Adulthood - When responsibilities set in

  • By Team TDO

When you attain 20 years of age, you certainly feel like you are into a very different sphere. No more are you a teenager. However, you suddenly cannot develop into a responsible adult. According to psychologist, Jeffrey Arnett, despite the cultural and ethnic differences, young people in the age group of 18 to 29 have almost similar problems with their lives. In a survey carried out on 300 young people, it was found that the response from the young people to similar questions was almost similar. The answers showed that the younger generation is trying to pull off from the struggle of being adolescents and striving hard to convert themselves into responsible adults. These young people were still very much attached to their roots - family and parents.

Emerging Adulthood
Another surprising factor that was revealed during the study was that these youngsters were still struggling with their problem of personal identity, although it is generally considered that the identity crisis is over once you come to the end of your adolescence. After studying these patterns of thoughts and development crisis, Arnett came up with another period of settlement or development in the lives of the youngsters - ‘emerging adulthood.’ Arnett who is a psychology professor at Clark University describes emerging adulthood as the time where the teenage or the adolescence ends and the young and newly adult person starts gearing up to take the duties of a job, marriage, and finally, parenthood.

The Metamorphosis Problem
Much before the start of this emerging adulthood, children already start getting ready for adulthood as early as from the age of nine. The in-between stage is a notorious period that often leads to some unpleasant difficulties and can also affect the relationship and bonding between the children and the parents. Unlike the metamorphosis of a caterpillar that changes into a beautiful butterfly, some changes that come in the life of a teenager are difficult to handle and they can be stressful.

Apart from the changes,both external and internal; for example, the boys start growing beard or the girls start getting menses (biological changes), several psychological changes also occur during this stage. Just as a child loses his/her sense of identity when he/she becomes a teenager, similarly, as they enter adulthood, they face a similar identity crisis.The new adult tries to look back upon the teenage days and wishes for the warmth of the cocoon that their parents had given them. However, they continue to fight with the uncomfortable situation, and hence, sometimes there is an exchange of negative emotions between the parents, friends, or even strangers. This is the time the parents should give complete protection to this new person who now suddenly feels burdened with the new responsibilities of being an adult, but also is enchanted at the thought of getting liberty (like staying out late). Out of confusion, suddenly he can react violently or rebel against something or raise doubts and start arguing over some delicate issues. These are the effects of the metamorphosis period and the parents need to give the newly developed adult time to get over this transformation. Rather than taking these emotional outbursts negatively, the parents should instead wait for the youngster to cool down and then make him/her understand the problem in their behavior. With positive support from both parents and friends, these emerging adults finally manage to come to terms with their new responsibilities and develop into a responsible being.

Although the shift from teenage to adulthood is not easy, the good news is that it lasts only for a few years, and with consistency and continuity, parents can imbibe discipline and value in their children.