Erik Keilholtz & Kathy make good points in discussing the difficulty of getting thru adolescence (on KTC's blog):
The whole thing is a cultural problem. "Teenager" as a state of life is a relatively modern invention. One used to go from childhood to adulthood in a short amount of time. I think that we have lost something by creating a period in which one is expected to basically be a consumer without contributing much to society. Then we wonder why our adults are in such messes!
Response from KTC
I think the artificially-induced isolation of high school (Eve referred to it in the college context as the "hothouse environment) foments character problems, too.
Kinky Freidman said that a happy childhood is a terrible preparation for life, but it could apply to an extended adolescence also.