school, which, according to other kids, is not actually a good thing. Getting A's in all my classes made me even weirder. It took me a long time to be comfortable with how long it took me to finish developing. I am happy with myself now, no thanks to my classmates. Adolescence is an extremely new concept. Historically, children were put to work very early and were almost completely independent by age 15. They were very responsible and serious, much more mature than children of the same age in current times. However, due to child labor laws and the importance of school, children have been removed from the workplace and stay in school much longer and thus childhood and adolescence have been extended many years. The results of this extension include a longer period of immature behaviors, a lack of young children in the work place, and increased dependency on parents. Research in the biology and psychology of adolescents is also very recent. Findings in this field support the extension of adolescence and make it astounding that young adults have not always behaved in this way. Studies show that there are physical developments in the brain that influence behavior in adolescents differently than in children and adults. It is unlikely that this brain activity is recent, though there is no research to prove it. It would seem, according to the research, that children of the past must have had some kind of miraculous self control to decrease the risk-taking behaviors that are so common now. However, today, the extension of adolescence is fully supported by the discovery of the development of the limbic system and the prefrontal cortex. Adolescents clearly cannot make informed choices until their cortical systems have finished developing and it is beneficial to keep them in school and dependent until they are mature enough to be on their own.
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