Fast Track Kids  Is It A Good Thing ?

Interesting article in a New York Times earlier in August by Jan Hoffman Why Being So Cool at 13 Can Lead To Trouble at 23.
“The fast track kids didn’t turn out ok”, according to Joseph P. Allen, psychologist at University of Virginia and lead author of a new study published in the Journal Of Child Development.

He described a “pseudomature” rush into behavior that set them up for trouble.  Really reaching over the top to impress their peers.  Earning popularity along the way that faded eventually as everyone else matured in a more natural way.

These same individuals that were followed in the study from early teens into their early 20’s found that the popularity seeking youth had trouble later with intimate relationships, alcohol, marijuana, and criminal activity.

Dr. Allen suggests while they were chasing popularity by doing extreme behaviors they missed out on a key development period.

Bottom line is- It’s ok not to be the most popular.  Dr Allen also stated parents should support behaviors such as learning to develop solid friendships while engaging in drama free activities and not fret if their young teenager wants to stick around home and watch a movie with a friend. 

Dr. Allen continued “ To be truly mature as an early adolescent means you’re able to be a good, loyal friend, supportive, hard working, and responsible”

Good food for thought.  Everyone wants to be liked by others and often being popular can be positive for a child growing up.  As parents we just have to monitor to what extent a child feels the need to go to gain that popularity.  Maintaining the values that you as parents teach at home along the way.  

On the other hand to be engaed with healthy  friendships without being the most popular kid is great too!

Providing meaningful experiences that contribute to a confident, self-assured, kind, respectful and mature individual is a key component for bringing up a teriffic child.