The passage of adolescence in the modern social environment
Counselor interviewing a young, rebellious girl in his office

The passage of adolescence in the modern social environment

Adolescence has always been a very important phase in a person’s life characterized by intense concerns and controversy. The physical and psychological changes that this period entails lead the teenager to a redefinition of his relationships with parents and peers.

Erikson mentions the main characteristic of puberty as the risk of confusing roles and doubts about sexual and professional identity. However, it is particularly important for a safe passage of adolescence to be successfully completed in the earlier stages of development. For a successful “passage” of developmental stages to adolescence the most important part is the parents, who should develop a safe relationship with the child in order to help it become independent. For example, a young person who had been abused by the parent (unsafe relationship) would probably find it more difficult to process “teenage” conflicts because of his mistrust of having secure relationships with his or her peers. Instead, a child who has been unconditionally accepted by his / her parents (safe relationship) will easily enter into social relationships and appreciate the help that others provide.

Of course, the passing of puberty can not be independent of the social environment. As a social environment we mean, not only the conditions prevailing in society but also the role of parents, who in their opinions and behavior “communicate” to the teenagers the dominant cultural values. The period of puberty as a critical period in itself, we consider to be more critical in the modern social environment. Now, the teen’s doubts about sexuality and especially about his professional identity are more intense, since they are not just an inner feature, a predominant feature of teenage thinking, but an external reality in society. The unfavorable conditions prevailing in society (unemployment, poverty, etc.), the fast pace of life and the confusion of adults about moral values ​​are seen as a not so clear threat to the teenager, which adds to the already many concerns he’s got.

The adolescent’s reaction to the intense internal struggles that run him is now even more intense. Usually, it will turn to groups of peers “ideologizing” the need to be accepted and experience emotions (eg groupsemo), either he will be isolated by adopting roles in games through himInternet, able, without censorship, to find an identity there. Adopting one or the other practice depends largely on the ways it has learned to relate the individual to earlier stages of his or her development. Also, many parents often complain about the behavior of their children, who, as they think, are indifferent to their future. This confirms the tendency of teenagers to question parents and force them to move away emotionally from their family. We see, therefore, that, in addition to the objectively unfavorable conditions of the modern social environment that teenagers have to deal with, parents often misunderstand that the “indifference” of their children is a logical response to a threatening external environment and not an internal feature.

The conditions prevailing in the modern social environment and the way in which parents perceive their impact on their children’s behavior would say that they have a decisive effect on how well and less painfully young people will pass the stage of puberty.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Kostas G. Manos, “Adolescent Psychology”, Gregory Publishing, Athens 1999Sadock, B., & Sadock, A. “Clinical Psychiatry Manual”, Paris Publications, Athens 2004Kaplan & Sadock’s, Psychiatry, Medical Publications of Litsas, Athens

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