Social Challenges in Adolescence
Another major challenge an adolescent faces is the need to find their place in society and to achieve a sense of appropriate position in that place. This is a process of socialization and it involves an adolescent’s incorporation with society.Usually this process occurs at the same time as the search for personal identity. In fact, the socialization process and the search for personal identity are strongly interrelated and interdependent.
Socialization enhances the sense of personal identity, and the development of personal
identity helps the adolescent to deal with society’s expectations and standards. The wider society, parents, family and peer groups all have expectations regarding the adolescent that are based on the suitable postulation that the adolescent is now becoming capable of performing differently.These combined expectations with newly acquired psychological and cognitive changes, challenge the adolescent to make changes in social behavior.
In certain communities where adults show constant beliefs,values,morals and outlooks, adolescents tend to mature a positive sense of self (Ianni, 1989). In contrast, in communities where family, school and community fail to offer constant trend and constructive goals, adolescents point towards unwanted behaviors, tend to become more disordered and suspicious.Society’s expectations pose a challenge for adolescents and are valuable in helping them to progress along the path to adulthood sense of self.
The adolescent can only construct a personal identity in the context of relationships with others it involves respecting and responding properly to their beliefs. Society in general has expectations about how adolescents should behave and these will often conflict with adolescent expectations. Hence, the adolescent’s need to achieve individuation which produces a conflict challenge for they oung person whois already struggling for personal identity and at the same time, discovering new ways of squeezing into society.
Many of the tasks of adolescence involve strong social expectations. Havighurst (1951) believed that the mastery of the nine developmental tasks listed below were critical to adaptive adolescent adjustment:
1. Accepting one’s physique and sexual role.
2. Establishing new peer associations with both sexes.
3. Achieving emotional autonomy of parents.
4. Selecting and preparing for a job.
5. Developing rational skills and perceptions indispensable for civic expertise.
6. Achieving assurance of economic independence.
7. Acquiring socially responsible behavior patterns.
8. Preparing for marriage and family life.
9. Building conscious values that are harmonious with one’s environment.
Changes in the Body Image
Due to rapid physiological changes taking place in an adolescent, a consciousness and increased interest about one’s own body develops.The body image can bring a sense of fun, pride, shyness or even unhappiness. Those who develop a good physique will appreciate themselves and sometimes they can become very proud and ignore those who have not developed the same. Meanwhile those adolescents who do not reach that positive kind of grow than physical outlook will have difficulty in accepting themselves as they are.They will begin to compare them selves with others and will have very low self-image.
When the children grow through adolescence, many parents become anxious, and at times upset, by behaviors which are normal for adolescents.Most parents do not knowwhat is normal and realistic with regard to their expectations of their adolescent.
Rutter (1995) argues that the parents’ response may create negative feelings and throwthe adolescent into anti-social behavior . Steinberg’s (1990) hypothesis is that when children reach puberty the combination of the adolescent phase of development and the behaviour and emotions of parents produces tremendous changes in the parents, with parents becoming increasingly distressed.
This may often be accompanied by a decline in marital satisfaction, regret for missed childhood opportunities, recognition of the ageing process,emotional rejection and isolation from an independent adolescent, in creasing criticism from challenging teenagers,decline in respect for previously accepted authority and guidance, powerlessness, loss of youthful appearance and doubt about their own sexuality.Adolescents need to with draw because becoming independent is central to their role.But this does lead to many parents feeling disheartened and deserting the mat a time when they need special care and attention because of the transitions they are making.
Even when there are strains in family life, the family rests one of the most real vehicles for upholding values in adolescence, aiding adolescents to be prosperous at school and to have confidence in peer relationships.Thus an important challenge for adolescents is to retain constructive relations with their parents while succeeding their developmental goals, one of which is to separate and isolate from their parents.Clearly, this is hard to achieve.However, because adolescents are seeking independence they are more likely to talk to parents at a time which suits them rather than responding to parental enquirers at other times.
Adolescents believe that their major challenges revolve around relationship issues with peers and others and performance issues within society, school or college . School pressures have been identified by young adolescents as being the most problematic,whereas for adolescents of 14 years and older, parent–adolescent conflicts were identified as being the most problematic.Along with forming close relationships and friendships,most adolescents are interested in belonging to a group whose members share common attitudes and interests.They tend to be biased of rude acts,moodiness and stubbornness, conceit/arrogance, drinking and so on.