What we do with what we have before puberty is the fault or to the credit of our parents. What we do after puberty is our own fault or to our credit, because that’s when our own judgments come into play.
The value systems of children at puberty scatter beneath a bell curve. But, I’ll focus on the ends and describe the extremes.
At the low end a few children reach teenage with an empty mind. Having not been nurtured in the weans and led and taught properly in the tweens, mature values were never instilled and encouraged to flourish.
They pass through puberty without learning to live up to adult, parental, and teacher standards and expectations. Then they spend seven or so years vacuuming up immature fun and adolescent values designed to stretch teen independence beyond that acceptable to most adults.
Their minds congeal into adulthood at about age 21. It has a fullness of beliefs: Either those implanted before, or those adopted after puberty, or the mixture that we along the bell curve develop. Such kids grow into what we see as adult immaturity—that is, physical adult but mental adolescent.
Also, the hormones of puberty shift responsibility and authority from others to us. At the low end of the spectrum children don’t hold themselves accountable for their own behavior. So, parents and authority figures that try to inject measures of accountability find their efforts often go for naught. Their influences are mostly rejected, and the children easily become burdens to society.
The spectrum’s high end represents kids with moral convictions and strong ambitions—albeit still under-developed—about their future adult life. They are guided by someone or something bigger than themselves—e.g., God, parental pressures, dreams, adult opportunities.
They accept personal responsibility. They give themselves the authority they need to do the right things. They hold themselves accountable for inadequacies they should not have. They demonstrate maturity far beyond their years.
Their belief system fills the mental vacuum of early childhood. Without that vacuum, they have little interest in sucking up contradictory values from teen peers. Adolescence for such kids is merely a pass-through phase enroute to what they seek to become as adults. They cause few problems for parents.
Most of us grew up somewhere between these extremes.
More about the Weans, tweens, and teens can be found in the CONTENT page near the top.