Thursday, March 27, 2008

Teenagers, Two-year olds and other complex humans

Teenagers are like two-year olds-- and visa versa. No joke, child psychologists have made this observation. Both ages are in an awkward transition from "childhood" to "adulthood". For instance, a two-year old is moving out of the baby stage into the more independent stage of young childhood. They are stubborn, whiny, emotional, egocentric but are also still clinging to babyhood as they want mom to fix their boo-boos. Now they put up a fight when parents tell them what to do. Parents must now offer choices and find a whole new way to communicate to these ornery toddlers as they are now omniscient and don't like to be told what to do.

Sound familiar? Teenagers are quite similar. They also are moving from the childhood stage into adulthood and show the same characteristics of stubborn, whiny, emotional and egocentric rebellion juxtaposed against the need and want for more independence from mom and dad--but not wanting to lose them entirely as they still need money and rides. Parents used to be able to tell them what to do but now they are dealing with more knowledgeable and insistent (and vocal) versions of two-year olds.

Another interesting observation I made about the baby I take care of is that maybe babies are more in control than we think. For example, this 5 month old cried during the night until picked up or comforted. The parents started letting her put herself to sleep both at the beginning of bedtime and in the middle of the night. Now she doesn't even cry when she is awake and I have to check on her. Interesting.

The last of complex humans is not a child but an adult-- who portrays childlike behavior. In the heat of an argument, she proceeded to try to insult me by telling me how selfish I am and how I have no friends. Well since it's almost true, I did not defend myself or do the same childish insults back to her as yes, I am a generally selfish person (I'm single and 23, why not?) and no I don't have a copious amount of friends. It's quality not quantity. So I let her prattle on in her own self-appeasing and therapeutic way until she was done.

Perplexing is that she criticizes me but she is unable to be alone. She rents herself out as a doormat to her "friends" who only seem to use her for alcohol and clubs. She's never been on a date because she is afraid of being one on one. Whenever we hung out alone, she felt the need to invite more people. Sometimes being alone shows that you are more confident than needing to be surrounded by people to make you feel good about yourself. Looks and status are everything to her. She wants all guys to know that she knows things about cars and football. She's got to have a full wardrobe even if that mean being in debt. She also has a tendency to break up with her friends when they don't conform to her thinking and lifestyle. To me that is the most selfish thing of all. My selfish habits are that I wont give up a full nights sleep to party with her and wont spend my hard earned money excessively.

Anyway, I just had to sort out this strange relationship as well as the comical one of teenagers and two-year olds. Perhaps we all carry some of those characteristics and never fully grow up. But be wise to not be so self-righteous when judging others.

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