Running Head: Role of Adolescence in USA and Russia
Adolescence is a stage in life where a person is going through a transition. It is a period when one is identifying him or herself as a young adult. It is has been described as a period when a young person is going through an identity crisis. This is the time when an adolescent center on the exploration of the self and the place he or she would like to occupy in the social world. They are entangled in a process where they create their own identity and at the same time doing away with those values and behaviors that do not seem congruent with the type of picture they would like to portray in the society. If this period is not handled carefully an adolescent can end up in the wrong places impacting negatively through out the lives. The environment in which an adolescent experience determines the kind of an adult he or she will end up. Different societies have different expectations for this group of young people. There are societies where they are left to choose their destiny with minimal guidance from the adults whereas in other societies their destiny is determined by the older adults who guide and dictate every step they take in their lives. (Lerner, J, Lerner, R and Finkstein, J 2001)
Adolescents at this time start to judge themselves against the beliefs and standards subscribed by the society in which they live in. They start to make independent assessments and choices on whom they are, what they would like to be and how they would like to act in the world in which they live. As they grow up teenagers have particular roles and responsibilities which they play in the society.
Adolescents in America and Russia have common and at the same time different roles to play in their society. The two societies exhibit similar characteristics as far as their expectations of these young people are concerned. Adolescents have the responsibility of obeying their parents and the adult population in general. This requirement cuts across all the societies. They are supposed to be supportive and cooperative to their families at this crucial stage in their lives. In some situations they are bestowed with a responsibility of taking care of their families. This has been a common practice in both Russia and United states especially in families where parents are unable to earn enough .The adolescents are forced to take up jobs to take care of themselves as well as their families. They combine the education and work where they sacrifice their time to play a role which was traditionally reserved for adults.
On the same note there contrasting roles played by the teenagers in these two societies. The economic and social situation in any society dictates the role played by the adolescents. In America these young people are expected to get their own education so that they can be responsible people in the society. They are expected to attain the basic education which will basically enable them to grasp the basic ideals of the society and what it has to offer. Education beyond this level is highly regarded as it gives an adolescent a better chance to give back to the society. Like wise the adolescents in Russia are expected to go through an education system which makes them responsible and useful adults in the society. It is somehow compulsory for any child in this country to attain this level of education. (Alasker, F Flammer, A and Bodner, N 1999)
One of the contrasting characteristics of adolescents in the two nations is the involvement in politics. Though the young people in the two countries have not reached the voting age there exists a wide difference regarding their direct involvement and shaping the destiny of their contries.America represents an open society, where people and citizens at large enjoy more freedom than their counterparts in Russia. This is also reflected in the earlier life as a citizen of this nation. American teenagers engage freely in political life through volunteerism and other forms participation. This gives them a real taste of what to expect later in their lives. On the other hand political participation of the adolescents in Russia is minimal, this limits their participation in civil issues and hence their role as far as politics is concerned is limited to mere observers as opposed to active participation enjoyed by their counterparts in America.
The ideals and values of socialism are still dominant in Russia despite the collapse of Soviet Union more than a decade ago. The values of this system continue to be instilled to the young people in this country. One of the much valued elements is collectivism. Each and every individual is expected to embrace this value. Russian adolescents spend a better part of their time in group activities, collectivism is an important element in their lives where it is seen as a determinant of the success as far as their future personal and work lives are concerned. (Brown, B Larson, R and Saraswati, T 2002)
Globalization has played a big role in shifting the roles played by the adolescents in different parts of the world.Teengaers are people who like experimenting with different situations in life. Technological advancement has brought about a situation where these young people are now playing different roles in the society. They are acting way beyond their ages. Communication has been revolutionized and many other aspects of their lives have changed drastically. This has led to the emergent of more sophisticated lot of young people who are now playing roles which are quite different from what was common in a few years time.
The two countries may be in different countries and speak different languages but the role played by the adolescents is almost similar in the two nations. This is greatly due to globalization and other related factors which are shaping today’s world making it a global village. The differences experienced as far as this group of young people is concerned have more to do with the culture and political dispensation in these two nations.
Lerner, J, Lerner, R and Finkstein, J (2001) Adolescence in America, ABC CLIO
Alasker, F Flammer, A and Bodner, N (1999) The Adolescent Experience, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates
Brown, B Larson, R and Saraswati, T (2002) The world Youth: Adolescence in Eight Regions of the Globe, Cambridge University Press