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The Perspectives of Adolescence: Examining the Insights From Two Generations

Summary

The period of adolescence is a highly significant timeframe for individual growth. As the person transitions into adulthood, the experiences and ideas obtained during the younger years can greatly impact future emotional and psychological development. Reflecting on adolescent memories is a crucial part of future growth, and it is essential for any individual to be able to examine the events encountered and insights gained (Sawyer et al., 2018). In this regard, different perspectives on the teenage years can be especially valuable for reminiscing on the past and assessing its value for the subsequent establishment of one’s personality. The current paper analyzes two interviews conducted with individuals 28 and 18 years, outlining the main differences and similarities between the interviewees’ perspectives and comparing their insights with personal experience.

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The Interviewees’ Viewpoints: Main Contrasts and Similarities

Similar Tendencies

The most distinguishable idea evident in the responses of both participants is the necessity to direct the teenagers’ attention toward working. Both adult and adolescent interviewees agree that teenagers should be prepared for the working environment, using the available time to develop their professional and personal capabilities. For instance, the male respondent responds positively to the question that teens should spend more time in school, stating that this institution trains them for professional development. In addition, the male also agrees that adolescents should work for money, which, in the long term, helps them to adjust to the working conditions. Similarly, the female respondent agrees that teenagers should work to obtain items or opportunities they desire, as everything in life must be earned.

Another corresponding attribute of the adult and adolescent perspectives regards military preparation and the accessibility of birth control. Both interviewees claim that engaging in military service before going to college should not be required, allowing young individuals to make this choice by themselves. After that, both participants also suggest that birth control should be easily available for teenagers. While the male respondent justifies this proposition using the increased rates of adolescent pregnancies and the importance of protection, the female argues that teens are usually aware if birth control is needed. Thus, she relies on the young generation’s reasoning in the use of products preventing pregnancy.

Finally, the last idea that both of the participants agree on is the difference between the opportunities available for the previous generation during their adolescent years and the current teenage population. Both male and female interviewees suppose that it was significantly more challenging for teens to develop in the past, as they were required to fulfill a wider range of responsibilities. As such, the adult participant explains that he had to fulfill his role as the man of the house, meaning that a significant amount of duties were delegated to him. However, he also suggests that, in the contemporary age, teenagers are not forced to work or account for everyday expenses, which makes it easier for them to enjoy life. A similar idea is presented by the female interviewee, who incorporates her parents’ reflections on adolescent years, proposing that adolescence is easier for modern teens due to a decreased number of requirements given to them.

Primary Contrasts

Although the participants appear to concur on a number of points related to adolescence, significant differences are evident in the comparison of their perspectives. The most considerable distinction between the two viewpoints is the control of the teenagers’ activities, the notion which is supported by the male respondent but is discarded by the female interviewee. For instance, the majority of the male responses seem to support the argument that adolescents are highly likely to make poor choices and engage in questionable acts. Following this evidence, it becomes necessary to introduce the requirements that would hinder such occurrences. On the questions regarding school time, volunteer community service, time-wasting, and driving, the participant argues that teens frequently behave recklessly, and the limitations from educational facilities might be beneficial for preventing such acts. From his perspective, teenagers who were involved in extracurricular activities more often refrained from participating in questionable acts than those who remained uninvolved. Therefore, it could be suggested that the idea of controlling teenagers’ behavior is especially prominent in the male respondent’s viewpoint.

In contrast, the female interviewee supports the notion that adolescents should be allowed to make personal choices regarding working and participating in volunteer endeavors, thus developing in the areas that correspond with their preferences. Although the participant suggests that it is essential to strongly encourage adolescents to become involved in community services and volunteer activities, she also insists that the final decision should always be made by the teenagers. In addition, compared to the male individual’s perspective, the female interviewee proposes that adolescents are generally more responsible, and the majority of them are careless drivers under the influence of alcohol. Therefore, the concept of respecting personal desires and delegating freedom of choice to teenagers is significantly more evident in the adolescent respondent’s perspective.

