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Need for individual self-control

March 19, 2011

What do adolescents learn of the ‘need’ to care for themselves from the literature they read?

How do ‘urban tribes’ fit this individualistic vision?

Is self-control valued in the books for YA readers?

Is it promoted by the protagonists?

Consider this (written with even younger children in mind):

“The need to delay gratification, control impulses, and modulate emotional expression is the earliest and most ubiquitous demand that societies place on their children, and success at many life tasks depends critically on children’s mastery of such self-control.”[1]

“Modern history has also seen marked increases in food availability, sedentary occupations, access to harmful addictive substances, ease of divorce, self-management of retirement savings, and imprisonment of law-breakers.  These historical shifts are enhancing the value of individual self-control in modern life, not just for well-being but for survival.”[2]


[1] P1 Moffitt, T.E. et al (2010) “A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety.” Dec. Online: www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1010076108

[2] P6 Moffitt, T.E. et al (2010) “A gradient of childhood self-control predicts health, wealth, and public safety.” Dec. Online: www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1010076108

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