Boredom and YA

In the first week of this course we discussed a few myths surrounding young adults. The negative assumption that teens are seemingly bored, apathetic, and self-absorbed may alternatively be seen as the initial steps in a new stage of the developmental process. For instance, last semester a student in LIBR 521 recalled the bonding experience when reading children’s literature with her mother. Looking back, her reading experiences became increasingly intimate as she matured into her teen years. She believed that this transition was a valuable turning point in her reading development.

Harvard Psychologist Adam Phillips addresses issues of boredom in chapter 7 of his book On Kissing, Tickling and Being Bored (1993). He believes that “the child’s boredom starts as a regular crisis in the child’s developing capacity to be along in the presence of the mother. In other words, the capacity to be bored can be a developmental achievement for the child” (69).
Framed in this way, we have a different way of understanding a teenager’s actions (or lack thereof).