Cool Teens Struggle Later in Life
While high school may suck if you’re not one of the cool kids, a new study suggests that in the long run, uncool kids are better off.
The study found that while early teenagers who engaged in ‘pseudomature behaviours’ (a fancy name for doing adult things, while you’re a child) were more popular in the short term, they experienced “long-term difﬁculties in close relationships, as well as signiﬁcant problems with alcohol and substance use, and elevated levels of criminal behaviour,” according to a study published in the journal Child Development.
“It appears that while so-called cool teens’ behaviour might have been linked to early popularity, over time, these teens needed more and more extreme behaviours to try to appear cool,” according to lead author Joseph Allen.
The study, which monitored 184 adolescents as they progressed from 13 to age 23, found that those who displayed, ‘pseudomature behaviours’ at age 13, were seen as more popular by their peers when compared to those who did not engage in ‘pseudomature behaviours’.
However as the group got older, the link between popularity and pseudomature behaviour became weaker. The – initially cool kids – struggled to gain approval from peers in early adulthood.
The study authors quote one theory that believes initial easily gained attention is to blame, “Pseudomature behaviours replace efforts to develop positive social skills and meaningful friendships and thus leave teens less developmentally mature and socially competent over time.”
The initially cool kids were also found to be 45 percent more likely to develop problems related to alcohol and marijuana use.