The Personal Outlook on Adolescence

My ideas regarding the freedom of choice for the representatives of this age are similar to the views manifested by the teenage interviewee. Although young individuals might indeed be irresponsible or reckless, engaging in dangerous or troublesome activities, I believe that such negative tendencies might be exaggerated. As such, I agree that adolescents should be offered an opportunity to freely make their choices regarding military service, volunteer work, and their future professional path. Delegating these duties to teenagers promotes a sense of responsibility and allows them to establish personal independence, the two factors that develop during these life periods (Stangor & Walinga, 2019). In this regard, teenagers’ free time should not be devoted to specific activities as a means of preventing deviancy.

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Following this idea, I disagree with the proposition made by the male respondent, who suggests that extracurricular involvement is beneficial for preventing undesirable behavior. Even though young individuals participating in additional academic activities are indeed more likely to avoid troublesome experiences, they are also more likely to become overwhelmed and excluded from other social gatherings (Sauerwein et al., 2016). The capability to socialize with peers and be involved in activities outside of school is crucial for positive personal development as well as for learning about the real-life environment (Sauerwein et al., 2016). In this regard, I believe that adolescents should be given a choice between extracurricular options and socializing, hobbies, volunteering, and other possible activities.

Furthermore, from my perspective, it is vital to direct more attention toward teenage pregnancies and the young generation’s awareness regarding birth control possibilities. To clarify my position, I agree that adolescents should be offered birth control, but I also disagree with the female respondent’s suggestion that teens can decide if it is needed for themselves. The rate of teenage pregnancies and the lack of knowledge in the area of sexual activity is a prominent issue in numerous countries; contemporary evidence shows that control measures are needed to prevent further developments (Caffe et al., 2017). Therefore, as not all adolescents might be aware of birth control’s necessity and potential complications, it is essential to introduce additional educational measures in addition to free access to pregnancy prevention products.

Overall, it was especially exciting for me to conduct and analyze the interviews, as I have significantly broadened my understanding of adult and adolescent perspectives on teenage years. For example, I was surprised to learn that the male respondents had a predominantly negative outlook on adolescents’ involvement in criminal activities and alcohol consumption. Considering that the interviewee is only 28 years old, I was expecting a more positive perspective on teenage behavior. Nonetheless, I believe that there were some major generational differences in the participants’ adolescent experiences, especially with the male individual having to grow up in a single-family household. In this regard, it seems that the adult respondent’s impression of his teenage years was more negative, impacted by substantial responsibility, while the female interviewee’s reflections were more positive.

In my own experience, adolescence can be both demanding and exciting, depending on the surrounding environment and one’s personal growth. As such, I think that my experiences are connected to the impressions of both participants. For instance, in high school, I was tasked with a multitude of responsibilities that required consistent learning and practice, which I had to manage along with my school assignments and family duties. However, in the earlier adolescent years, my experiences were very positive, as I did not have many obligations and felt that it was the best time of my life. Therefore, my overall impression of adolescence is twofold, incorporating the thoughts reflected by adult and teenage respondents. This reflection confirms the knowledge I learned during this course, which suggests that adolescence is a complicated time that includes both significant challenges and positive emotions and is interpreted uniquely by each individual.

References

Caffe, S., Plesons, M., Camacho, A. V., Brumana, L., Abdool, S. N., Huaynoca, S., Mayall, K., Menard-Freeman, L., de Francisco Serpa, L. A., Gomez Ponce de Leon, R., & Chandra-Mouli, V. (2017). Looking back and moving forward: Can we accelerate progress on adolescent pregnancy in the Americas? Reproductive Health, 14(1). Web.

Sauerwein, M., Theis, D., & Fischer, N. (2016). How youths’ profiles of extracurricular and leisure activity affect their social development and academic achievement. International Journal for Research on Extended Education, 4(1), 103–124. Web.

Sawyer, S. M., Azzopardi, P. S., Wickremarathne, D., & Patton, G. C. (2018). The age of adolescence. The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, 2(3), 223–228. Web.

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Stangor, C., & Walinga, J. (2019). Introduction to psychology: 1st Canadian edition. B.C. Open Textbook Project.

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StudyCorgi. "The Perspectives of Adolescence: Examining the Insights From Two Generations." November 17, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-perspectives-of-adolescence-examining-the-insights-from-two-generations/.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Perspectives of Adolescence: Examining the Insights From Two Generations." November 17, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-perspectives-of-adolescence-examining-the-insights-from-two-generations/.

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