10 Chapters
Medium 9781855754515

Chapter 4: identity and peer groups: fashion and “youth culture”

Rose, James Karnac Books ePub

We have already seen how young adolescents have to cope with a sense of a new body and how they incorporate this new body into a sense of themselves. This process inevitably alters their relationship with their parents and families. There is a way in which they seem to grow away from their families and want to be as unlike them as they can be. As an expression of this movement, images of adolescent icons abound in the media—often with an apparent intention to shock the older generation.

Compare the images shown here with the description by Anna Freud of the arrival of adolescence:

Whereas the latency child (approximately five to eleven, twelve years) had begun to show definite and well-circumscribed character and personality traits, the pre-adolescent (approximately eleven, twelve to fourteen years) is once more unpredictable. Where the latency child has become modest, reasonable and well-mannered with regard to food, the pre-adolescent reacts with greed and demanding-ness; insatiableness in pre-adolescence frequently leads to thefts of food and sweets. Similar changes occur in almost all the spheres of the child's life. Pre-adolescent boys in particular are known to be dirty in their lavatory habits and negligent in their clothing. Cruel and bullying actions are regular occurrences; so are mutual masturbation, the seduction of younger children, and sexual compliance towards older playmates; destructive acts, thefts and robberies are carried out alone or in company with others. Within the family the preadolescent causes disharmony by his selfishness and inconsiderateness; in school he is frequently in trouble because of his lack of interest in the school subjects, his inability to concentrate, his ir-responsibleness and insubordination. In short, the whole promising process of adaptation to the environment seems to have stopped short. What parents and teachers are confronted with is once again the full, undiminished impact of the instinctual forces within the child. [A. Freud, 1949; emphasis added]

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754515

Chapter 9: starting to get organized: leaving mid-adolescence to enter the world of others

Rose, James Karnac Books ePub

“I must create a system or be enslav'd by some other man's”

from “Jerusalem” by William Blake.

As mid-adolescence draws to a close, we begin to see an increasing sense of integration as the adolescent starts to relate to us in a more organized way. The task for an adolescent is to find a way of engaging with and being effective in the adult world. This entails finding ways of being with others in such a way that both achieve fruitful ends. This encounter with the world of others enables a process of internal organization through which ambitions and desires can be realized, given the limits imposed by reality. In doing this, the adolescent's developing internal organization permits the emergence of a sense of identity: the adolescent's sense of who they are.

When this is happening, you may find that they start to talk to you in a new way. An impulsiveness of thought and a sense of compliance with you, or reaction against you, will seem to have given way to something more balanced, allowing their own mind and your mind to exist together effectively and happily. No longer is there an implicit but constant struggle. Something seems to have become more organized, and a new kind of cooperation seems possible.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754515

Chapter 7: on being„and being allowed to be„immature

Rose, James Karnac Books ePub

In the first chapter of this book, Donald Winnicott was quoted as saying:

What I am writing here (dogmatically in order to be brief) is that the adolescent is immature. Immaturity is an essential element of health at adolescence. There is only one cure for immaturity and that is the passage of time and the growth into maturity that time may bring.

Immaturity is a precious part of the adolescent scene. In this is contained the most exciting features of creative thought, new and fresh feeling, ideas for new living. Society needs to be shaken by the aspirations of those who are not responsible. If the adults abdicate, the adolescent becomes prematurely, and by false process, adult. Advice to society could be: for the sake of adolescents, and of their immaturity, do not allow them to step up and attain a false maturity by handing over to them a responsibility that is not yet theirs, even though they may fight for it. [Winnicott, 1968]

These words can easily be misunderstood, and this usually happens because of the mindset of the reader. When Winnicott says that there is only one cure for immaturity, he might be thought to mean that we must accept that we cannot intervene in or accelerate a process, which will proceed in its own time. The metaphor of laying down wine in the cellar and leaving it to mature undisturbed might come to mind.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754515

Chapter 3: sexual development: having sex, having intercourse, and making love

Rose, James Karnac Books ePub

We have already noted that, for the individual adolescent, puberty “turns up” at some time between the ages of 10 and 16. We might say that the arrival of puberty is the business of early adolescence, regardless of the chronological age at which it actually arrives. The business of mid-adolescence is the commencement of the process of absorbing the emotional consequences of the physiological changes that occur.

The change in the physiological body, entailing it now being sexually mature and capable of reproduction, is a momentous change in its psychological impact and its impact upon others. Because the body now looks different, people can easily expect the newly changed young person to be different. Different they will, of course, be—but not necessarily in the way that is expected. We can say that the task of early adolescence is to accept this new potency, and that of mid-adolescence is incorporate it into a new way of being with oneself and, in turn, being with others. This is partly because others will expect new things of the mid-adolescent. The title of this chapter is intended to summarize the tasks of sexual organization during adolescence, beginning with recognition that the young person is capable of having sex, but this is not seen as being something in which one engages with another person. One might say that it is thought of as an activity—at its most primitive—in which one engages with another person as a body, but the person of the other is not significant. The idea of intercourse introduces the idea of being with another person, and being sexual has a psychological significance as well as a physical one.

See All Chapters
Medium 9781855754515

Chapter 1: introduction

Rose, James Karnac Books ePub

See All Chapters