Tuesday, 13 March 2018

Recognizing Fifth-Grade Behavior Among Adults

I've come to this stage in life where I sit and analyze things to the ninth degree.  Lately, it's bothered me about childlike behavior that we see....particularly among teens, college-age folks, and even young adults.  So I've come to my five factors over these people:

1.  When something goes wrong....their first reaction is to go and find someone to blame.  Rather than repairing the situation....analyzing the contributing factors of the problem....resolving to fix the mess, they are totally focused on one single agenda....blame.

Part of this is poor parenting....part of this is poor teachers through school, and part of this involves university professors who are themselves poor quality instructors. 

2.  Impulse-like behavior.  This tends to involve people who can't handle stress or pressure.  They react in a impulsive way to events that occur.  During this stage, they skip over thinking about consequences and create a bigger mess than necessary.  Maybe days later....maybe even months later, they will come back and revisit some event that they triggered and realized that they turned a one-star event into a five-star fiasco. 

The problem here is that some folks may try to herd them toward a central point or a resolution situation, and the childlike adult will then push them back and intimidate them into sticking with the impulse that started.  I call this a 'wave-effect'.  Logic would dictate that thinking take place and some solution ought to be implemented, but this child-like 'creature' can't accept that as the right step.

3.  Bullying.  You see this over and over now in high schools and university situations.  Divide and conquer.  There are the insiders and the outsiders.  It's acceptable as fifth-graders to act in this way....but you shouldn't be expecting 21-year old adults to behave like this. 

Forcing some type of team approach?  You now find companies looking at various coaching tactics to force younger employees to work as a team.  This was a common thing to see in most people through the 1970s and 1980s.  Today?  You see a declining behavioral trend. 

4.  Defensive measures which are marginalized and ineffective.  Generally, if some conversation starts with these people....they want to explain their position, which has a 'you-must-believe' scenario attached to it.  You listen intently and reach a stage where you offer a counter-statement to the 5th-grade mentality 'kid'.  You state the obvious....you will be open-minded and able to hear out a discussion....but you state your position with logical clarity.  In the end, you suggest a divided position exists, and the fifth-grade 'kid' can't accept that.  At this point, they go with defensive measures which involve yelling, screaming, or just plain bad behavior.

In a university hall where they've decided to stage one of their marginalized yelling/screaming episodes....they usually turn the event into a joke because they can't handle the topic, the discussion, or the alternate view. 

5.  Finally, this odd situation of not accepting any lessons learned.  In this behavior trait....the 'kid' can't bare to discuss the idea that they were wrong, and they could learn a lesson from the mistake or the poor decision made.

This would be OK if we were talking about 11-year old kids.  But in this case....we are talking about older teenagers, college kids, and young adults.  Admitting they screwed up is bad enough, but then asking them to consider the future, some other walk of life, or some other understanding?  Well....no, they can't handle that.

 In their mind, there are no lessons learned because there are no mistakes. 

The sad thing about all of this is that some kid's parents end up to a great degree...funneling $50,000 to $100,000 for some four-year period, and 'Junior' (or 'Wanda') end up being some product that can't think or comprehend.  They believe they are out to change the world but can't resolve the fact that they know very little about the world, or the people in it.  The cash that mom and dad throw down into the 'pit'?  Well....it's gone and expecting any return on the money is just about impossible.

So as you sit in some mall, or in some staff meeting....coming to the realization that members in your group aren't behaving as adults, and maybe acting like 5th-graders.....you can understand their maturity issue.  Don't expect much, but at least there's some logic to illogic.