Monday, November 26, 2007
Do teenagers think rationally?
My daughter didn't come home for Thanksgiving this year. A junior at Syracuse, this was the first time she was away from our house on a major holiday. She decided to spend it with a boy she's known a few months and took off for Boston. She had turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie with a family I don't even know. To say I was upset is an understatement. Since she's my only child, the blow was pretty tough.

Psychologists will tell me however, that actions like this are age appropriate, and that I shouldn't take it so hard. Teenagers and kids of college age often don't think before they do. You can have a straight "A" student one minute, who's loving and kind and thoughtful and in the next instant, a child who seems not to care at all about others' feelings.

The experts say it has to do with brain development. Seems that after the age of 13, the brain in a young adult outwardly looks just like a brain of someone in his or her late 20s, but it doesn't process information as well. The part of the brain that helps us make logical and rational decisions is just developing in a teen and usually it's not fully functional until the early to mid-20s. Since that part of the brain is still not mature, it can't handle stress and decision-making as well as a full-grown adult brain. It overloads. That can lead to judgments that an adult brain might not make.

Have you ever wondered about your teens and why they do the things they do? How one moment they can recite the Gettysburg Address backwards and the next minute they can't even put on clean clothes? Scientists say the brain is to blame.

I have a friend whose daughter is a freshman at Emory University, one of the finest educational institutions in the country. She's bright, talented and a great student. Last month, she needed to fax a document to her father for him to sign. Her dad gave her his number at work and waited for her to send the fax. After an hour, he called and asked why he had not received it. She said she was in the media room in her dorm and she couldn't get the fax to work, even though the light was working. After talking to her for a few minutes, it became apparent that his daughter wasn't using the fax machine, she was making copies.

That's a funny story, and after my Thanksgiving, I can relate.

But many times teens make choices that have long-term and far-reaching consequences: heavy drinking, smoking, taking drugs, having unprotected sex and even thinking of suicide. The teenage brain, although underdeveloped, is also a complex mish-mash of anxiety and confusion. Because of its complexity, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh are now to trying to map how the teen brain functions. They hope by pinpointing some of the irregularities in the young brain, they can prevent some of these potentially damaging behaviors from ever taking place.

As for my daughter, I assume she's back at Syracuse. I am still hurt by her choice to spend Thanksgiving away from her family. But I won't stay angry long. I understand this is a time for her to grow. I love her.

But next year, she better be eating green bean casserole at our house.

How do you cope when your children's actions don't match your parental expectations?
I truly believe that your point of view is quite selfish.

Your daughter is a Woman, and is starting her own life. How can she ever grow and get to know a man, let alone his family, if she is to always return back to YOUR nest?

I think you were only thinking of your own feelings, and not considering hers. Along with not taking her relationship seriously, and judging it by the amount of time they knew eachother. It might not be the man she's with for the rest of her life, but did you forget what it's like to be young, free, and experiencing life and new people you meet?

It seems to be that way. Maybe next time you won't jump to only pointing the finger at your daughter, and instead take it like an adult and a parent, and be glad she is spreading her wings out flying.

Atleast she wasn't in a dorm room doing drugs and drinking, with money that you sent for an education instead.
While I (begrudgingly) admit to being a teenager, and I agree that we don't always think rationally, and that it's probably hormones and developing brains and all that.

But, some of that behavior just comes with personality. Some people are more reckless and will always be that way. Others have always been more rational and will always be. Maybe, I'm different, but I don't hate my parents, I'm not reckless, and I'm not partying with drugs and alcoholevery weekend. Just because we're more likely to be moody...adults please don't write us off as another species!

In your daughter's defense, she's young, and probably hasn't had a lot of serious relationships. This was her decision for reasons that might not be explainable. Maybe she wanted to meet his family, learn more about him.

Or, it may have been that she was simply curious about another family's Thanksgiving. Curiousity often comes with been an adolescent.

She's trying something different, and she is growing up. But she is still naive, and will realize one day just how important family is.
-Michelle, Novi, MI
Perhaps older generations realized this long ago. It seems to have been common for 19th century people to not allow control of an inheiritance to be assumed until the recipient reached the age of 25. Allowing people to vote, drink, marry (without parental consent), etc. before reaching an age of full maturity may need to be reconsidered, in light of these findings.
Dear Val,

As a mother of a teenager, I can clearly understand your position. I also thank you for the information. My husband and I are often left wondering; "what the heck was he thinking?" now I see that he is thinking with a somewhat limited (handicapped?) brain. Hopefully we will get through this period not too badly bruised. Although I must admit, we have taken some tough blows as of late. A great book to read regarding the development of the teenage brain is titled: "The Primal Teen" by Barbara Strauch. Her book is actually encouraging and offers great hope as we navigate through this rough terrain. Good Luck!
Hideous lead buries interesting story about adolescent brain development...

