Chap Clark, Baker Academic
While having a terrible title, Hurt 2.0 is a fantastic academic study on understanding adolescents and their world. Chap Clark’s thorough analysis came from spending two years in a Californian High School where he observed, interviewed and led focus groups with the purpose of building an accurate picture of today’s adolescent culture. Too often do adults believe that adolescents are the same as they were at that age Clark says, but in reality, much has changed.
The study highlights that at the heart of the modern day adolescent is a feeling of abandonment. It is from this that they believe it necessary to create their own adolescent worlds away from adult agendas. As well as this, the changing family unit has resulted in many adult family members searching for identity themselves, rendering them unable to give the guidance adolescents so vitally need. It complicates the process of becoming an adult, and extends the time required in achieving the goals of adolescence, namely:
- developing a positive body image,
- beginning to achieve economic and emotional independence,
- more completely defining sex roles,
- developing relationships with the opposite sex,
- preparing for future occupational and family roles, and
- developing civic competence.
Clark gives detailed analysis of the important issues of peers, school, family, sport, sex, busyness and stress, ethics and morality, partying, gaming and social networking and on kids at the margins. The advice given on these areas are hugely helpful and I fully advise parents who do not understand, or fear they will not understand their adolescents, to read Hurt 2.0.
In closing, Clark give five extremely helpful strategies to help adults to reduce the feelings of abandonment that adolescents may feel. These are:
1. Those who work with youth should be trained in the changing youth culture,
2. Those who serve adolescents must work together,
3. Those who serve adolescents must understand youth and provide boundaries,
4. Parents need to be equipped and encouraged to parent the changing adolescent, and
5. Communities must make sure that each student has a few adult advocates who know and care for him or her.
In short, there are some simple things we as adults can do to be the kind of adults adolescents need in their lives. Hurt 2.0 provides background and a way forward for those needing to know how to nurture an increasingly distant adolescent culture.
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