Social Expectations and Identity Development

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Mounia RBIHA SSK1204 Social Expectations and Identity Development

1 The task that the individual is confronted to during his adolescence is to get socialized. Adolescents are strongly requested to deal with socialization. During this process, the adolescent encounters all the society’s demands and standards. The challenge that remains at that stage for the adolescent is to form his own place in the society where he lives. Moreover, he has to feel that he fits in that place. All through the socialization, the adolescent has to consider the social expectations because he can’t forge his personality regardless of the surrounding environment and the external rules. Social expectations can push the adolescents to change their behaviors, their way of thinking. Actually, social expectations shape the identity of the adolescent. Freedom and independence are two major concepts that the individual tries to search for during his adolescence. Freedom and independence have a special meaning for the adolescent which is to not to be compelled or forced to do something. The adolescent doesn’t want to feel the pressure on him. This pressure becomes greater when it comes to social rules and expectations because the adolescent may feel that he is judged according to the society’s standards and conventions. Sometimes, adolescents may perceive these expectations as a challenge that they have to win, and according to Crockett and Silbereisen, “adolescents are thought to perceive social expectations and to define tasks for themselves based on these expectations”, (p.6, 1999). From this view, the social expectations seem inescapable. The adolescent can’t deal with the external world without these expectations. This requirement is frequently responsible for the rebellion. (Geldard, Geldard, 2004). The adolescent feels that he is surrounded by different rules that don’t fit necessarily his personality. So, sometimes he feels the need to make some changes in his behavior to make it more socialized. This change that occurs varies from an adolescent to

2 another depending on how the adolescent accept it. Some of them can perceive that change as a necessity and as a need. So, he would do his best to create a space where he can match his own needs and what he is expected to do. Others would perceive it as a duty where they feel no responsibility. Their change would be not effective since they don’t think that they are in a need of such adjustment to create a harmony between themselves and the society’s expectations. The social expectations involve the interaction with others. In fact, the adolescent cannot form his identity without developing some relationships that link him with the others, as it is said by David Geldard and Kathryn Geldard in their book Counseling Adolescents, “ the adolescent can only construct a personal identity in the context of relationship with others” (2004, p. 11). This fact leads to recall the childhood. Childhood is also a stage in one’s life where the individual is being used to get in touch with the external world. By starting to be socialized, social expectations begin at that specific period of life. Children are supposed to behave in such a way that would make the others call them, sweet or cute. Nobody would hear someone call a kid a devil in a serious way. Actually, children are expected to be angels. No one can imagine an evil act done by a kid. In the Moroccan society, children are often asked to call someone that they don’t really know khalti or aâmi depending on the gender, which can be translated as “aunt” or “uncle”. Everybody becomes an aunt and an uncle, from the friend of the mother to the neighbor passing by the seller. This naming is spread all over Morocco. It is a rule that links young people and older people. It is a sign of respect regards the older persons. This fact shows one of the society’s expectations regards the individual that starts from childhood and continue during adolescence until...
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