parent’s control of almost family in Vietnam it make we lack of skill to become a success adults.

Abdeljalil's avatar
Abdeljalil
said on June 09, 2015

HI EVERYBODY, it’s my first participation here; is there any welcome. today when i was sitting with one of my x teachers. he spoke to me about this site i appreciated his description and it’s just very good. i want first to pass my thanks to GHOUNI ABDESSALAM , my x teacher who told me about this site. concerning today’s spotlight i see that teenagers should have a special and particular way to behave with them. there age give them power and this power, sometimes, make them make things in their first try. they are supposed to take risks because many people who take risks gain something good like new relationships and so on

Abdeljalil's avatar
Abdeljalil
said on June 09, 2015

i can’t clearly remember if i took some risks when i was a teenager but undoubtedly i would take some

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kin chong
said on July 02, 2015

I am not a teenager anymore.

Kaleb Kolaibi's avatar
Kaleb Kolaibi
said on October 26, 2017

Yes, I did many risks when I was teenager especially by bicycle and smoke experience.
GOD bless you