3Adolescence, Family and Opportunity

We need to stay in adolescence for the moment because it's here where our outlook on life can become crystallized – the die seemingly cast as we move from childhood into adulthood. Reject or be rejected by the clan here, and a lifetime of alienation – of life on the edge – awaits.

Partly, and excruciatingly, this is due to the unmentionable but oh-so-important changes taking place to our body. Puberty – the physical and hormonal arrival of adulthood – generates much of the disorientation that young outsiders experience. And it's not just the onset of puberty that matters. Its timing also plays a pivotal role in determining feelings of maladjustment and alienation.

Psychologists talk about ‘normative’ and ...

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