Youth is a stage of life when one is considered to be fresh and in the highest of the spirits. It is the period between childhood and maturity. Youths are often referred to as teenagers hence the terms can be used interchangeably. This is a transformational stage from dependence to independence. I conducted an interview among some youths between the age of 15-22 and they had varied opinions about the youths today. (Eksner, 2006)
At this age, youths experience drastic changes in their body structure. For instance, puberty sets in and it is associated with behavioural alterations as well. Many youths indicated that their counterparts tend to be attracted to groups. In this case, the social media platforms were the most mentioned. Out of the ten youths that I interviewed, none of them missed out on mentioning sites such as Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram. This implies that youths today have found more satisfaction in socialising and this is how they satisfy their emotions. Mohamed et al. (2009)
Another characteristic is that modern teenagers are rebellious. As mentioned above, the youthful age is transformational. Therefore the youths tend to gain independence and develop concepts that they feel they can rely on themselves. Consequently, they rebel against authorities and even their family members. In some extremes, many of them engage in verbal variance with their parents. However, this behaviour does not apply to all youths. Dodge et al. (2008)
This stage is full of adventure. Teenagers get the energy to explore many things that may pose risks to them. Scholarly research indicates that at this age, their brains develop strong impulses that trigger them to act without control. VaÌradi et al. (2014). For this reason, my interviewees mentioned that youths perform experiments that endanger their lives through the adventures. Most specifically, the issues about sexual irresponsibility and drug abuse were common answers from them.
Youthfulness is a characteristic of intellectual growth where teenagers obtain important life skills through education. The current education system provides subjects that equip students with knowledge that would be used in future. The age of 15-22 means that most youths are in high school. As a result, the intellectual ability grows exponentially owing to the fact that most life skills are taught at this level. (Esbensen, 2010)
Independence and responsibility are elements that youths must learn to balance. The interaction I had with my group of youths revealed that parents should play a role in guiding the youngsters to balance the two factors. Decision making is very critical, parents ought to influence the decisions made by their children and advise them on the repercussions related to such decisions. The role of a parent is to instil a sense of responsibility in the new status of independence of the youths. It can be so detrimental if parents give freedom to their children without showing them the way. (Primmer, 2007)
In my findings, I realised that youths view independence from the perspective of decision making. They wish to be free to think for themselves and plan their future. Some of them were optimistic that once you pursue your own course, you get motivated rather than when someone imposes it on you. Despite their young age, most of them were positive about life. They were keen to note that one is more responsible for a decision made independently because they have total control over it. Some youths denounced the notion that parents should come in to guide them in decision making, citing incidences and examples where some parents ruined the future of their children by forcing them to pursue courses that were not part of their passion. Bourdillon et al. (2012)
Other youths view the balance between responsibility and independence through how people learn from mistakes. They want to try out things for themselves so that they make mistakes and correct them. Many youths are adventurous, they wish to do things first hand and experience what it feels. This experience is a learning process that prepares them for the future. Some experiences are very harsh, and it is from them that youths grow to be responsible. (Kim, 2008) Life presents several challenges that vary in the levels of severity. A youth who has grown with a perspective of handling them is bound to wade through life storms with a little more skills as opposed to the one who has been dependent on other parties for decision making. Some of the youths have been raised from families of single parents. Some of them are orphaned thus they have no one to look upon for guidance. The few that I interviewed exhibited confidence about independence since they have only themselves to look to. Because they have a desire to change their livelihoods, they indicated that they would use the freedom responsibly. (Heidbrink, 2014)
