Emerging Adulthood. English and Literature
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The inevitable question is, ‘Why are so many people in their 20s talking so long to grow up?’ In today’s society, many young people in their twenties seem like children. Majority of them have moved in with their parents and are in hopeless situations. In an article titled, ‘What Is It About 20-Somethings?’ Robin Marantz Heing, the author, tries to explain what is happening to the youths in their 20s. In an attempt to understand, exactly what is happening to the youths, she intensely evaluates research made by Jeffery Jensen Arnett, a psychology professor in the Clark University in Worcester who explains the concept of ‘Emerging adulthood’. This paper will attempt to establish the cause of emerging adulthood as a new stage of life and why the society should recognize it.
According to Dr. Arnett, emerging adulthood is a stage of life that’s occurs between the age of 18 and late twenties. He says it is a stage where young people explore their abilities and life. It is a stage where young people are more self-focused and have a sense of endless possibilities. This stage is characterized by instability, exploration of sexuality, experimentation with drugs and identity exploration (Henigaug 1). He argues that the concept of emerging adulthood is debatable but has long lasting implications. Dr. Arnett, also argues that there are several factors that have contributed to the development of this new stage. They include the uncertain age that declares one as an adult, cultural change, economic changes and family background.
According to the article, the cause of emerging adulthood as a new stage of life is the uncertainty of the age that makes one an adult. There is a lot of controversial age limits that qualify one as an adult in the United States of America. This uncertainty creates a loophole that lead to emerging adulthood stage. For example, anyone whose eighteen years old is considered an adult who can vote (Henigaug 1). However, in some states one cannot leave foster care until their twenty-one. It is also ironical that people of sixteen years are considered adults who can drive carefully in the streets of America, yet they are not allowed to drink alcohol until they turn twenty-on (Henigaug 1). In addition, young people can only rent a car when they turn twenty-five. Also, parents to college students who are over eighteen cannot access their records but the parent is expected to support the child until he/she is twenty-four. Therefore, the disparity causes a loophole that leads to emerging adulthood. This is because a young people between sixteen to twenty-five years old can still expect their parents to support them. Therefore, unknowingly, they create the stage of emerging adulthood.
The article also states that, another cause of emerging adulthood stage is cultural change. In earlier years, the society had laid milestones for young people to achieve. They were expected to go to school, work hard, graduate, land a good job, get married and start a family (Henigaug 1). These traditional milestones defined life for a very long time. However, in today’s society, such milestones do not matter hence, creating the emerging adulthood stage. In today’s society, people are choosing to remain unmarried and childless. Also recognition of various sexuality and many people identifying with controversial sexualities hence diverging from the traditional milestones (Henigaug 1). Additionally, the chronological order in which the milestones were achieved has changed. Initially, people were expected to go to school and study and later start families. However, in today’s society, there are rampant cases of students dropping out of school because of early marriages and pregnancies (Henigaug 1). In addition, we have cases of parents going back to school to complete their education since they had dropped out. Similarly, women are not pressured into marriage due to acceptance of premarital sex, education advancement and a wide range of career options. Lack of the traditional harmony into maturity has created the emerging adulthood stage.
According to Dr. Annett, different family backgrounds can create emerging adulthood stage. For instance, young people from wealthy backgrounds end up in this stage where they try to figure out their own identity away from their parents shadows. Similarly, young people from struggling backgrounds can use this stage to escape from their families and their realities. In the article, there is a story of Nicole a twenty five year old lady from Oakland, Calif. Since she was a young girl, she has had to step up and take care of her mother and three siblings. As a result, she was working at the age of eight years old (Henigaug 1). Eventually, she finished school and landed a job through which she advanced her education through night classes. According to Nicole, she needed to move from her mother’s house in order to focus on herself and her studies (Henigaug 1). Therefore, Dr. Arnnet argues that the emerging adulthood may present an opportunity where people from poor families can change their lives for the better.
In conclusion, emerging adulthood is a new life stage that most youths in their twenties are going through. It is a stage that is caused by family backgrounds, cultural change, lack of a certain age marked for adulthood and economic changes. Young people being self-focused, unstable, having a spirit of exploration with unending possibilities characterize emerging adulthood. According to Dr. Arnnet, the new stage should be recognized by the society because it is here to stay. Similarly, he argues that it is also an opportunity for young people from poor backgrounds to redefine themselves and escape the jaws of poverty.
Work Cited Henigaug, Robin. “What Is It About 20-Somethings”. Nytimes, 2010, https://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/22/magazine/22Adulthood-t.html. Accessed 21 July 2019.