Culture and adolescence

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Adolescence is the process of developing from childhood to adulthood. Girls and boys undergo this process and the bond that adolescents have with their families, friends, and people within their social cycle affects the development process. During the development process, adolescents tend to withdraw from their parents and closer to their peers. The time is characterized by pressure and conflict between parents and children (Arnett, 2010). Peers provide an opportunity for members to enhance social skills although they can have also detrimental effects. Adolescence experiences are not the same for males and females due to several factors that each gender faces. Factors such as culture and economic affect the development process.

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There are some features of development that are based on culture than the human biology. Culture is a passed on from generations, and it affects one’s life. How people behave, talk and think is rooted in culture. Other distinguishing features such as employment, dress code, and language are also influenced by culture. Features that shape the stages of adolescence differ across culture. For example, the level to which adolescent is considered autonomous differs across cultures. Behaviors of Adolescents are influenced by cultural affiliations. Cultures have different beliefs, norms, and values and these influences one’s behavior. The conduct of an adolescent in a culture is molded by roles and responsibilities that he/she is expected to assume. The degree to which an adolescent is supposed to share duties is a determinant in normative adolescent tendency (Bingham, 2014).  In some cultures, adolescents are given responsibilities that they are required to meet, and failure to do so have serious consequences. Some adolescents come from households with few chores and responsibilities. Certain cultures do not assign adolescents work and give them a chance to rest. The differences in work distribution by families are affected by socioeconomic backgrounds that are formed by cultural beliefs, and norms.

Some cultures expect adolescences to engage be interact with their peers. Boys are encouraged to relate with boys and girls to interact with girls. They argue that this is meant keep both genders from engaging in inappropriate activities. Other cultures are accommodating and encourage males and females to interact and learn more about each other. Different cultures have different expectations from adolescence.  The period is important in a child’s life as it marks the transition into adulthood. Economic backgrounds also affect beliefs that people hold. People from affluent societies do not have a lot of requirements like those from moderate families.

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Gender plays an important role in adolescence, and several studies have been conducted to examine its contributions.  Studies have spotted differences I cognitive skills and personal characteristics. Gender difference during adolescence is evident in cognitive skills, with disparities being evident in language, and words were spoken. Girls produce words earlier than boys; possess large vocabulary with language complexity. Other differences between males and females are small (Lanni, 2010). It is said that boys are better than girls in science subjects, but abilities of a student are affected by age and skills. Gender differences supporting male’s adolescence and continue through high school years. Boys have been scoring higher than girls in mathematics since the 1970s although the margin reduced during 1980s.

Western cultures stereotypes show males as being more aggressive and outgoing, while females are helpful, and emotional. Boys are more active and aggressive than girls from birth, play rough games, and participate in outdoor games. Females perform well in activities that require flexibility. The differences increase with age as both genders explore other ventures. Boys demonstrate physical aggression while young than girls. Boys also show a high degree of assertiveness than girls from a young age. Gender affects how boys and girls behave during adolescence. Adolescences are the time when girls experience low self-esteem than their counterparts. Girls want to look in a certain way and do everything to become what they want (Brown, 2013).  This stage is dangerous since some girls do extreme things to feel good about them and feel loved. Boys, on the other hand, feel more confident during this stage and put pressure on themselves to become better. Girls also tend to become closer to their peers than boys. Friendship is characterized by self-disclosure and validation. Boys, on the other hand, engage in risky activities, and healthy competition.  The level of aggression from boys results in higher rates of school dropouts among boys.

Some cultures expect boys to assume their responsibility of providing for the family once they reach adolescence stage. In such situations, many boys drop out of schools to take new roles in the family. Other cultures consider girls mature to get married and take care of their families. The roles of each gender are determined by cultural values and norms. In other places, girls and boys are considered important people in the society once they reach the development stage.

Children’s performance varies during adolescence. For example, children raised in Japan, Korea, and China performs better in their studies than children in other countries. Different factors like the value of education, malnutrition, and poverty affect levels of education across cultures. Adolescence who knows the importance of education is less likely to drop out of education like their peers. Adolescents are closer to their peers than their parents, and this can have a negative effect. If a child is surrounded by peers who do not add value to their lives and is a school dropout, the child is likely to do the same things.

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  1. Arnett, J. J. (2010). Are college students adults? Their conceptions of the transition to adulthood. Journal of Adult Development, 1, 213-224.
  2. Bingham, C. R., Crockett, L. J.Stemmler, M., & Petersen, A. C. (2014). Community-contextual differences in adolescents’ expectations for the timing of adulthood transitions. Unpublished manuscript.
  3. Brown, B. B., Mounts, N., Lamborn, S. D., & Steinberg, L. (2013). Parenting practices and peer group affiliation in adolescence. Child Development, 64, 467-482.
  4. Ianni, F. A. J. (2010). The search for structure: A report on American youth today. New York: Free Press.
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