Seriously, you're twenty-year old daughter made a rational choice to spend Thanksgiving with another family -- she didn't drop acid or start speaking in tongues or whatever other behavior you think is so wildly out-of-character.

Regarding your friend's daughter who made a mistake with a copy machine/fax - did it ever occur to you or maybe your friend that this happened because 1) no one's ever shown her how to use a fax machine before or 2) she's in college and is probably busy, overwhelmed, and stressed out trying to balance academics and life on her own?

I can't tell from the article if you're extremely misogynistic and small minded or just incredibly narcissistic and immature.

Maybe both?
Andrea is clearly one of these teenagers that Val describes. Andrea, your knee-jerk reaction shows that you neither read carefully, nor understood well, what Val was saying. Her reaction was not selfish. It is not selfish to feel hurt. It would have been selfish to command her daughter to come home, or to punish her in some way for this decision. Val was simply putting the incident into context and thinking through the reasons why it occurred - in fact, she was looking beyond her own hurt feelings to understand what precipitated her daughter's actions.Your condemnation of this process shows that you yourself lack the rational and mature judgement that an adult brain would provide. Your poor grammar also indicates an incomplete education; hence, I guess you are protesting mostly because you see yourself in the persona of Val's daughter. Nothing that five years won't mend.
What satisfies you personally is not always the most rational decision.
I don't know where entitlement comes into the picture. I have found many, not all, young adults feel parents are not expected respect, which has nothing to do with testing their wings. No one is entitled to be provided a continuing education. Also, parents should not feel lucky that their children don't do drugs.

Grow up BEFORE you set out to college. I firmly believe many young adults need to experience the work world before entering college.
The first step to growing up is to learn the world doesn't center around yourself!
I think you should be grateful that this boy thinks highly enough of your daughter to have brought her home to meet his family - especially on such a holiday as Thanksgiving. I have a co-worker who was 7 months pregnant and had been with her boyfriend for over a year and still has yet met his parents even though they live in the same city!
May I say that, as an adolescent (who is aware of his own bias in this matter), I find it erroneous to generalize my age group in this way?

While there are several of us who are indeed, as you say, irrational--prone to recklessness and self-damaging behavior--there are also those of us who are level-headed, logical, and quite reasonable. Your daughter doesn't seem irrational; rather, the case is one of conflicting values. And your friend's daughter seems to have an aloof mind rather than an irrational one; and, after all, all humans make utterly stupid mistakes like the one described herein.

And are such negative behaviors "irregularities" to be normalized? Or are they simply natural aspects of inevitable developmental stages?

I truly do not understand your point of view.
How is it selfish to miss the presence of an only child on such a family oriented holiday as Thanksgiving?
I suspect that you do not have children and more so from the defensive tone of your comment that you probably did not make it home to your
parents for Thanksgiving either.
Dear Val,
I have two sons in teens, and I sometimes feel like you. Parenting is a lifelong commitment and might be the toughest job around...(I have had more gray hair recently)So, I wish us both luck!
I wonder when we will apply what we know scientifically about the teenage brain to our justice system. While science tells us that people that we consider "adults" in our justice system do not actually have fully developed brains, our justice system is trying extremely young children as "adults". When a fifteen year old goes berserk and kills someone, we want to hit him with the full adult penalty of the law, but the fact is, he did not have the benefit of a full adult brain to help him control his impulse. It seems that justice is blind when it comes to science.
I'm not going to say much about the previous commment made on this blog, but I will say that I disagree.
Your hurt is understandable. I am still what most would consider young, but I am an adult now and have recently gotten married and had our first daughter a year later. I moved to be as close to my family as possible, and even when I was growing up and wanted to "spread my wings" family was always the most important thing in my life. There are other holidays or long weekends where your daughter could have gone out and "explored her boundaries", but on Thanksgiving especially, family should be a priority. My sister got married before me and my brother right before that and even with all the new "extended" family, we still make the holidays work because we are important to each other. Even if this boy was the one your daughter ended up with for the rest of her life, family should not be so easily blown off. I think that your feelings of hurt were right on target, and while I agree it's not right to hold on to that hurt for too long, maybe it's something you need to address with her in a casual way. If this is an important time to learn things in the teenage brain, then she needs to learn this one early on... that her actions do not only affect her.
Both nature & nurture play a role. Evolution theory is modified by genetics.

