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Even wonder what is normal when it comes to teen behavior? The following facts and statistics on teen behavior will give you a better understanding of where you’re own teen fits in on the spectrum of things.

Statistics on teen attitudes

We all know that teens have an attitude, but you may he surprised to find out that this extends well
beyond talking back to you.

Research confirms what some parents might have already suspected: kids really are ruder and more belligerent than previous generations. (Twenge & Im, 2006)

A new study shows that adolescents today often have an overinflated self-esteem. While high self-esteem is normally a good thing, too much of it, or the wrong kind of it, can spell disaster. “Their narcissism could be a recipe for depression later when things don’t work out as well as they expected,” says psychologist Jean Twenge, author of the study. (Elias, 11-19-08) Some children, who’ve grown up in small families and have been pampered often, assume they’re God’s gift to the world, which leaves them more vulnerable to criticism and potential failure.

Statistics on typical teen behavior

Nearly half (46%) of teens surveyed say they leave their homes on school nights to hang out with friends, sometimes using drugs and alcohol. Yet only 14% of their parents say their teens leave the home to hang out with friends. (Kornblum, 8-14-08) You do that math.

Unethical behavior by teens

A recent study on teenage delinquent behavior found that, in the past  year …

  • 30% of high school students have stolen from a store (35% of boys, 26% of girls)
  • One-fifth said they have stolen something from a friend
  • 23% said they stole something from a parent or other relative
  • 68% cheated on a test in the past year. 38% did so two or more times.
  • 36% said they used the internet to plagiarize an assignment, up from 33% in 2004
  • 42% overall said they sometimes lie to save money (49% of boys, 36% of girls)
  • Virtually all surveyed had lied to a parent about something significant in their lives.

Despite such responses, 93% of teens surveyed said they were satisfied with their personal ethics and character, and 77% agreed with the statement that “when it comes-to doing what is right, I am better than most people I know.” (Crary, 12-1-08)

A recent survey of 25,000 high school students found that 90% of
them admitted to copying test answers, using crib notes, or cheating in some way-about triple the rate found in a 1963 survey. (The Week, 10-24-08, p. 18)

FACT: Unfortunately, ethical behavior can be socially expensive for adolescents. If a teen stands up for his or her principles, they often have to go against the crowd and
find themselves outside of their social circle. All the more reason to marvel at those teens who are able to withstand this pressure and stand up for what they believe in.

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