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The Myth of Maturity: What Teenagers Need from Parents to Become Adults [Paperback]

Terri Apter
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

11 Sep 2002
What do young people at the threshold of adulthood really need and want? Why do so many responsible and motivated teenagers become young adults who are still dependent, financially and emotionally, on their parents? Why are many young people today so quick to leave childhood behind, but so slow to become adults? This guide debunks outdated and misguided ideas about maturity: acting in the name of love, many parents withdraw emotional or practical support, thinking it best for a son or daughter to solve his or her own problems - even to suffer alone the consequences of mistakes. Apter shows us that young adults actually need a parent's guidance and support, while also requiring respect and independence. Based on carefully observed case studies and research, this book describes how we can support young people through a crucial stage in their development.

Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; New edition edition (11 Sep 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 039332317X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393323177
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 570,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description


"- "Terri Apter's sensible, empathetic book... is clearly written." Times Literary Supplement

About the Author

Terri Apter is a renowned social psychologist and researcher at Cambridge University in England. She is the author of Altered Loves and The Confident Child.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the myth 5 Feb 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
extremely interesting and enlightening and which is helping me with my relationship with my youngest
daughter age 23. first class.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Based too much on USA experience 10 Sep 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The blurb said the book was based on the author's experience working with teens in the UK & USA. I'm about 2/3 way through & have given yup because every situation described so far has been based on teens from USA, living lives that do not resemble those of my teenagers.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  8 reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading for parents of teens and beyond! 28 Dec 2001
By Linda - Published on Amazon.com
I just finished reading Terri Apter's book about helping teenagers and young adults find their way in the world. I will be recommending it to all of our friends! Ms. Apter identifies common misconceptions about how young people "should" be treated while discussing the realities young people face and how they need to be treated. Many of her ideas about helping our children grow into successful (happy, well-adjusted) adults are very common sense and resonate with parents as things we want to do, yet feel society does not support. Apter's ability to provide examples as to why parents need to nurture their young adults is reinforced by her examples of what happens when young adults do not receive such support. As parents we must do what we feel is best for our children and reject the pressures of society to "let them go and learn from their own mistakes". Apter's Myth of Maturity is a great resource for parents.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just in the nick of time 1 July 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
This book was so appropriate for our situation with our college age daughter. I found the book to be one of the few written specifically for this age group. I have loaned it to two friends who are having problems with their 20+ year old offspring. So many things are written about the teenage years, that you assume after that is over that "maturity" and development is accomplished. I am looking now for other books written by this author. Highest recs!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Parents Who Wonder Why Their Kids Are Taking So Long to Mature 9 July 2007
By William P. Sturm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Some kids seem to be taking forever to mature these days. It's as if all they want to do in their 20's is chill and hang and do nothing. This book explains many reasons why this is so, why kids have more problems maturing and take a lot longer, and why parents need to continue emotionally supporting and trying to understand them, often in the face of the kid's hostility or "I don't care" attitude. If you buy this book, and I recommend it highly, don't forget to read the introduction, which is almost a summary of the book. Lastly, Ms. Apter oftens cites a situation and then says "here's what the kid says" and then "here's how the parent responds". I found my self saying time after time "that's exactly how I would respond as a parent." Beforewarned that Ms. Apter is advocating for a different response from the one I would usually give to the child. This is not an uplifting book. But a very necessary one. But there don't seem to be many others like it on the market. Ms. Apter is so perceptive that I can't understand why it wasn't a best seller.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not About Teenagers But Rather 20somethings 4 Dec 2010
By CrimsonGirl - Published on Amazon.com
Don't let the subtitle mislead you- this book isn't about parenting teenagers at all but rather about 20somethings. The author invents a new term ("thresholders") for adults in their twenties and she advocates the kind of coddling by parents that has led to a prolonged adolescence among so many Gen Yers. I just couldn't relate at all to the stories of "quarterlife" angst by spoiled, whiny, immature 20somethings sponging off Mommy and Daddy. Ms. Apter regards the serial job-hopping and bed-hopping and the delay in becoming financially independent by so many young adults today as a *GOOD* thing. She claims, without providing any convincing evidence to support the assertion, that this kind of drifting is "preparation for a complex and demanding adulthood". Personally, I feel that "the maturity myth" is itself a myth and that the kind of "support" Ms. Apter advocates parents give 20somethings will ultimately hurt more than help. She calls it "scouting the adult world" but these "thresholders" *ARE* adults- and they need to start acting like them!

The chapter on marriage and parenthood by "thresholders" particularly made my blood boil. Ms. Apter claims that getting married prior to one's late twenties prematurely "forecloses" what she calls "the opportunity for real, deep growth" and allegedly "leads to a limited identity." She goes on to claim that 20somethings who settle down "assume the outward form of adulthood, take a shortcut to growth. This strategy invariably fails." As if the kind of "hooking up" that is now the norm among 20somethings allows for real growth of anything aside from the skyrocketing rates of STD's and out-of-wedlock pregnancies. She fails to consider the possibility for growing as a person within the framework of a loving, stable, committed relationship. I'm not the same person I was when I got married a month prior to my 22nd birthday. Getting married young didn't stunt my identity at all- I was able to grow & mature in my 20's just as easily (if not more so) than had I chosen to remain single.

Skip this one if you want your kids to become self-reliant adults.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A phenomenally insightful book 15 Dec 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
The Myth of Maturity is a must read for any parent of any older teen or young adult. And, I would recommend that young adults read it as well. It includes sound advice, interesting case studies and Terri Apter's usual perceptiveness. I hope this book gets the recognition it deserves.<(...)
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