Miss Andrea is not a mother to understand your feelings. Oh wait a second. I'm not a mother either!
But i am mentally a mother to many. This comes from maturity in life and treating everyone with utmost care as you would want for yourself or your own kids. I can understand your feelings.

If you give importance to family,& if your daughter carries the genes, she will soon realize it too. These are all some distractions during teen age. If she hangs out with sane people who always put family first, again in that case your daughter will realize the importance of family.

As a parent you can only tell them good and the bad. As I care about your motherly feelings, i would like to add a small note(I have been brought up with excessive freedom and till now or never exploited that freedom in a wrong direction). Parents, once their kids are over 15, should try to treat them like friends and talk freely instead of lecturing. Nobody likes constant Do's and Dont's.

I have no idea how many parents talk to their kids about sex for example.

You getting hurt is natural. Feel it;don't suppress it. It will have its own repurcussions. But when your daughter makes her next visit to home, treat her like a friend and give her the confidence that you are there for her and you want great things for her. That's all you can do.

Some "anonymous" wrote that her co-worker is 7 months pregnant,lives with a boyfriend but yet to meet his family. There is some hitch in the relationship itself!

One of my friend, who is a single mom raising two kids,recently had to undergo lot of personal pains. Due to some wrong mishandling of her 20 yr old daughter(daughter is at fault as she abused mother's financial earnings behind mother's back wrt credit cards),the mother and the daughter are not on talking terms. The daughter told her mother that she is cutting herself from the mother. I'm the witness to know what exactly happened between the mother and the daughter. I told my friend to apply different strategies, gave her nice solutions but the mother has no patience(probably due to some ego and work related stress) and the 20 yr old carries ego too.

I told my friend that whatever struggle she went through to raise the kids, is gone in the drainage. If she had listened to me, she wouldn't have lost her daughter. The daughter lives in the same town as I do. I doubt the two will ever reunite unless the ego is subdued. Obviously the elders should set an example!

I'm on both sides. I support the mother b'coz she had sacrificed her own desires(she could have re-married)for the kids. The daughter definitely was doing lot of nonsense behind the mother's back.Father was an alcoholic that's why it ended up in divorce.Despite the daughter's faults,i want to support her, that she can change,make nice plans so that she can come up in life. I told the daughter forget about your mother's accusations. Nothing is too late to start fresh. Channelise your energies and focus on studies. Have a good degree and then do whatever you want. But the mother took some decisions on her own, mother made lot of wrong moves and suffering now for the consequences. She didn't want to listen to me as i'm in mid thirties and she in mid forties. Ego leads to destruction in any relationship(husband-wife,parents-kids,employer-employee...)

Whether the mother and the daughter have learnt anything or not from this sad episode, as an observer i have gained so much knowledge. I feel sad a relationship is lost due to ego.One should always feel the pain, forgive others (who were involved)and yourself and move forward in life.

The trajedy is money is not a problem here. My friends' brother(who is my friend through whom I came to know the sister) is a PhD in hematologist/oncologist and is very successful in his field, who helps the sister financially.

Mother thinks that daughter should call her and apologize & the daughter thinks the mother should apologize.I told the mother that she is the only solution if she wants her daughter back in her life. She keeps cribbing that nobody helps her. I told her even when somebody is offering the help she isn't taking it. She says her brother is not helping her much with the daughter. How much a brother can help? He is already leading a buzy doctor's life to make that money. This story is a good example for many to learn and not make the same mistake as my friend did.

So Val, take it easy and treat your daughter as a friend and try to see things from different angles. We all have curiosity for knowledge. But only some people read the sign boards "road ends;detour" and apply necessary changes in life and some others just bang themselves!
"How is it selfish to miss the presence of an only child on such a family oriented holiday as Thanksgiving?"

It's selfish to assume that the child made the decision to spend thanksgiving somewhere else *irrationally*. Selfish to assume that if she was rational she would have obviously come home. Selfish not to realize that rationality is not the same as "doing what mom and dad wish you would do".

Written by a non teenaged, non college-aged, rational human being.
While I agree that it takes folks at the least until their mid-20's to really get a handle on realizing the consequences of their actions, I disagree with the sentiment that the child/young adult is automatically "wrong" by virtue of youth.

