Comingof Age – Adolescence and Identity
Coming of Age Interview Adolescence and Identity Life is a series of lessons and challenges which help us to grow.According to Erik Erickson, the better that people come through each crisis, the better they will tend to deal with what lies ahead.People experience the most lessons during their childhood when they are Just learning of how the world operates.
Children and young adults handle situations very differently because their thought processes are different depending on their experiences.
Of course lessons can be revisited successfully when they reoccur as adults, if they are recognized as a problem. This essay is a good example of how two people raised in different environments felt like they became adults. I chose to use myself as one example and a co-worker to compare to. The interviewee is a 23 year old male named Michael. Michael was raised by his mother and father in Texas. His father was in the Marines and their family moved a lot. He said that his father was hard on him to always be manly and tough and he was physical with him for punishment.
His parent’s eventually divorced and Michael started to do his own thing with his friends in Texas while staying at his moms. He said that because he moved a lot growing up he was okay with having his things scattered about and staying with different people. It seemed like he did not have much stability after graduating High School. He waited two years after High School before he realized that he needed to do something with his life. It was a shock to him that life was nothing like High School. He stated, “l was the popular one in High School and I had a lot of friends. After we graduated they all did things and I stayed and was bored.
I decided to Join the Marines like my dad. ” Michael ended up in the Army instead which is how he became my co-worker. Now, Michael is newly married and takes care of a one year old girl. He has his own apartment and is the only one who brings home the income. He said that he felt he came of age when he joined the military and realized that life wasn’t like High School. He rebelled to community expectations for the longest time until he realized that it made life more difficult and he needed money to get anywhere. He said that he used to Just care about partying and hanging out with friends but now his interests are in his family and career.
He is comfortable with his adult identity but he realizes that he picked up some anger issues from his father and that can cause strain in his marriage as it did with his parent’s. Like Erikson suggests, depending on how you dealt with things in adolescence it can reflect the way you do in adulthood. My development was different in that I was not necessarily raised by my parent’s at all. I grew up in Northern Wisconsin and only moved around in the same three owns. My mother suffers from Schizophrenia and my father is also an alcoholic who had violent tendencies.
I felt that I was an adult at the young age of 13. I was completely self-sufficient and got a Job right away at the age of 14. I knew what I had to do to succeed Just by going off what my parent’s were lacking in. I told myself that I mental illness and we grew up with little to no income. I lived with my younger brother Taylor up until he was taken from the home at age 4. Instead of being very popular and focused on the High School life like Michael, I was focusing on my grades ND Job so that I could graduate early and attend college. I graduated a half a year ahead of my class and started college right away.
I never imagined not having a Job. It became hard for me to afford college on my own so I Joined the Army. Michael joined the Army as a sort of last resort to kick his life into gear. One thing that I know was similar; whether it had correlation or not, is that we both had alcoholic fathers. I did many successful things as a youth but that’s not to say that I didn’t get into the drinking and drug scene myself. My father’s influence showed me that it was okay to rink and it looked like that is what adults do. I was acting like an adult with work and school so I also started to drink at age 13.
Michael also started to drink at a young age with no question as to what right or wrong was. I think this shows that parental influence is a large factor in shaping your own values and coming of age. According to Erikson, “Surrounded by mighty disapproval the child’s original state of naive self-love is said to be compromised. He looks for models by which to measure himself, and seeks happiness in trying to resemble them. Where he succeeds he achieves self-esteem… ” (Erickson 1980. As seen by the example above, the role models Michael and I have both affected us but in different ways.
I chose to do the opposite of my parent’s because I saw the mistakes they made. Michael chose to follow the career path of his father because he saw it support the family. “The growing child must derive a vitiating sense of reality from the awareness that his individual way of mastering experience is a successful variant in a group identity and is in accord with its space-time and life plan. ” (Erickson 1980. ) It is shown that each child has their own perspective of reality and adulthood which comes about through positive and negative experiences in childhood and adolescence.
Erickson theory is useful in that it reminds us to look back and wonder where a person’s actions and way of life derived from. It is important to remember that in order to fix any problems and make changes in adulthood. It is silly to think that we Just woke up one day with anger problems or low self-esteem. Everything came from somewhere and finding the source makes it easier to handle. References Erikson, E. H. (1980). Ego Development and Historical Change. Identity and the life cycle (up. 17-50). New York: Norton.