Cool Kids

This is a thought-provoking study and article. I haven’t kept up with any of the “cool kids’ that I went to school with, so it’s interesting to see how that early adolescent behavior unfolds into early adulthood. I was pretty surprised to learn that “pseudomature’ behavior in early adolescence was a stronger indicator of delinquent behavior and alcohol/substance abuse in early adulthood than levels of use in adolescence.

I hope the researchers continue with this study; it will be fascinating to see where the subjects are in another ten years and if the behavioral trend holds true. I also think that this is a topic parents need to be aware of. I know early relationships are often over looked as long as nothing sexual happens; and by the same token many parents fuss over their kids lack popularity. We’re social creatures and want to be recognized, so to that extent I think everybody wants some popularity or social standing. But the desperate drive to be popular needs to be monitored, rather than glossed over as just another part of school life.

As for my own experiences … I remember being in my early twenties and lamenting over some of my age cohort still acting like we were in high school/middle school. But I never gave much thought to why they acted that way — other than assuming bad home training. I didn’t connect that immaturity to prior behavior, at least in part, because I grew up in Fairbanks and spent my early twenties in rural Pennsylvania. None of my former peers were around.

I can think of one illustration of the decline the study mentions in popularity from middle school to high school ages for “cool kids’. There was a girl I went to school with that was definitely conscious of where she was on the social ladder. In middle school she changed who she hung out with to get in with the older “cool’ crowd, talked about dating, and sneaking drinks from her parents stash. By the time we were sophomores her behavior was more extreme, but she didn’t have the same popularity she had had.

These articles have certainly made me think about some of the people I’ve attended university with, and how far back their behavior goes.

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