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'Cool' Middle-Schoolers Struggle Later in Life

A 10-year longitudinal study in the journal Child Development found that young teens who acted old for their age by sneaking into movies, forming early romantic relationships, shoplifting and basing friendships on appearance were seen by peers as popular, reported the Los Angeles Times. But once these socially advanced teens matured, their behavior was no longer so cool. In fact, by age 22, they had a 45% greater rate of substance use problems and a 22% greater rate of criminal behavior.

Researchers suggested that when kids spent too much time trying to gain status, it can come at the expense of developing positive social skills and meaningful friendships.

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