Martha Irvine of the Associated Press offers an interesting, albeit somewhat unsettling, story about how children seem to be growing up faster and faster. It’s hard to know what to make of such trends. One can only hope that prosecutors don’t interpret such news as grounds to more frequently charge youth as adults…
Zach Plante is close with his parents — he plays baseball with them and, on weekends, helps with work in the small vineyard they keep at their northern California home. Lately, though, his parents have begun to notice subtle changes in their son. Among other things, he’s announced that he wants to grow his hair longer — and sometimes greets his father with “Yo, Dad!”
“Little comments will come out of his mouth that have a bit of that teen swagger,” says Tom Plante, Zach’s dad.
Thing is, Zach isn’t a teen. He’s 10 years old — one part, a fun-loving fifth-grader who likes to watch the Animal Planet network and play with his dog and pet gecko, the other a soon-to-be middle schooler who wants an iPod.
In some ways, it’s simply part of a kid’s natural journey toward independence. But child development experts say that physical and behavioral changes that would have been typical of teenagers decades ago are now common among “tweens” — kids ages 8 to 12. [full text]