1st Edition

Life Skills and Adolescent Mental Health Can Kids Be Taught to Master Life?

By Ole Jacob Madsen Copyright 2023
    118 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Can school teach us to master life? This book confronts what the author sees as an ongoing trend in many Western democracies where citizens are increasingly being held accountable for their health and happiness.

    The author believes that the introduction of life skills in school shows a tendency to place more responsibility on the individual rather than address fundamental societal flaws that really should be solved politically. It examines how such responsibility to psychologically deal with these problems affects our mental health and quality of life. This book questions the fundamentals of the life mastery curriculum where we might be risking the creation of just another arena where children have to perform, challenging readers to evaluate more closely the premises, consequences and limitations of life mastery.

    The book, one of the first to question ‘life mastery’ as an achievable goal with critical reviews of the 21st century skills movement, will be of interest to psychologists, school counsellors, teachers, students, politicians, and any reader evaluating school curriculums in relation to the decline in youth and adolescent mental health.

    Preface Introduction The case of Sweden Look to Finland Something is rotten in the state of Denmark Back in the UK Life skills around the world Conclusion References  Chapter 1 - Life mastery: A user handbook What is life mastery? Coping as a public health measure Major and minor victories and defeats How is mastery of life accomplished? Research shows that ...  Chapter 2 - Life mastery in context Life mastery as prevention The will to master life Psychological will Political will – a seed is sown Pastoral care Processing by the Storting Early intervention Paedagogical will The Ludvigsen Committee Ideological will Therapeutic learning Individualisation Neoliberalism You are supposed to regulate yourself Metacognition Self-regulation Don’t eat the marshmallow yet!  Chapter 3 - Between risk and resilience Being young is hell Life is to be endured, after all Stressed by stress The pressure paradox Who will profit from life mastery? Risk society Accountability Is life mastery apolitical? History of the fall of prevention Which edition of psychology represents life mastery? Lack of emotional intelligence Another psychology is possible It doesn't have to be so bad But of course, children and young people want it Building a ‛psyche’ Thanks Notes


    Ole Jacob Madsen is Professor of Cultural and Community Psychology at the University of Oslo, Norway. His previous works include: The Therapeutic Turn (2014), Optimizing the Self (2015), The Psychologization of Society (2018), The Routledge International Handbook of Therapeutic Cultures (2020) and Deconstructing Scandinavia’s "Achievement Generation" (2021).

    ‘Around the world, governments are now considering introducing life skills as a subject for children in schools. Norway has been a first mover, and, in this important new book, Ole Jacob Madsen critically discusses the dilemmas related to this development. This book is significant not just for readers interested in life skills curricula, but for anyone who wonders about the current replacement of political solutions to societal problems with psychological ones. Strongly recommended!’

    Svend Brinkmann, Professor of psychology, Aalborg University, Denmark and Author of Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze.