The Lonely, ‘Safe’ & Underachieving Castle of Adolescence

The best way to look after a young female adult is surely to lock them up, right? What if I told you that the punishment of isolation or even worse – the lifestyle of loneliness does more to your female teen than just proving a point?

A recent study published by Science Daily shows direct correlation between housed alone female mice during adolescence and the likelihood of ‘habitual behavior’, or mindless living to occur (Hinton et al, 2019).

This means that female adolescents are more likely to fall into addictive patterns and less likely to have a goal-oriented approach towards life. What causes it? The prefrontal cortex develops atypically and since the prefrontal cortex is responsible with planning, thinking in the now and awareness of the present moment (which is something that meditation & mindfulness helps with), female teens who have been socially isolated develop in deficit.

Why was the study conducted on female mice only? One explanation that I’ve found is that housed isolation in the aggressive species of male mice is actually beneficial, as it eliminates reproductive competition and limits the reasons for aggressive behavior.

This certainly makes me rethink the traditional understanding of what is socially acceptable when raising children and what science has to say about it.

The bottom line is: don’t lock up your adolescent child, unless you want them to become complacent adults, sailing through life without a sense of being in the now.

We reveal that mice with a history of social isolation during adolescence are biased toward habit-like behaviors, despite social reintegration in adulthood.

Hinton et al, 2019

Raising a Child Into Becoming a Remarkable Partner of Opposite Sex: Undo, Undo, Undo!

I grew up in a community where being heterosexual (attracted to opposite sex) and monogamous (being with one person at a time) was not up for debate.

Even if this created tensions through relationships outside marriage or same sex relationships, people felt entitled to another person’s life.

The culprit was clearly the person acting unusual, unacceptable, outside of the norm.

In those times of crisis, the person committing the ‘crime’ would not evaluate their own needs. They would so desperately try to fit in, make other people happy, that they would attempt to go against their instincts. And failed every single time, harming themselves and others in the process.

This entire circus thought me to base my happiness on other people’s behavior, to put myself at the centre of other people’s lives and allowed others a central role in mine. It’s easy to see how things can get off-balance with all the forces at play.

The heteronormative thinking (where ‘1 she + 1 he = The relationship’ is the norm) got us this far: heterosexualised aggression from an early stage between young people (Ringrose, 2008), bullying & harassment towards non-conforming students (Miller & Gilligan, 2014), marginalised lesbian mothers accessing heteronormaitve health services (Halcomb, 2013). Now with more children than we can feed, defend and care for, we still find the time to perpetuate these negative behaviors.

‘School environments may well breed, enable, perpetuate, or even encourage bullying behaviors targeted at queer students, due to the fact that they are historically and institutionally designed to socialize and normalize children for life in what is assumed to be a universal society in which all citizens share common identities, goals, beliefs, values, and so on.’

Miller & Gillian, 2014

Cultivating meaningful relationships where our child, partner, close one is our friend, ally and, most importantly, is their own person while we remain our own person also is a must.

Without a PhD in ‘Why We Need to Upgrade Their Belief System in Order to Evolve’ I can firmly say that raising children for the past reality is not the way forward.