The New York Times:
Gather together a random assortment of 13-year-olds, and you’ll likely find yourself looking at a group of people who have only their age in common. Some will be way into teenage culture, into hanging out and hooking up, even into alcohol and drugs; others will be little changed from the children they were at 12, 11, even 10 years of age, still singing the songs and playing the games of children.
The wide spread in young people’s rates of social and psychological maturation has led some researchers to propose that we think about adolescents not just in terms of their chronological age, but also their subjective age: how old they feel and act. Looking at teenagers in this light can give parents, teachers and other adults a more accurate way to understand the experience of young people — and to spot the signs of trouble in the making.
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