By Dr David Laing Dawson
He is so 14, our Donald. That is the 14 year old brain at work. He hears something, a story, and immediately propagates this as a truth that explains the world, or a part of it. Without judgement, context, history, accuracy, consideration.
Canadians have been smuggling shoes across the border. Clearly evidence of Canada’s unfair punishing tariffs.
This is the level of reasoning I see clinically between age 12 and 14. After 14, usually, some questions, context, history, some sense of scale creep in.
Next we have the “Space Force” (cue the theme music; design the Star Trek costumes). “Warp speed ahead, Mr. Spock”. The last time this made sense to anyone would be age 14. It is in late childhood and early teen years that we can emerge from a Sci Fi film and imagine what we have seen being a mere 10 years away.
I don’t mean the computers, the communication devices, some of the clever prognostications sci-fi writers slip into their stories – I mean the whole thing – zipping around the universe in million ton craft and little dune buggies at warp speed in sexy uniforms. That’s where the Donald’s head is. And he would be, of course, Supreme Commander of, cue the music, The United States of America Space Force.
And all the lying and exaggerations. That is age 14. I very seldom, in clinical practice, see a teen alone. I always include the parent(s). I explain that, (exaggerating but a whit) without the parents in the room, it can take me a full hour to determine if the child in question is actually attending school. At 14 and 15 from the teen talk of “basically” and “pretty much” and “yeah, sure” to out-right avoidance and lying, I might, by the end of an hour, have his attendance nailed down to: 2 or 3 days per week does actually get to school by 8:30, vapes at the smoking pit, goes in the school but avoids classes, then leaves at noon.
We need responsible adults in the room. Both in my office and in the Oval office.