Tag Archives: adolescence

Adolescent Building Blocks for Adult Happiness | Psychology Today

The question basically was this: “What are some psychological building blocks in childhood and adolescence on which adult happiness can depend?” Off the top of my head, three endowments came to mind, the three C’s: control, companionship, and contentment. Take them one at a time.First is CONTROL. While no one controls what one writer (Thomas Wolf) called “the groping accident” of their life, or the rule of the unexpected that chance decrees, to the degree that a person believes they can succeed in influencing their course, they can feel a degree of purpose and effectiveness. Buoyed by this confidence, one adolescent may declare: “It’s my life, and I can decide to do with it what I want.” Contrast this statement with one from another teenager who is feeling depressed: “I’m helpless, there’s nothing I can do, whatever happens is not up to me.” In the first case, confidence in control gives the young person grounds for happiness; in the second case, sense of no control can cause the young person to feel unhappy indeed.An example of this difference can be the contrast between the optimistic high school student who just got into college and feels happily in charge of creating this opportunity, and the pessimistic college student who just graduated and feels unhappily out of control, still unable find a job after six months of hard looking.For parents of an adolescent, within the limits of relative safety, it pays if they can encourage pursuing interests, determining direction, goal setting, and taking responsibility. Continue reading

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