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The Adolescent in Society

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1 The Adolescent in Society

2 LIFE IN SOCIETY Because adolescence is so much a part of American culture, it may surprise you that adolescence is not a universal practice. Adolescence is a invention of a modern industrial society. In some parts of the world, it simply does not exist. Peer groups are an important influence on adolescents. During their teenage years, people in our society often develop their values and personal identity.

Adolescents are caught between two worlds. They are no longer children, yet they are not adults. Adolescence- the period between the normal onset of puberty and the beginning of adulthood Puberty- the physical maturing that makes an individual capable of sexual reproduction Tattooing is an important part of puberty rites for some groups of people whose society does not have a distinct period of adolescence

In American society, adolescence is generally considered to run from the ages of The beginning and ending dates of adolescence are somewhat blurred.

Adolescence is not universal. Many young people go directly from childhood to adulthood. In the U.S. this stage did not exist prior to the Civil War. Before that time, young people were treated as small adults. Factors that created adolescent stage: Education Exclusion from work force Juvenile Justice System During the 1900s, after years of political pressure, states began to pass laws banning child labor

Puberty is universal because it is biological rather than cultural. During early adolescence, individuals often undergo spurts of growth in height and weight as well as changes in body proportions. In addition, they experience the development of sexual characteristics. During adolescence, teenagers not only develop biologically, but also experience increased decision making opportunities.

7 UNDEFINED STATUS Our society’s expectations for children and adults are quite clear. The adolescents expectations are often vague. Some adults treat them as adults, while others treat them as children.

Young children have most of their decisions made for them. Adolescents have to make many of their own decisions. What courses do I take in school? What sport should I play? What club should I join? Should I go to college? What career path should I take?

9 Extra. Act. White African American Hispanic Asian American American Indian Team Sport 30.8 32.3 25.8 28.3 30.4 Individual Sport 20.9 21.2 14.9 21.6 20.7 Cheerleading 7.4 10.6 6.7 5.1 11.9 Band 19.6 24.4 16.9 17.7 16.8 Drama Club 16.1 15.9 13.7 14.0 Student Government 15.4 16.7 14.7 14.6 14.3 Honor Society 12.5 27.2 13.6 Academic Clubs 22.6

10 INCREASED PRESSURE Adolescents are faced with pressure from many sources such as parents and peers. The greatest pressures come from peers. Teens want to be a part of the “in” group. Drugs Fashion Cars Relationships Jobs

11 THE SEARCH FOR SELF Adolescents are mature enough to think about themselves and what they want out of life. Anticipatory Socialization- learning the rights, obligations, and expectations of a role to prepare for assuming that role in the future. A part time job is one form of anticipatory socialization for an adult role. Many teens find part time work in retail stores or fast food.

12 TEENAGERS AND DATING Dating is a social behavior that is familiar to the vast majority of Americans. Dating- the meeting of people as a romantic engagement, is most commonly found in societies that allow individuals to choose their own marriage partners. Dating did not emerge as a form of social interaction between the sexes until after WWI.

13 COURTSHIP AND DATING Courtship- differs from dating in that courtship’s express purpose is eventually marriage Dating is considered a continuum. Casual Dating Steady Dating Engagement Marriage At the beginning of the 1900s, courtship was the common means by which couples met and interacted.

The rise of industrialism contributed greatly to the development of dating in the United States. The movement from agricultural jobs to industrial reduced parental control over courtship. Free public secondary education helped to pave the way for dating as well. Telephones and automobiles added to the freedom of young people. Homogamy- the tendency of individuals to marry people who have social characteristics similar to their own. The arrival of the automobile in the early 1900s greatly transformed dating by allowing young couples more independence

15 WHY DATE? Dating serves several important functions in adolescence.
Dating is a form of entertainment. It allows young people to get together to simply have fun. Dating is a mechanism for socialization. It teaches individuals about members of the opposite sex and how to behave in social situations. Today dating serves many social functions such as entertainment, socialization, companionship, and status obtainment.

16 DATING PATTERNS Traditional dating patterns can still be found in small towns and rural areas of the United States. These patterns existed mainly before 1960. Responsibility for arranging a date fell to the man. He was expected to contact his dating partner, suggest a time and place, and pay for expenses. Contemporary dating patterns focus more on the informal interactions of young people. There are no set stages of dating. Both men and women initiate dates.

Adolescence can be a turbulent and perplexing time of life. The 1980s and 1990s saw a boom in scientific research on the adolescent stage of development. Much of the research focused on the problems that teenagers face.

As with so many other social phenomena, the norms governing sexual behavior vary widely from society to society. Some small preindustrial societies promote sexual experimentation. In Western countries traditional sexual values include strict norms against it. During the 1960s and 1970s the development of birth control changed the norms governing sexual behavior.


20 We understand that the birth rate for young women increased in the 1960s due to the introduction of birth control. Why do you think that the birth rate has decreased rapidly from 1990 to 2010?

Teen pregnancy has been found to have a number of negative consequences Babies born have lower weights and are more likely to die within the first year of life than to women that are older than 20. Less likely to finish high school and college Lower lifetime earnings due to lack of education More likely to experience learning difficulties. Children of teenage parents have an increased risk of becoming teenage parents themselves Teenage mothers often face significant emotional stress.

22 TEENAGE DRUG USE A drug is any substance that changes mood, behavior, or consciousness. Drugs exist in many forms such as medicines, alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. Drug use has a long history. The Greeks smoked opium more than 3,000 years ago. Drug use can have many negative consequences for teenagers including jail time.




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