Teenagehood and adolescence
Topic 1 (2po3)
Teenagehood and adolescence mark a period of transition from childhood to adulthood within the society. The developmental process is highly influenced by what is popular, commonly manifested through peer pressure and social pressure from those around the adolescent. The transition process has been different over the decades due to the rapid transformation of the social structure. Today, integration of many cultures coupled with several forms of social liberty has allowed adolescents to forge their paths to adulthood. Adolescents are able to select friends, careers, fashion, music, among other dynamics that define an individual without any form of coercion, but simply because of popularity and peer influence.
Teenage popular culture has influenced adolescents in many ways (Santrock 34). The process of self-definition requires people to determine their tastes and preferences. There is a particular rise of self-consciousness that requires adolescents to form a personal image to those around him or her. The media has been at the cornerstone of selling the idea of popular culture and influences to the adolescents. Representatives of pop culture are mostly artists and actors, who will influence a large part of adolescents’ choices, ranging from fashion trends to characteristic behaviors. With pop culture, adolescents will be able to follow trends that can be either beneficial or hazardous to them.
For instance, during the 90s when smoking was considered ‘cool,’ more teenagers were reported to smoke than ever before, even though this was a poor reflection of health choice. Therefore, teenage choices based on popular culture can be either constructive or destructive. Within the social sphere, teenagers are therefore able to conform or rebel against the societal norms stipulated within the community. Rebellion can result from the desire to be unique from the rest of the people. In this case, adolescents may wish to show this to the society by breaking rules, dressing differently or listening to music that is not considered mainstream, even though these choices may not be their particular preferences.
On the other hand, adolescents who feel like they are out of place may attempt to conform to popular culture through succumbing to peer pressure, whether positive or negative (World Youth Report 12). The process of transition can also be a confusing path for adolescents. Ideologies formed are most likely to be baseless and from lack of life experiences. For instance, the love stories often show love at first sight, where people meet and get married within a very short period. However, after normal life experiences, they are able to change their ideals as they slowly learn that love is a unique process for each couple.
The transition can also be marked by a ‘right now” attitude, where teenagers are more interested in the present activities more than what implications these so called have for the future. For instance, in the case of smoking, teenagers may decide to smoke cigarettes to conform to a certain socially accepted norm, with no regards to their future health and addiction risks. Scientists, however, believe that even as adolescents are highly influenced by outside pressures, parents and guardians will be likely to provide a solid foundation in which these young people will achieve stability in the confusing process of transition. Effective communication and sharing of experiences between an adult and the adolescent will enhance the transition process to increase the probability of more positive outcomes in the future.
Santrock, John W. Adolescence. Dubuque, IA: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015. Print.
World Youth Report, 2005: Young People Today and in 2015. New York: United Nations Dept. of Economic and Social Affairs, 2005. Print.
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