Excerpt: Adolescence

On Adolescence:
If any phase of the life cycle embodies the innate human urge to be free, it is surely that of adolescence.  In this phase, the individuation process begun in the second year of life is sharply accelerated by major advances in self-direction and self-reliance, energized and reconfigured by the hormonal changes of puberty. 

The individuation process of adolescence lays the groundwork for a core identity function basic to western individualism:  the young person's growing perception of himself as the owner of his mind and body and the corollary conviction that he is entitled to a life of his own.  He understands that this life is to be lived in voluntary cooperation with others of his choice, not in servitude to unknown masses through the offices of government.  In large part, this perception grows out of the adolescent's exercise of free choice in ever widening domains, energetically choosing as he wishes among persons, things and values.  He realizes that he is increasingly autonomous, an agent willing and able to act independently of others.  To an ever greater extent he constructs his own views of the world, generates his own goals, and creates and implements his own plans.  The adolescent has a growing sense of the ownership of his mind's doings and of his own significance.  He realizes more than ever that he can make things happen for good or bad in a manner and to an extent that he could not imagine as a younger child.  And because his growing strength of will and body make him a force that must be considered, he cannot be brushed aside with impunity.