This face in the mirror stares at me demanding Who are you? What
will you become? And taunting, You don’t even know. Chastened, I cringe
and agree and then because I’m still young, I stick out my tongue.
SEARCH FOR IDENTITY
Identity as defined by Erik Erikson is a coherent conception
of the self, made up of goals, values, and beliefs to which a person is solidly committed.
A crucial concern during adolescence is the search for identity.
This “crisis” is seldom fully resolved in adolescence and crops up again and again throughout adult life. Three major issues regarding identity need to be resolve. These issues revolve around Occupation, Sexual Orientation, and Value Choices.
The choice of Occupation…What do I want to be in life.
The development of Sexuality…. Am I heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual.
The adoption of Values… Should I play by the rules or take short cuts.
Belonging to a group is very important as one seeks to develop his or her identity. (Wearing similar attire, belonging to Clubs, playing on a football or basketball team, or making the cheerleading
squad are all important.
GENDER DIFFERENCES IN IDENTITY FORMATION
Researchers differ on whether girls and boys take different paths to identity formation.
Some research suggests that males are not capable of real intimacy until after he has achieved a stable
Women on the other
hand, define themselves through
marriage and motherhood. Consequently, women, (unlike
men) develop identity through intimacy, not before it.
Ethnicity is an important part of identity, especially among minority adolescence. (Are you black enough,
are you too black etc.).
Members of different ethnic groups found different issues critical in identity formation. Example
conscious of prejudices against them as a their group
with peep pressure for academic achievement
African American Girls…
Struggle with meeting white standards of beauty
African American Boys…
Struggle with job discrimination, and negative social image of black males.
Today many young people develop a patchwork of self (a self put together from borrowed, often conflicting, bits and pieces of what others think you should be) that is highly vulnerable to
stress and outside influences. (Self actualization concept would be appropriate here). Maslow ?
ROLE MODELS AND IDENTITY
Role Models are extremely
important in developing ones identify. Individuals need someone to look up to,
to emulate, to strive to be like. What role models did you have growing up?
Growing up in Southeastern Oklahoma, I only had Teachers and Preachers to look up to as role models.
Sports figures, such as Jackie Robinson, and Willie Mays were idols for me as a young black kid. Unfortunately, I never dreamed of being a Doctor, Lawyer or Engineer. I had no role models in these professions, consequently, a career in such professions were out of the preview
of my imagination.
What Role models do young people have today? Do
you feel that this is an issue with the direction young people are going in today?
Whether one becomes Heterosexual, Homosexual, or Bisexual appears to be influences by interaction
of biological and environmental factors, and may be to some extent partly genetic.
Sexual attitudes and behavior are more liberal than in the past. There
is greater acceptance of premarital sexual activity and homosexuality, and there has been a decline in the double standard.
What is your opinion concerning same sex marriages?
SEXUAL RISK TAKING
Where do most Teenagers
get Information about Sex? Unfortunately, nearly 4 out of 10 teenagers get their
sex education from the media, which presents a distorted view of sexual activity. It
rarely reveals the danger of
Unprotected sex and its consequence.
Teenage sexual activity involves risks of pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.
Adolescents at greatest risk are those who begin sexual activity early, have multiple partners, do not use contraceptives,
and are ill-informed about sex.
Why do some adolescents become sexually active
at an early age?
Early entrance into
Poor school performance
Lack of academic
and career goals
History of social abuse and parental neglect
of early sexual experience
that each of these factors may play a part in early engagement in early sexual activity. (page 434 Table 12-3 text).
SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES
STDs rates in the
United States are among the highest in the industrialized world (1 out 4). And
1 in 3 cases occur among adolescence. WHY?
Failure to use protection regularly or correctly
Tendency for women to have sex with older partners
The most commonly sexually transmitted diseases are Papilloma, Herpes, and Gonorrhea.
An estimated 25% of young people may develop a STD before High School graduation.
STDs have become far
more prevalent since the 1960s. One out of three cases occurs among adolescents. STDs are more likely to develop undetected in women than in men, and in adolescents
as compared to adults (See table 12-4, page 438, Common Sexually
TEENAGE PREGNANCY AND CHILDBEARING
More than 10% of all U.S. births are to teenagers, most of them outside of marriage.
Although the teenage
birthrate in the U.S. dropped dramatically during the 1990s, they remain many times higher than other countries where sexual
activity begins just as early.
Teenage birth rates in the U.S. are five times higher than Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy,
the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. WHY?
Experts disagree as to the exact reasons but contributing factors are:
Reduced stigma on unwed mothers
Media glorification of sex
Lack of clear message that sex and parenthood are for adults.
Failure of parents to communicate with children
RELATIONSHIP WITH FAMILY, PEERS, AND ADULT SOCIETY
Age become a powerful bonding agent in adolescence. Adolescents spend more time with peers and less with family.
The teenage years has been called a time of “adolescence rebellion” by psychologist
like G. Stanley Hall. According to Hall, emotional turmoil, conflict within the
family and alienation from adult society, rejection of adult values can be expected.
However, Margaret Mead
continues that when a culture provide a gradual, serene transition
from childhood to adulthood, storm, stress and rebellion is not typical.
Most theorist agree that adolescence can be a difficult time, and family
conflict, depression, and risky behavior are more common during this period than any other part of the life span.
Many adolescents feel self-conscious, embarrassed, awkward, lonely,
nervous, or ignored (Larsen, & Richards, 1994).
Negative emotionality and mood swings are most intense during early
adolescence, perhaps due to the stressful events connected with puberty.
Recognizing that adolescence may be a difficult time can help parents
and teachers put troubling behavior in perspective.
If you can remember, what kinds of issues caused the most conflict in
your family when you were a teenager? Or perhaps you have kids, what are some
major issues with your children.
How are these issues resolved?
If you lived with both parents, were your conflicts more with one parent than with the other. Do you or did your mother and father handle such issues similarly or differently?
What influences young people to engage in – or refrain from – violence or antisocial acts?
Parents often worry
about a teenager’s “falling in with the wrong crowd”, but actually, parental upbringing influences the choice
of peer groups and friends.
Young people generally gravitate to others brought up like themselves, who are similar in school achievement,
adjustment, and pro-social or anti-social tendencies.
As we look at delinquency, keep in mind that most adolescents occasionally commit anti-social acts.
Most acts are not serious and general occur as a result of peer pressure and dares.
However, it’s the chronic offenders that are responsible for extreme acts of violence such as
the Columbine High School event. If you recall, two students entered the school
with semi automatic pistols, rifles, two saw-off shotguns and more than 30 homemade bombs.
They killed twelve students and a teacher. What causes such chronic delinquencies?
Researchers suggests chronic delinquent behavior is associated with multiple interacting risk factors that can
be in part attributed to:
(a) Ineffective Parenting
(b) School Failure
(c) Peer Influences or Pressure
(d) Low Socioeconomic Status
Most juvenile delinquents grow up to be law-abiding citizens.
Since juvenile delinquency has roots early in childhood, so must preventive efforts.
Programs that attack, at an early age, risk factors such as those listed above have had much success.