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The Curse of Being Cool

You may just think that the kids who have it all at age 13 are going places! Or, at least that’s what Dr. Seuss says…”Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”…one of my favorite books by the way! Going places can mean a lot of different things. The places I’m talking about are the places kids go, who are either taking the high road or the road towards disaster starting from as early as middle school. You may read a lot of my posts where I talk a lot about social hierarchy and the status that girls (and boys) yearn to have. They may dream about being in the “cool” crowd and being accepted by those who supposedly have the higher ranking in school. They may also question their own ranking, and where exactly they fit in.

I just finished my afternoon java and reading what a Business Insider article has to say about cool kids losing perspective and adrift by age 23. While continuing my research about the path that tween and teens are on, it basically validates most of my views on the subject of teens “looking and feeling cool” but in fact, aren't. Over the course of a 10 year study, interviewers documented the social status of kids from middle school, high school and beyond, to age 23. It turns out that the social status of the “cool” kids dramatically declined over the years. Why am I not surprised by these results?

The cool category surely seems desirable when you’re in middle school and high school. But as I keep saying, and being repetitive to my own kids as well, is popular and cool really “popular”? Is there such a thing as good popular and bad popular? Go ahead, ask your kids today if they can define those two categories. I already did this in one of my tween and teen girl workshops, InnerStarGirl, and was amazed at the commentary from all of the girls. Even though it took them some time, after awhile, the girls clearly defined good popular versus bad popular. They even surprised themselves after breaking down the terms!

Business Insider’s write up summarizes it perfectly. By age 23, the “cool” kids are doomed, portraying significant behavior problems:

"The reason for this, the researchers hypothesize, is that the "cool" kids valued being popular more than the other subjects and therefore looked for ways to continue feeling cool. Since their behavior of drinking and doing drugs is what got them "cool" status in the first place, they dive into deeper, more extreme ways to try and stay cool, even though their efforts may be backfiring."

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