As a junior in college I would assume that the OP's daughter is roughly 20 years of age. Choosing to spend *one* holiday away from her family in 20 years is quite understandable. Compromises have to be made in life. Of course, the considerate thing would have been to inform her family of her plans as far ahead of time as possible.

As a married woman of 30, it is impossible for my husband and I to both spend Thanksgiving with both families unless we took seperate holiday vacations. This would be a huge financial burden to do twice the traveling and we wouldn't want to be seperated anyhow. It would be a nightmare to host both families in the same place for the day so generally we alternate between families, have a quiet holiday at home, or just with friends.

I can understand the OP's desire to have their daughter around for the holidays, but with adulthood comes other responsibilities as well. Someday she may live too far away to visit every holiday, or may choose to spend some holidays with friends or in-laws. Perhaps she simply won't have time off work or the funds to travel. It's important to be understanding and not assume that you know all the reasons behind the decisions. Feel free to discuss it with her so you can understand, but when parents assume the child is wrong without all the facts, it can become hurtful.

One of the most painful discussions I had to have with my mother was when we had to come to an understanding that she couldn't micromanage my adult life from 3 hours away. She had a very hard time letting go of her parental control.
I have to admit, first of all, that I am a teenager myself and my views on this matter may be biased by my age. But I personally find myself to be in agreement with Andrea's response. Just because your daughter decided to spend time with another during Thanksgiving does not mean that all teenagers are irrational and underdeveloped, nor does it give you the right to generalize them as such. While the studies expressed in this article are legitimate, I'm sure, they seem to tie only vaguely to your situation. It was probably her newfound independence, and not reckless thoughtlessness, that invoked your daughter's act. She has moved out recently, and is trying new things and having new experiences. It is unrealistic to expect her home for every holiday, as she has new people in her life now and is sure to want to spend some special times with them. It is natural to feel hurt by her absence, as a parent, but she has to live her own life now. The fact that there are other people in it is something that all parents have to come to terms with eventually. I am sympathetic to your situation, but find your views to be rather irrational, in comparison to your daughter's feelings.
Val, while I agree that Thanksgiving is one time to be with family, you putting so much emphasis on seeing your daughter that day makes me wonder if you talk to her enough or spend enough time with her during all the other days of the year. In my experience, stressing the holidays too much makes everybody stressed out. It could be that this was simply the most convenient time for your daughter to meet her new boyfriend's family. In that case, she was thinking very rationally.
Might there be another reason she didn't want to come home for turkey? Maybe Thanksgiving at your home has simply gotten stale or boring to her. To entice your teenager, maybe try starting some new traditions that interest them, instead of expecting them to enjoy Thanksgiving de ja vue every year. Also, try asking your daughter why she didn't come home. My mother asked me that the first year I didn't come home for Thanksgiving and when I told her my answer she completely understood and was not hurt at all.
Also, I do not know why your friend's child would know how to work a fax machine in this age of email. And must all conversations about teenagers lead to talk of drugs and suicide? Most teenagers do not try either.
I refer to 18 to 24 as my "young and stupid" years. They were tremendous fun and a time of huge growth and exploration. I now know that conflicts and hurt feelings are a given for most families during this period. So are apologies on all sides.

I once falsely said my father was dead on a credit application simply because I was tired of not being treated like an adult capable to make my own judgments. I was applying to buy an expensive fur coat at Neiman Marcus -- what of this was a "good" decision??? He didn't tell me they had called him to ask about it for more than 25 years. He took it as a personal rejection.

In the long run, whether because of brain development or simply life experience, most of us begin to see our parents as friends and resources again about age 25. Hopefully, because of the depth of connections made earlier in life, we get most of the way there with love and acceptance rather than resentment and anger.
I'm confused. Whats Rational?

From inference, I'm assuming that not spending thanksgiving with your family is consider irrational.

I suppose thats one benchmark.

I just read an article about a government thats going to whip a teacher for naming a doll after a religious figure.
I read another article about a man who attended his ex-wife's thankgiving dinner and killed her and his children.

All Adults.

So, your question is - Do teenagers think rationally? Sure they do...just as much as adults.

