Behavior: Postponing Adolescence

Today's children are reaching sexual maturity earlier than previous generations. Many parents are responding by condoning early dating, and some are even encouraging use of the Pill by girls barely into their teens. That kind of permissiveness can have unhappy consequences, according to Manhattan Psychoanalyst Peter Bios. In the current issue of Daedalus, he insists that youthful behavior need not follow biology, and that "a prolongation rather than an abbreviation of childhood" is imperative.

To Bios, the young adolescent is still a child psychologically, "regardless of the status of his primary and secondary sex characteristics." There is no way to hurry his...

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