Adolescence is a time of turmoil – fact of fiction?
Life in general has its up sides and downs, moments of turmoil and tranquillity. It isn't different for any stages or moments in life. The concept that adolescence can be a time of turmoil is not a new concept in terms of popular understanding. It was believed that adolescence was a time of storm and stress (Heaven, 2001) and considered to be quite typical of adolescence, and hence not investigated as it was 'normal' (Peterson, 1988 cited in Heaven, 2001, p.3). What are the reasons that this stage of life has such stigma? Who is feeling the turmoil? In this essay I will be showing that this stage has a unique set of pressures on the individual that will lead to great changes. Many of these changes would be some of the factors that society and some social writers would see as a time of stress and storm, or a time of turmoil. Transition: childhood to adolescence to adulthood
Adolescence is seen as a time of transition. Most social scientists can't agree how long this transition is, nor when it starts or ends. Today it is even more difficult to define these ages as the stage of adolescence has 'lengthened, both at the beginning and at the end' (Coleman & Hendry, 1999, pp.8). It usually covers the second decade of life. The transition from childhood to adolescence is very evident, as many physical aspects will change.
This stage also shows changes in intellectual growth of the individual. Adolescents will be able to engage in more complex and sophisticated self-concept (Coleman & Hendry, 1999). Children perceive things more as bad or good, right or wrong. Adolescents will start to feel and think differently. That is when questions such as 'who am I?' and 'where am I going to in life?' become more frequent. But they will still lack the experiences to properly evaluate complex subjects. As their perception about things change, they will engage with their parents, often starting an argument to help them establish what they really think about things (Figes, 2002). Figes (2002, pp.132) will suggest that adolescents sometimes have arguments because ''they know no other way to make contact with their parents and make them hear what they really think or feel about things''. Each stage of life has its developmental tasks that a person must acquire or master in order to successfully move to the next stage. In order to move to adulthood the adolescent will face the problems, difficulties and developmental tasks that adolescence brings (Heaven, 2001). Some of the tasks mentioned by various writers that I would think I experienced are: relationship with peers; emotional independence, preparation for a career, sense of morality (or ethical system) and development of a sex role identity. Heaven (2001) suggests that children that didn't complete the developmental tasks of childhood successfully will be at a disadvantage as they enter their teens. Erikson (1968, pp.162) says ''It is the ego's function to integrate the psychosexual and psychosocial on a given level of development and at the same time integrate the relation of newly added identity elements with those already in existence...''. I would interpret this to mean that the new identity to be formed needs all the skills and
achievement acquired in the previous stages. Therefore some of the conflicts experienced by the individual in this stage could be a reflection of some tasks that were not successfully achieved in the previous one. Adolescents also oscillate between childish ways and their chronological age. Figes (2002, pp.116) says that all the new performances of adolescence and the emotional consequences of all this new perception can be too much for an adolescent and that is when they ''find it deeply relaxing to be allowed to wallow in childhood again''. Adults often expect rational consistent adult thought from adolescents as some of them look so grown-up physically, but...
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