What is youth?
(LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER, 1945) states that Youth is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood, during this stage most individuals will see themselves as independent. (Learner & Spanier, 1980) states that childhood and the adulthood period can be described as the period within the life stages when most of an individual’s biological, cognitive, psychological, and social characteristics are changing from childhood to adulthood.
What sorts of problems young people face, how these are defined and what sorts of responses/solutions are proposed?
Youth go through so many problems every day and one of them is peer-pressure; peer pressure is when an individual is trying to force another individual to do something they do not want to do. A type of peer pressure an individual can go through is smoking, this happens when someone offers the other person cigarettes or any other type of drug. The non-smoker may feel pressured to take the drug because other people in their peer group are taking the drugs. This is a problem for youth because if they are smoking at a young age they may not be able to live longer because they are killing cells in the body due to the substance in the drug. (Smokefree NHS, 2016) states that smoking is the biggest cause of deaths in England, and there have been more than 80,000 deaths each year and it’s likely that one in two smokers will die from a smoking-related disease. There are several things that smoking can do and it can affect the youth. For example, the young people’s lungs can be affected badly by smoking. Symptoms will start to occur such as coughs, colds, wheezing, this is how smoking can cause fatal diseases such as pneumonia, emphysema and lung cancer. Some youth does not know that smoking can affect their brain. The NHS says that if you smoke, individuals are in a high chance of having a stroke than someone who doesn’t smoke. Smoking increases the individual risk of having stroke by at least 50%. Stroke is a type of illness that can cause brain damage and death so by the young people smoking they are doubling their chances of getting stroke. This is a problem that smoking can cause stroke and death because they say that youth is the next generation and if all our youth are dying there would be no youth left to make the future better.
The top 10 challenges facing young people today, as cited on the www.allaboutschoolleavers.co.uk website, is as follows:
- Lack of employment opportunities
- Failure to succeed in education system
- Issues related to body image
- Family problems
- Substance abuse
- Pressures of materialism
- Lack of affordable housing
- Negative stereotyping
- Pressure of 24-hour social networking
While the Central YMCA charity compiled the data (date unknown) in a research survey across 1,600 young people of the age range 16-25, there is no direction on how to address these gripping issues and concerns by the young people. Citations to the inability to secure meaningful positions within mainstream education or social employment sector appear to top the area of concerns referred to in the quantitative research data survey present as worrisome in context and further help to muddy the murky waters of how to protect, support and develop our youth of today so they are appropriately skilled for meaningful social placement tomorrow. Where do we go from here? Community outreach programmes, government initiatives NEET (not in education, employment or training), The Prince’s Trust and other social charity foundationsand/or private sector businesses all offer sector-segmented support and opportunities for young people across the whole social spectrum. Notable success has been attributed to many of the initiatives; notably The Prince’s Trust and the government NEET initiative. Desirable approaches to
address the issues at the very heart of concern at both local and national levels may prove problematic in themselves due to fiscal challenges and the (maybe) innate unwillingness to tackle the issue head-on at central government level in its efforts to appease the electorate and other interested parties.
How do the system and structure define and interact with the youth?
The transition to adulthood is a critical stage of human development during which young people leave childhood behind and take on new roles and responsibilities. It is a period of social, psychological, economic, and biological transitions, and for many young people it involves demanding emotional challenges and important choices. To a large degree, the nature and quality of young people’s future lives depend on how successfully they negotiate through this critical period. Yet in many developing countries, it is a stage of life that has only recently begun to receive focused attention.
Why do different young people experience these transitions in different ways?
Disjuncture appears to be, in the main, a significant factor of transitional differences in young people. By that, I sense the subjective disjunction between the youth’s objective and subjective transition into adulthood are complex, not fully understood by those connected with research or the extent by which perceptions are affected by the youths of today may be a linking factor in the social-class-differentiation resulting in the distinctive social separations in strata between those considered in the higher-cultural and those referenced as being in the lower-cultural groups.
Our mental health can be largely considered as a triggering component of how well we, as people, are able to absorb, develop, change and transition through periods of our lives. According to young minds, this is ‘shaped by our own unique combination of nature, nurture and events’. Such references may infer a considerably more perplexing challenge for those in positions to research, understand, intervene and facilitate on-going support for young people. Each person is individual. Each person has their own family upbringing, circumstances, experiences, wishes, dreams, aspirations, hopes, wants, desires, perspective of life and of their world around them. For some also, there is complete lack of all of the above. They haven’t been shown, guided or encouraged to live, think, try, smile, enjoy or go and get for example and this creates a monumental challenge for the appropriate services to pool together the necessary resources to help the young person cope with change, build trust and embrace transition through youth to adulthood. Research suggests the four elements of transition that young people face are: § Emotional: affected by personal experiences, for example bereavement or the divorce or separation of parents § Physical: moving to a new home, class or school § Intellectual: moving from one type of organisation to another, for example from nursery to school, primary school to secondary school, secondary school to college or college to university § Physiological: going through puberty or a long-term medical condition.
These changes are immensely stressful for young people, as they are for adults also. Aligned with the high degree of uncertainty is the unparalleled assertion that it may be a lonely place once they have transitioned through the period of change and reached the destination (wherever that may be) and it is perhaps much better to do nothing, stay where they are and operate in the area of their existing comfort zone doing the things they know how to do best. Better the devil you know applies aptly here, I believe!
Society has a role to play in supporting the young people to ensure their view of the world around them is not one of distortion; teachers, community support services and members, family, friends and government and or social outreach initiatives, for example, must ensure that tolerance to change is informed, understood, coping mechanisms practised and education provided to young people so they are more appropriately equipped to deal and successfully manage change. Change is inevitable and, most often, for the good. Success is a journey, not a destination and young people must be able to embrace the journey and confident they have the innate resources to manage it and themselves on a daily basis.
What is the recent change between childhood and adulthood (new challenges that young people face)?
LEARNING TO LIVE TOGETHER. (1945, Novemeber 16). Retrieved from UNESCO : http://www.unesco.org/new/en/social-and-human-sciences/themes/youth/youth-definition/
SETH J. SCHWARTZ, M. B. (2016). Identity Development, Personality, and Well-Being in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood. Identity Development, Personality, and Well-Being in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood, 1-4.
Smokefree NHS. (2016, December 06). Retrieved from Smokefree NHS: https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/smoking-health-problems
The problem of “youth” for youth work’, Youth and Policy 62, pages 45 – 66. Also available in the informal education archives, http://www.infed.org/archives/youth.htm.