Ask a much bigger question. Do any of us think rationally?
I agree with Chris, don't generalize an age group. While the data generated on differences between teenager and adult brains does show differences, I question the population of teenagers used in the studies...don't forget the nurture aspect and how it relates to brain development. Much of the recklessness is directly related to stress induced by peer groups and in many cases our kids peers are raising our kids, no wonder they get confused and stressed as they enter a more independent part of their life. I'd like to see the study with specific groups of teens, i.e., public schooled, homeschooled, private schooled, or urban vs rural to see how much environment plays a factor in the brain development differences instead of generalizing the entire teen community.
- Father of four
Of course they don't. The article should be titled "CAN teenagers think rationally?" I never met a teenager (including myself) who could place rational or logical thought above the myriad emotions coursing through his or her brain. That's what makes them teengers and not (most) adults.
"Andrea is clearly one of these teenagers that Val describes. Andrea, your knee-jerk reaction shows that you neither read carefully, nor understood well, what Val was saying. Her reaction was not selfish. It is not selfish to feel hurt. It would have been selfish to command her daughter to come home, or to punish her in some way for this decision. Val was simply putting the incident into context and thinking through the reasons why it occurred - in fact, she was looking beyond her own hurt feelings to understand what precipitated her daughter's actions.Your condemnation of this process shows that you yourself lack the rational and mature judgement that an adult brain would provide. Your poor grammar also indicates an incomplete education; hence, I guess you are protesting mostly because you see yourself in the persona of Val's daughter. Nothing that five years won't mend."

It's easy to assume, isn't it? I am a grown women, with children and a husband, and last I checked this is not an essay being submitted for grading, and not that it is any of your business, but I go to my mothers house every other year, and to my husbands family in between.

What I said was meant to bring for thinking from the other side using a drastic form of approach, and it very well did so.

We never will know the whole story, as the daughter is not here to defend herself. I am sure the thanksgiving was lonely, and I am sure it was sad not having her there.

And by the way, you do not have to have gone through something to fully understand it, though I know hardly anyone can grasp that concept.. and many people actually do have to go through it to understand it, that does not play for all.

It's funny how the focus switched at a basic attack at me, with assumptions and ALMOST name calling as I would see it. I stuck to the topic, but you can not even do that.

For the original poster, I hope your daughter has now made contact.. and all wounds are healing.
I agree with the commenter below me. Your viewpoint is unfair and over-bearing, not to mention over-dramatic!

Respect your daughter and stop taking this so personally. She is a young woman who will be making a lot of important decisions in her life. Your harsh judgement will only damage your relationship.

As for the fax machine incident, how can you possibly blame it on her "under developed teenaged brain?" To be honest with you, our generation has never really had to use fax machines. Most everything is downloaded or emailed these days, not to mention the fact that some copy machines have fax capabilities. I am 24 years old and had to ask someone how to use their fax machine the other day. I certainly don't consider my brain to be under developed in any way, nor do I think that makes me ditzy or stupid.

Please try to relax and take things in stride. You'll have a much healthier relationship with your daughter that way.
It seems most parents want to believe a book will strengthen their relationship with their children.They want all teenage related problems to be solved with one solution. We need to start looking at teens as more than just one person, when they constantly strive to be different.
Presumably, I am a teen, I have been on medication for anxiety, depression, and various other disorders since I was eleven years old. I felt for the longest time that who I was as a person was so terrible that it needed to be fixed. I wasn't unhappy until after I was diagnosed. That's when I truely became depressed.
I'm over that now, but I would hope parents would choose to talk to their children and listen without assumptions. They are your children, surely you can solve your problems without looking for expert advice. Shouldn't you be the true expert?
I'm sorry your daughter hurt you. It isn't wrong to feel hurt, but I also know many adults who let down others with no intent of doing so.
Having grown up in the midwest, I can say -- Maybe it was just the thought of another green bean casserole?
I understand your feelings about your daughter and how she seems so smart one minute and seemingly uncapable the next. I have my own moments like this. You may be disappointed, but just look at a teenager's view for a second:

I am a junior in high school and the problem I see most often is stress. Young people in my generation are now faced with a world that is entirely different than you could ever imagine when you were my age. Suddenly, most teenagers face a rude awakening when they realize that their education matters even more than ever before, since they will be competing for jobs with people their age in India, China and the rest of the world. A friend of mine said that her father's favorite thing to say was, not eat your vegetables so you could grow strong, but, "Do your homework. People in India will take your job."

