A Period in Life: Adolescence

by larth1 on October 15, 2013 - 4:58pm


            The dictionary definition of adolescence is the transitional period between puberty and adulthood in human development, extending mainly over the teen years and terminating legally when the age of majority is reached; youth.  Authors, Cybele Silveira and Tilmann Habermas, go more in depth of what happens in the stage of adolescence, the social structures, and interactions that occur in the stage of adolescence. According to Silveira and Habermas, authors of, Narrative Means to Manage Responsibility in Life Narratives Across Adolescence, they discuss that the stage begins with the preadolescent’s increasing freedom to decide such things as how they look, what their hobbies are, who their friends are, and how and where they spend their time (Wiesner & Silbereisen, 1996). Two other aspects of an adolescent’s life include social cognitive development and turning points. During social cognitive development, strategic thinking develops (Larson & Hansen, 2005) and the understanding of  influence of society and the economy towards an individual’s actions begins to progress in the adolescence way of thinking (Furnham & Stacey, 1991). Turning points are a change in views toward an individual adolescent’s life. These changes can be a positive to negative change (Thomsen & Jensen, 2007), negative to positive change s (Young, Friesen, & Borycki, 1994), or even self-defining memories (Singer, 1995) which enables the individual to view their life optimistically, or pessimistically depending on the situation, and recognize possibilities for dealing with the situation at hand. Throughout each of these different aspects of adolescent’s the person becomes more mature, responsible, and aware of what is going on in the world.

            The main purpose of the article, Narrative Means to Manage Responsibility in Life Narratives Across Adolescence, is to help allow readers to better understand the development of an adolescent from dependence to adult responsibility and all of the milestones between that lead the adolescent to achieve the adult responsibility. The key question that the author is addressing is how narrative expression of responsibilitychanges in life narratives from late childhood to early adulthood (Silveira & Habermas, 2010). The most important information in this article is that through the stage of adolescent the person gains an adult identity and develops responsibility (Arnett, 1997). The main conclusions in this article is that there is shown to be an increase in social cognitive development and turning points as the person grows from an adolescent to a young adult. The key concepts we need to understand in this article is that there are three developments that contribute to the growth of adolescence. These include the gradual increase in responsibility, the development of the life story, and social-cognitive development (Silveira & Habermas, 2010). The main assumption underlying the author’s thinking is that responsibility is not present in the stage before adolescence (childhood) because children do not have the ability to control their environment in the way that adolescents do. If we take this line of reasoning seriously people may know to teach their children responsibility so that when they are becoming an adolescent they are familiar with being responsible. If we fail to take this line of reasoning seriously, the consequences are that we will believe that we do not have to teach young children responsibility but only teach responsibility when they are considered an adolescent. Additionally, people may think once someone becomes an adolescent they automatically gain the trait of being responsible. However, a person should be taught responsibility from childhood to adulthood so they can display their responsibility as they become more independent when they are growing from a teenager to a young adult. The main point of view presented in this article is that there are major changes and situations that occur in an adolescent’s life to lead them into adulthood.



De Silveira, C., & Habermas, T. (2011). Narrative Means to Manage Responsibility in Life Narratives Across Adolescence. Journal of Genetic Puschology, 172(1), 1-20.

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