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Home » The Difference Between Adults and Grown-Ups: Dr. Lisa Damour (Transcript)

The Difference Between Adults and Grown-Ups: Dr. Lisa Damour (Transcript)

Full text of clinical psychologist Dr. Lisa Damour’s talk: The difference between adults and grown ups at TEDxCLE conference.


Dr. Lisa Damour – Clinical psychologist

Hi. So everything that I know about what it means to be a grown-up, I’ve learned from teenagers. I’m a psychologist who works with teenagers and doing this work has taught me so much about growing up.

And when I say growing up, I don’t just mean aging into adulthood, lots of people do that. I mean maturing into a real grown-up.

Now, all of us are connected to teenagers whether it’s our teenager or somebody else’s. So I’m going to share what I’ve learned about the differences between people who are merely adults and people who are really grown-ups. And I’m going to do this to clarify how all of us fit in to the process of helping young people grow up.

Now I will tell some stories from my work with teenagers, and I won’t share the details of any one person’s life. But I’ll share really amalgams of many, many moments I’ve spent with teenagers over the years.

All right, so let’s get down to business.

So the first difference that I’ve observed between people who are adults, so not really grown up, and people who have really grown up has to do with risk assessment.

So, what I mean is, how do we decide what chances to take? The way I see it, is that people who are merely adults, who haven’t really grown up, assess risk in terms of the chances of getting caught engaging in risky behavior.

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