The characteristics of the teenager

29 June 2020

Teen profiles

It’s hard to understand teenagers, their behaviors and their strange world! A major national survey looked at the profile of these emerging adults and was able to distinguish five groups. From anguished to attentive to satisfied, discover these young personalities to see them with a new eye.

Teens “all bathe”

They represent 30 of the young people. They feel good about themselves, and don’t feel too much pressure in their daily lives. They have a positive view of society, and are confident in their personal future. In fact, they are rather ambitious and optimistic about their future achievement. They place a special place on the family and moral values.
The typical teenager: high school students in vocational courses, children of workers.

xs teen girl

Teens “satisfied”

They represent one in four teenagers. They have a realistic and critical view of the society around them, and they know that they are rather privileged. Their future is focused on family and leisure rather than professional life. They want to get involved to make society move (like enrolling in associations for example).
The typical teenager: high school girls in general courses, children of senior managers.

Teens “waiting”

They also represent one in four children. They are undecided about their future and actually do not ask many questions about their future. They let events happen, waiting to see. They are also undetermined in their opinions. Nevertheless, they have good academic results.

Typical teens: boys children of senior managers or civil servants.


Teens “worried”

Just over one in six are worried teens. They have difficulties at school or with their families. They’re in a bad way and they’re under pressure. In their priorities, love is more important to them than academic results. Moreover, they are quite pessimistic about their future in a rather unequal society.
The typical teenager: daughters of employees and workers, in professional fields.

“Anguished” teens

One in twenty are so worried about their future. It must be said that their situation is worrying: they do not have many friends, do not talk with parents … They feel disadvantaged and find society unfair. They have no plans and live day to day.
Typical teenager: middle school or high school student whose parents are separated.


Teens: The New Forms of Unhaps

Teenagers have changed a lot today… and the famous teen crisis took on new forms, often more difficult to recognize and more brutal. Depression and self-harm in girls, beatings and drug use in boys… What are the new risky behaviours and expressions of violence?

Today, teen behaviours have evolved and ill-being is no longer expressed in much the same way. These expressions are specific to young girls and boys.

Boys: station at the scrapyard

Among boys, fights, runaways, school absenteeism are the behaviors that will express ill-being. Violence is generally directed towards others, rather than towards oneself (suicide attempts among boys have remained stable). But there is a significant increase in the damage to the property of others, especially public goods. “This has doubled in four years,” says Marie Choquet, an epidemiologist at Inserm. And drug use is a predominantly male phenomenon, increasingly widespread. On the other hand, it should be noted that alcohol consumption has not changed despite appearances. According to Marie Choquet, “Young people today are less consumers than their parents. Today, the only mode of consumption that persists among young people is drunkenness. However, France remains one of the countries in Europe where drunken behaviour is the least widespread. It is the way society has looked at it that has evolved…”

Girls: Inner Violence

As psychiatrist Dr Xavier Pommereau points out: “20 years ago, the main disorder in young girls was the spasmophilia attack. Today it has all but disappeared. Instead, we will find other disorders such as self-harm.” For among adolescent girls, ill-being is expressed above all by a greater tendency towards depression and self-oriented violence. Suicide attempts have increased in a few years among girls. Eating disorders, anorexia and bulimia, are other forms of violence projected towards one’s own well-known body. “But it is impossible to know whether these disorders are progressing or regressing, we have no data” stresses Marie Choquet. On the other hand, self-harm seems to be increasing among young girls.

Soon parity of risky behaviours

This difference in behaviour between girls and boys seems to have widened: “There are more differences in behaviour today between girls and boys than 10 years ago” points out Marie Choquet. But the trend may well be reversed: there are specific attitudes for boys in girls. Thus, violence directed towards others also progresses in their homes, as reflected in some of the facts. Similarly, figures on cannabis use show a significant increase among adolescent girls. Often this “reversal” of the disorders is even more dangerous, because it is done in a more violent way: a boy who scarifies himself will do so in an even more serious way, a girl who drinks alcohol will do so in a more extreme way.

Inadequate prevention

Has society been able to adapt to this changing behaviour of teenagers? Not really. Thus, today the state is increasing security measures and actions against the degradation of public property, instead of trying to prevent behaviour. And the major information and prevention campaigns mainly concern the use of cannabis or drugs, mainly male behaviour. Teenage girls are thus the great forgotten of the public authorities. Where are the campaigns for the prevention of suicide, anorexia or self-harm…

Re-emergence of child problems (oral and stage)

The oral side results in bulimia, anorexia, and greed in every respect. impulses return through aggression, the no, altering all its relationship with order, power. There is also a return of phallic and edipose impulses, resulting in a crisis of physical and mental originality, and œdipal reactivation of edipal impulses towards parents, creating feelings of “parental shame”. The more dependent he feels on parents, the more aggressive he will be towards them. Parents can’t help him because it’s their very presence that creates the conflict.

Teenager creates family novel

There are two couples of parents, one rich, noble, powerful and protective, assimilated to deities. They are the parents of the past, idealized by the child. The other couple is humble, common, subject to daily limitations. These are the parents discovered by the teenager. These two couples of parents clash in the imagination of the teenager. He thus embroidered a family novel in which he regained his rights and privileges. This reveals the regressive process towards the reassuring relationship of the early childhood and the gradual process that allows us to accept reality.

Fantasy of role change

The adolescent wants to take the place of one of his parents by usurping the rights of the adult. He is an adult instead of the father or mother. He judges his parents, advises them, infantilizes them. This is a condition for becoming an adult. The teenager identifies himself with images of wall parents.


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