I hope that you can learn to forgive your daughter, she only wants to experience Thanksgiving in a different way this year. She still respects you, despite this.
First, I would like to address that if she is a junior in college she is most likely 20 or 21. I wouldn't call that a teenager and I would not call her a child or kid. Although at 20, the age that I am our brains are not fully developed, age does not always affect you decision making skills. I know some 30 year olds that make worse decisons than I do. It's not how long you've been on this Earth, but it's what you have learned an taken from your experiences that make you a good decision maker. Many young adults make careless decisions because they feel they have less to lose than someone who has children, a career and a whole lot more responsibility. I just hate when people generalize and undermine my judgement because of my age group.
As a 21 year old, I can't help but be amused by your post here Val. I'm sorry your feelings are hurt, as I'm sure your daughter is. Who knows, maybe you'll be serving green bean casserole to her Bostonian next Thanksgiving. Be glad your daughter met a boy who thinks highly enough of her to introduce her to his family - there are many college boys who would rather not have to meet a girl's family or have her meet his, because that implies a level of commitment or seriousness to their relationship. Clearly you've raised your daughter right that she's avoided choosing one of those louses.
The postings by the teenagers and 20-somethings make the article's point for it. Blowing your own family off for a holiday so you can spend it with the family of a boy you barely know, while not wrong, is hardly rational.

Are teenagers brains different? You bet. That's why we call them immature. But everyone think back to when we were so young and we will readily see the primary cause: teenagers brains are bombarded with large amounts of sex hormones. These tend to make adults behave irrationally, so teenagers are particularly vulnerable.
I would hardly consider not going to your parents' house for Thanksgiving "irrational" and "reckless," perhaps thoughtless or selfish.

Having experienced nearly the exact same situation, but from the daughter's point of view, I see both sides. And I don't think it's some sort of lack of development that makes us behave this way --I think it's a desire to become a person independent of the family by which you've been defined for the first two decades of your life (and this is healthy!) It's not that "teenagers" (perhaps better defined as "financially dependent young adults") don't love their families. Unfortunately this behavior leads to hurt feelings on the parents' side and frustration on the independence-seeking teenager's side. It seems to me that this period is a difficult time for both parties, but the onset of true adulthood (and true independence, financially and otherwise) repairs the relationship. I think the problem has much less to do with the development of the decision-making part of the teenage mind than the nature of that awkward time in one's life. So although I don't deny that minds of young adults are still underdeveloped and prone to making irrational decisions, I don't think this applies to the case of a daughter going to someone else's Thanksgiving dinner.
The college years are the natural years for pulling away from one's family and testing out waters somewhere else. To a college student, a few months of a relationship seems like "forever". If we all think hard, we can remember those days! I also remember doing similarly "impulsive" things back then and blowing off my family for friends. Like Val, my parents didn't have much recourse but to gracefully give me enough rope to test the waters elsewhere and then follow the rope hope when I came to my senses - which I did eventually...and so, too, will your daughter, Val!

The problem is college kids are not teens but young adults. We have to try and remember that because while we may not like their actions we have to remember they are no longer kids.
I am now a grandmother after raising 4 sons and I can tell you that your feeling of hurt will NEVER go away. You accept it as part of life. Our children have to split holidays with their in-laws and of course we are spread all over the country. Every time I feel down because we are alone on a holiday (as we will be this Christmas), I try to remember all the inconsiderate things I did growing up that must have been just as hurtful to my parents. It helps me accept my own childrens' actions. Don't waste a lot of time feeling sorry for yourself - no one wins that game.
As a psychologist with a Masters in Clinical psychology, I can tell you that young adult's brains (18-25) are not yet fully mature. The neurological wiring is in place but the support system has not completely been developed. Their nerves are still in the process of being militated, in other words insulated. The irrational or impulsive behavior is the manifestation of this inherent process of maturation.

In this particular instance it would be best to stop pointing fingers. Proclaiming that the author of this article, the daughter, young adults, or mature adults are at fault or are behaving irrationaly. Blame never solves a problem. What would be more constructive, is discussing your feelings, and why you were hurt. Or to contemplate what it is about this topic that may have upset you enough to post a scathing retort.
I am also a 20-year-old college female. Yes,I can see why Val is upset about the daughter's decision. I sure know my parents would be hurt. They barely get to see me as is. But on the flip-side, I have been dating a boy from my home town since high school, and his family has also become a part of my family. I joke that they are family 2.0, and that I have a second home a town over. There is nothing wrong with this expansion. It's nice to be a part of not just one, but two loving households. Over time, perhaps Val's daughter will be as fortunate as me and inherit a second family, but she must meet them before that happens, and what better time than the holidays?
It's not that Val's daughter doesn't love and respect her family, but she also needs to expand her social and familial horizons beyond the cocoon she spent her whole life in.
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