This chapter focuses on the considerable liberating effects associated with the rise of adolescent traits and values. The brash and bold manner of the current age reflects a more general loosening of social rules that has come with substantial benefits as well as costs. If some constraints of the past served a useful purpose, others were unduly restrictive. The prevailing philosophy these days is that we should be free to do just as we please if it does no direct and evident harm to others. These must be acknowledged as one of the principal benefits of living in today's adolescent society. At the same time, there are areas of modern life where we can reasonably ask if these liberating effects have gone too far and whether our newfound freedoms might be put to better use if more closely harnessed to adult goals and sensibilities. The chapter considers both the upside and the downside of the expansion of personal freedoms that is one of the hallmark features of the adolescent society.
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