Distinguishing Features of the Adolescent Personality


  • An obsession with rights and benefits, receiving and consuming–obsessions encouraged by the fable that ‘I,’ simply by merit of being myself, am entitled to receive
  • The attraction to ideologies that claim that society must satisfy the needs of the individual without the individual being obligated to society in return
  • The use of perfectionism as a shield against trying the new, or participating in activities in which one’s competence is low
  • The tendency to judge as ‘bad’ those people who merely are indifferent
  • A fascination with the visual, the superficial, the artificial, the immediate
  • A fear of deep friendship–a diminished inclination for mutuality and reciprocity
  • Deadness to the feelings of others and a reluctance to extend beyond the circumference of the self
  • Inexperience in sharing, giving, and cooperating
  • An intelligence dominated by narcissistic intellectualism rather than by reason
  • The presumption that responsibility is not a legitimate demand on the self
  • Indifference to the rights and feelings of others, and the desire to perpetuate this indifference

John J. Mitchell, The Natural Limitations of Youth: The Predispostions that Shape the Adolescent Character, 181.

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