Teen 2.0: What Every Youth Worker Needs to Know about Their Teens

Teen 2.0 by Robert Epstein if a must-read for any parent or youthworker concerned about discipling young people. This book explores why American teenagers act the way they
do, the cultural phenomenon of adolescence, and how much trouble the
youth of America are in.

Although a bit long (over 400 pages, including appendices), Teen 2.0
is very accessible and essential reading material for anyone who cares about the development of teenagers.
I highly recommend it, but be warned: it will rock your world. Here’s a
brief synopsis:

Teen 2.0Arguing
that adolescence is an unnecessary period of life that people are
better off without, this groundbreaking study shows that teen confusion
and hardships are caused by outmoded systems that were designed to
destroy the continuum between childhood and adulthood.

Documenting how teens are isolated from adults and are forced to look
to their media-dominated peers for knowledge, this discussion contends
that by infantilizing young people, society does irrevocable harm to
their development and well-being. Instead, parents, teachers, employers,
and others must rediscover the adults in young people by giving them
authority and responsibility as soon as they exhibit readiness.

Teens are highly capable-in some ways more than adults-and this
landmark discussion offers paths for reaching and enhancing the
competence in America’s youth.

As I read Teen 2.0, I thought of of remarkable young people like Zach Hunter
who are doing incredible things in the world.
Why, then, is the first thought
that comes to mind when I think of teenagers “irresponsible” or
“unreliable”? Maybe adolescence really is a cultural phenomenon.

Working for a ministry
that deals a lot with discipleship, I found
this book to be relevant to the work that we do, not just
with youth, but also with college students and young adults, who are also affected by adolescence.
I’ve seen young people want to be empowered
and demonstrate the competency to follow through on their commitments. The struggle
is with the adults letting go of control and letting them fail.

Reading Teen 2.0 taught me that adolescence has infiltrated our culture in detrimental ways, and our youth are now paying the price for it.
What do you think: Is adolescence a cultural phenomenon? How do we address it?