Are teenagers non-conformists and unconventional?

C. Are teenagers non-conformists and unconventional?

Barbara Sher: The real culprit is thoughtless conformism. And it attaches itself to only one age group. The only age that is invariably conventional is adolescence. Yes, that’s what I said. If you think of teenagers as being rebellious and wild, take another look. Their rebellion is only against adults. Teenagers don’t rebel against other teenagers. In fact, no other group watches its peers with more intensity, scrutinizing the latest convention so they can conform precisely to it. At no other age do people suffer such agonies if they aren’t allowed to copy their peers. At puberty the only thing in the world we want to know are the rules for being cool in our peer group. That intense self-consciousness, measuring worth in the eyes of others, has a powerful purpose: It’s the first step in the mating process. But it makes adolescents the most conforming, conventional age-group in our species.[1]

D. Teenage rebellion is psychological differentiation, which is discovering one’s identity while remaining in touch with family.[2] Adolescent differentiation provides for an adaptation to current reality; parents blend lessons learned in childhood with lessons learned in adolescence in order to be more effective parents.





[1] The quote is a selection from David O. Kueker’s Fuller Seminary Doctor of Ministry project submitted in September, 2007, entitled Diagnosis, Dialogue, and Decision: A Threefold Process of Revitalization For the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.
It is shared here in recognition of its 12th Anniversary along with comments to update and provide perspective on the material. The original project was a Training Manual/Study Guide of three Seminars supported by three chapters of research and an Introduction. The material is available for download at In 2009 it was provided for purchase as a softcover book entitled Designing Discipleship Systems: Christian Disciple Making For Any Size Church, Any Theology through

[2][3] [4][5] [6][7] [8]

All Scripture quotations are from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Please review the page How and Why We Use Quotes.

[1]Barbara Sher, It’s Only Too Late If You Don’t Start Now: How To Create Your Second Life After Forty (New York: Delacorte Press, 1998), 86-87.

[2]Edwin H.

Friedman, Generation To Generation: Family Process in Church and Synagogue (New York: Guilford Publications, Inc., 1985), 3, 23, 228-249.

This entry was posted in Seminar 1 Diagnosis. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.