Transition to Young Parenthood


Becoming parent for the first time is an important transitional phase in the life of individuals especially during adolescence. Age is a major aspect for parenthood but there are several other factors that play important role in increasing the chances of success as young parents. The present report features the concepts of adolescence, its origins and emergence as well as its relevance in social construct. In addition to this, it also explores a range of sources that instigate the basis of moral panics in the respect of young people and their implications in shaping the discourses among young people. Besides this, the present report also features different theoretical perspectives that explain young people transition to adulthood.

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Concepts of Adolescence explained through Stanley Hall's work

The concepts of Adolescence can be explained by demonstrating the seminal work of Stanley Hall. In the year 1904, Stanley Hall explained through his monumental work called “Adolescence” that is an alteration in human development occurred due to transformation of society in decade’s post-civil war. It was observed that practice of children laboring in the fields and factories along with parents gradually disappeared (Gilles, 2015). This happened due to rise in industrial productivity which kept teenagers labor force out of factories due to installation of machinery to finish work. This new industrial society encouraged young individuals to learn and gain education. Hall considered the stage of adolescence as an alteration in experience among young adults. The author's work included the characteristics of adolescence and social effects. Hall termed the phase of adolescence as a period of “storm and stress”. He explained that during the transition from childhood to adulthood, teenagers encountered with inevitable turmoil. Stanley Hall has broadly categorized stress and storm into three categories which are as follows:

  • Conflicts with parents: During adolescence, young adults tend to act rebellious against parental control as they become independent. This causes conflicts between adolescents and parents
  • Risky behavior: The adolescents often exhibit risky behavior. This is due to emotional immaturity coupled with neurological requirement for stimulation.
  • Mood swings: Uncontrollable disruption in mood usually happens during adolescence due to hormonal alterations and psychological stress.

Origin and emergence of adolescence as a social construct

According Stanley Hall, biological changes of puberty contribute to the period of stress and storm among adolescents. It is found that human body gets some time to adopt these biological changes. Hormonal changes are responsible for causing majority of mood disruption among adolescents. Many young people may feel awkward in response to their physical growth of body. According to Hall, the rate of physical growth and development of girls and boys differ from each other. During this time, neurological connections rapidly grow due to increased growth of dendrites which consequently encourage adolescents to seek stimulation.

Other than biological aspects, Hall also featured psychological characteristics that are very peculiar to adolescence. Adolescents behave in a rebellious manner against their parents or other authority figures as they seek more independence with age. It is also found that there is an increase in attention seeking behavior among adolescents during this period. Besides this, risk taking behavior is also common among young people during adolescence. Individuals are more likely to experience feelings of self-consciousness, embarrassment and nervousness more as compared to other phases of life. In addition to this, they also sometimes experience loneliness and depression.

Relevance of Adolescence within society

Adolescence as a concept is very relevant in terms of social construct. Human society provides a common developmental path during the first two decades of individual's life. Schooling is an integral part of childhood and adolescence. There are certain laws that guide adults to deal with minors in a specific way. Adolescence is a critical link between childhood and adulthood (Duan and et. al., 2015). The transition carry risks as well as opportunities that greatly impact the future health of young adults. The health of young people has become an important factor of social and economic development. With the increasing adolescence population, there is an increase in funding of research, policies and programs. This is done with an aim to improve the health of young boys and girls so that they can grow into healthy and productive adults and thus they can make capable of giving birth to healthy progeny.

Range of sources to determine the extent to which moral panics shape and influence discourses on adolescence

Moral panic can be defined as a feeling of fear that spreads across the large number of individuals that there is some evil which threatens the well-being of society. In other words, it is described as a process of arousing social fear among public over an issue usually done by mass media. Media plays a crucial role in the dissemination of moral panic through reporting of facts which are sufficient to generate panic and concern among mass public. Moral panic takes place when media converts an ordinary event and features it as an extraordinary before society. Periods of rapid social change and agitation lead to occurrence of moral panics. The concept of Moral Panic was developed by Criminologist Stanley Cohen in early 1960 when he explained the reactions of public due to disturbances caused by group of young people called Mods and Rockers at seaside resorts in UK. Cohen's work explained that these public reactions affected the formation and enforcement of social policies, laws and perceptions in response to threats posed by the group of young people. Since then, the concept of moral panic has been employed to address a broad range of social problems. These problems include violence at school, child abuse, illegal immigration, Satanism and terrorism.

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History reveals that moral panic was focused on young people and youth crime way back the invention of the term teenager. Since then, sociologists are trying to protect the innocence of adolescents as well as working towards overcoming threats related to youth crime. It has been observed that both media publicity and social reaction to the moral panic may lead to increase in the youth crime rates in future. In other words, it can be said that reaction of society may amplify such behavior among adolescents by provoking them to behave in an undesired manner. Usually adolescents are considered as the targets of moral panics and their behavior is observed as a barometer to examine the health or illness of society. The stories of crime are exaggerated by media related to youth crime such as physical or sexual abuse of young people, out of control teenage groups, use of drugs, street violence, theft, bullying at school and universities raise concerns for more social control over adolescents.

Psychologists believe that there is a direct link between violence shown in films, television and computer games as well as violence occurring in real life. It is observed that violence portrayed by media negatively impacts young adults behavior. Sociologists have constantly argued that there is a direct influence of media content over adolescents to a great extent and causes particular social responses in terms of behavior. Feminist sociologists have suggested that there is a strong link between sexual crimes and pornography. In addition to this, there is a direct relationship between the representation of size zero models in fashion magazines and development of eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia among young adults especially girls. Besides this, many sociologists also state that media coverage on political issues greatly impacts the voting behavior among youth. Therefore, there was a need to increase the control over media in UK to censor the content of their programs being aired.

