“Safety in Numbers”:The Golden Rule of theTeenage Years

Teenagers are not only anxious and uncertain, they are also ready to explore and experiment, to forge their own identities, independently of their parents and teachers, to define themselves in opposition to those over-bearing adults.

That’s why secondary school students are much more difficult to manage than primary school kids. They’ve had enough of being bossed around; they are testing out forms of rebellion, to see how dangerous they are. 

They are compelled to step out into the unknown (it probably makes evolutionary sense, making it easier to mix up their genes), but they do so nervously. Humans are social beings who run in packs, so teenagers cling to each other for security. Their friends become their tribe. They are desperate to belong, taking their cues on how to behave or dress or talk, from each other, terrified of being excluded.  

They are conflicted little puddings: rebellious and contrary in the company of their parents, conformist and risk-averse in the company of their peers.

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