Youths have various demands from their parents. The demands are different depending on the level of the economic status of the families. For instance, those who were raised from well to do families ask for luxurious items and property whereas those who hail from humble backgrounds would not think of material possessions. (Eksner, 2006). My interview activity was not biased in any sense. At one of the centres that I conducted the interview, I found a young girl who said she was 17 years old. When I demanded to know what she wishes to get from her father, she was fast to mention the Porsche vehicles that her family owns. She also talked about the mansions in the nearest town centre which she wanted to be given once she completes her studies. On the contrary, I met a boy who was 21 years of age. In my judgement, he was not a native of this country and most likely they have been marginalised as a whole community. I asked him the same question and all he had to say was that he only wanted education and moral guidance from his parents. It is clear that the social strata have so much influence in the decisions that youths make in life. As a matter of fact, the disparity between the two answers explains why the youths have different demands from parents. (Donson, 2010)
Teenagers are more or less young people who cannot fend for themselves yet. They need love and care from their parents. As much as we may foster for independence, they still want the parental love that they have grown up enjoying. Some youths mistake independence and go ahead to detach completely from their parents. (Kearney 2005). However, this does not last long before they get back to them again. For the few youths I interviewed, love and care was paramount among their demands. A loving parent will definitely give attention to their children. Most youths want their parents to take interest in what they are saying or doing and later correct or appreciate them. Rather than imposing choices on them, youths prefer that parents concede to what they want to acquire in life. (Kim, 2008)
The social welfare of the teenagers depends on the social groups that they form. This is the age at which they get the urge to share emotions and their livelihoods. For this reason, the youths acquire friends that influence their lives either positively or negatively. According to my findings, scores of youths are affected through peer pressure. In most cases, peer pressure has a negative impact in life. Out of the ten interviewees, seven of them noted that peer pressure can influence someone to adopt bad habits. The habits they mentioned were drug abuse and cyber crime. Mohamed et al. (2009). Drugs can change the destiny of an otherwise promising youth. The remaining three teenagers were positive that friends can be of great importance in turning around the future of any youth. They cited examples of how friends assisted them through their class work so that they made milestones in their academic work. One of them mentioned his friend who helped him finance his education when he could not afford school fees at some point.
Keeping friends is a good idea because they will help in determining whether some decisions in life are necessary or not. They would share their experiences concerning that decision prompting you to understand the consequences of making them. These are the views from the youths. A network of friends is vital in learning how to behave in occasions that are attended by many people of varied backgrounds.
Lastly, I found out that many youths are attached to friends who impart life skills in them. Some of the life skills include sporting and music lessons. In a case where a friend knows how to play a certain game or musical instrument, they can take you through the instructions of how to play it. People have gone places through utilisation of talent. A friend can be a yardstick for you to discover your talent. (Donson, 2010)
In conclusion, the youth is an important stage in life that determines the future of any individual. If one spends their youthful life responsibly, they are likely to enjoy their adult life. Unfortunately, many of them succumb to life pressures that ruin them. Parents and other stakeholders should play their role to make sure that the youth spend a fulfilling life.
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Dodge, K. A., Dishion, T. J., & Lansford, J. E. (2008). Deviant Peer Influences In Programs For Youth: Problems and solutions . New York:
Donson, A. (2010). Youth In The Fatherless Land: War pedagogy, nationalism, and authority in Germany, 1914-1918. Cambridge
Eksner, H. J. (2006). Ghetto Ideologies, Youth Identities And Stylized Turkish German: Turkish youths in Berlin-Kreuzberg . Berlin
Esbensen, F.-A. (2010). Youth Violence: Sex and Race Differences in Offending, Victimization, And Gang Membership
Heidbrink, L. (2014). Migrant Youth, Transnational Families, And The State: Care and contested interests
Kearney, C. A. (2005). Social Anxiety And Social Phobia In Youth: Characteristics, assessment, and psychological treatment.
Kim, H. C. (2008). Korean-American Youth Identity And 9/11: An examination of Korean-American ethnic identity in post-9/11
Muaka, L., & Eyamba, B. (2009). The Dynamics of Language Use among Rural and Urban Kenyan Youths.
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Primmer, H. H., & University of Nevada, Reno. (2007). Youth Employment Effects during School Years And Analysis Of Their Household
VaÌradi, L., & Zick, A. (2014). Youths Trapped In Prejudice: Hungarian adolescents' attitudes towards the Roma.
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