How youth transitions are conceptualized and explained

Youth transition is referred to transformation of individuals from the phases of childhood into adulthood. Many authors have featured youth transitions in their literature. These are reviewed and critically appraised in the following passages:

Cole has categorized three kinds of youth transitions and his work was highly regarded in UK during the mid of 1970's.The first type of transition is known as “School to work transition” which can be explained as adolescents leaving school at minimum age and securing full time paid employment with less difficulties. The second category is referred to “Housing transition” which can be elaborated as young people leaving their parent’s home and residing at place of their own. According to the author, housing transition is possible due to stability and security of career that was undertaken by young people. Stable job enables youth to save their own housing plans. The last type is termed as “Family Transition” which states that young adults form relationship, get engaged, married to spouses and have children to create their own family.

However, it has been critically analyzed that traditional transitions have transformed to a great extent in the past three decades. Youth transitions have become more complex and less predictable. Due to this, a new term called “Extended Transitions” came into picture. The term can be explained as the process of transformation from childhood to adulthood that takes longer time. It has been observed that there is increased dependency on parents as 1 out of 3 young adults are opting for higher education at universities. Similarly 4 out of 5 young people stay at parents place after leaving school for further training or education extending the housing transition. However , it is also observed that housing transition has changed among young people as they leave parent’s home at the age of 18 but do not get married and stay alone or with their peers or at hostels in universities. There are various social and economic factors that significantly delayed the housing transition due to unavailability of affordable social housing as well as reduced number of stable jobs which affect the financial freedom of young adults.

On the contrary, it is observed that there are evidences of the term “Early Transitions” which states that adolescents have undergone accelerated transitions during late 1990's. Statistical figures suggest that there was an increase in number of incidents of school exclusions in UK in late 1990s (Murphy, 2014). In addition to this, there is also a noticeable increase that contributes to 20 percent in the number of young carers who are adults taking care of parents and siblings in England. In addition to this, other complexity of youth transition includes challenges related to secure first job. Young people are opting for part time and other insecure patterns of job which make it difficult for youth to have sound future plans for financial savings. Thus, due to unemployment issues youth undergo through problematic family transition.

However, research paper done by Kok, J.K., 2015, explains that young people of past generations were more aware of their social roles and responsibilities that were incorporated in them by their parents and elders (Kok, 2015).The paper suggests that emerging adults have been presented as a concept of developmental stage that is full of ambiguity and uncertainty. It has been researched by the author that late adolescents and emerging childhood are the new concepts of developmental phases due to social alterations in the modern era. Most of the young adults in modern society are expected to attend universities to pursue higher studies in order to explore greater opportunities for healthier and successful living. This, in contrast was not very common in young adults of past generations. Though, there are number of opportunities for young people to explore their studies, career, relationships and other life directions, they are also susceptible to vulnerabilities related to copying with extended transitional changes. The author characterized the emerging adulthood as a specific period of the development with numerous unexpected variables and diversity especially when they start their higher education or when they enter into a romantic relationship.

Evaluate the contribution of social theory to the debates surrounding young people’s transition to adulthood and our understanding of this process.

Social theory is referred to the use of complex theoretical frameworks that are used to explain and analyze the concepts of social world or societies. Though, it is considered as a branch of Sociology, it has various interdisciplinary aspects. Sociological subjects became an integral part of Social Theory to understand society as well as its development. It has been observed that social theory largely reflected traditional views of families and marriages prevailing in societies during that period. The social theory lays emphasis on the ideas about the ways that societies change and develop (Wyn, 2015). In addition to this, it also features the explanation for social behavior and structure, gender, civilization, modernity as well as ethnicity of a societal framework. The Modern Social Theory states that transition of young people is determined by their environment. The key aspects of this theory is individual identity of young people and their roles in their relationships. In a civilized society, young people are expected to complete their school education, followed by higher university education, get a reputed as well as stable job and then get married followed by raising their own children. Childhood is considered as a dependent stage where children depend on their parents and family members for most of their physical and emotional needs such as food, clothing, housing, education, love affection, safety and security from potential harms. On the contrary, adulthood is an independent phase of young adult’s life where in they are self sufficient to meet their overall needs. During adulthood, young people achieve biological as well as intellectual maturity. They are capable enough to take major decisions of their life such as choosing sound career options, financing housing plans, getting married and planning for family.

However, Transition to adulthood is quite challenging for any young adult. Attaining self-sufficiency is pretty daunting for young people as they have to struggle hard for a stable and secured job as well as manage their expenses accordingly. It has been evaluated that many young people live with their parents for a longer time and are dependent on families for financial as well as emotional support. Research has suggested that young people who are exposed to protective determinants are more likely to succeed in their future ventures as compared to young adults who have lack of these factors especially people who are brought up under the foster care. Transition of young people to adulthood can be evaluated on the basis of various social, biological, intellectual and educational outcomes. It has been observed that transition to adulthood is not an overnight process. There is a need to empower youth so that they can take better charge of their future. Beside this, parents need to find ways in which they can prepare their younger children for transitioning into adults for creating better individuals of society.


In a nutshell, the present report presents key points on Youth Transition. It has been learned that there are various concepts that explain the origin and emergence of adolescence and its relevance in today's society. The concepts of adolescence are explained with the help of seminal work of Stanley Hall through his popular work “Adolescence”. In addition to this, role of media including film, television and print media is also elaborated to show the impact of moral panic among young adults. It has been learned that moral panics significantly influence and shape discourses among youth and determine their behavioral responses by provoking them. Apart from this, the report is critically analyzed on the literature related to youth transitions. Further, it also draws perspectives of social theory and its contribution regarding the young people's transition to

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