The title of my entry is a reference to Freud’s famous question “What do women want?”*  Every once in awhile somebody tries to entice me to see an adolescent; I almost always say no. I have no clue what makes adolescents tick. Being the oldest of all boys, I retain the basics of male adolescent psychology. Teenage girls, on the other hand, may as well be from outer-space. I have no idea what is a ‘normal’ teenage girl, let alone one with a psychological problem. So keep this in mind as a reflect on the mind of today’s teen. I am a Polynesian talking about icebergs.

Adolescent depression has a different flavor than the type seen in adults, thanks to poor timing. Self-awareness about the world and self-pity both start in early adolescence. Teens receive the bad news the world more or less doesn’t give a damn.They go into rage and self-sorrow, which left to fester, becomes a depression like no other.

Teens always have the same problem: how to rebel and conform at the same time. This generation does this by defying their elders and being clones of each other.  The result: they come across as abrasive and stuffy. Today’s Adolescence depresses me. What I find sad is adolescents are often trying to be adults. This is like dressing up like an Eskimo and this makes you a genuine Eskimo. It’s strange way of looking at life – to want to become an adult by imitating everything that is most pathetic about adulthood  – cynicism, partying, sleeping around, and getting high. They end up imitating adults who never really got to true Adulthood.

These observations come from bias. I only encounter teens someone is pushing onto a psychiatrist. Once in awhile I see a young man or woman who seems starving for true Adult guidance. This I try to do by leading by example. I think a few my younger patients are going to try for Medicine, because I tell them they are bright and would make fine physicians. To wit, I give them validation. I am in Medicine thanks to my pediatrician’s excitement about my notion to become a doctor.

What do adolescents want? They want real Adults to give them guidance and lead them into Adulthood. Or so I hope.

 

*Turns out, the answer is simple: They want equality with men.

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