Transition to Young Parenthood

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Introduction Transition to Young Parenthood

Transition to young parenthood comprises of a development process in which individual goes from one stage such as childhood to being in another stage like youth or adolescence. In every stage of development process, people learn new things which are always helpful in their life. This present report will focus on concepts and origin of adolescence and it also will also help in understanding the sources to investigate the basis of moral panic in respect to young people. Along with it, this report will also critically emphasize on youth transition. This report will further access to different theoretical perspectives to understand young people's transitions to adulthood.

1. Concepts of adolescence, its origins and emergence as a social construct and its relevance within today’s society

Adolescence is basically a transitional stage of psychological and physical development of human and it occurs during development period from puberty stage to legal adulthood which means age of majority. The time period of adolescence is associated with stage of teenage years and in development, transition occurs both mentally and physically. The time period of development involves changes such as biological, mental and social alterations. The term adolescence is generally associated with more independence and little supervision as compared to age of preadolescences. Basically, this stage is a time to acquire all necessary skills to participate in the adult world. Adolescence is divided into three stages Early Adolescence, Middle Adolescence and Late Adolescence. Early stage is a stage which consists of puberty transitions i.e. 8-12. Individuals in this stage become aware of their rapidly changing body structure. Middle stage starts from 12-15, by the time puberty passes the individual gets concerned as to how he/she looks and is perceived by the world. Later stages i.e. 15-18 feature the intellectual and developed side of the individual.

American psychologist, Granville Stanley Hall gives a concept of adolescence in which he uses scientific methods to study adolescence. Hall describes that the period of adolescence starts at puberty age of 12-13 years and it ends late between age of 22-25 years and in this he also defines that adolescence is basically a period of storm and stress. With the help of recapitulation theory, Hall describes period of adolescence as a moment which is related for uplifting the mankind to directly super-anthropoid. According to theory of adolescence and recapitulation, Hall defines adolescence period as a new birth in which he states that human traits are completely born in this stage. Further, he believes that characteristics of adolescence include both childish selfishness and idealistic altruism and he also stated that adolescent is wanting of both seclusion and solitude. According to Stanley Hall, during the stage of development and transition there is also yearning for authority and idols which does not exclude revolutionary against any kind of idols and authority. In this, Hall defines that in time period of late adolescence the individual recapitulates begins the state of modern civilization and this development stage corresponds to the ends process of maturity.

Even though, this theory plays an important role in study of adolescent development but there was few criticism of Hall's work such as many of Hall's ideas have not stood test of time and many writers do not agree that normal adolescence is a time period of stress and storm. According to Bandura 2006, “many young people in USA do not feel stress and anxiety, so, he felt that assumption about adolescence was an overstatement of real fact. He points out that if society assumes adolescence as a time period of radical tension than it runs the risk of self fulfilling prophecy”. In the same way, according to Atwater 2010, “the adolescence experience is heavily influenced by both social and cultural environment.”

From the above criticism of authors as well as the statement made by Hall, further it can be concluded that difference between Hall's time and present time demonstrates culture changes, so view of psychologists on adolescence also gets changed. In that, conservative time period Hall frankly discussed the sexuality in adolescence and also viewed sexuality as a healthy and normal, this discussion alarmed many people of that conservative time period and many of them did not agree with sexuality in adolescence development.

2. Range of sources to determine the extent to which ‘moral panics’ shape and influence discourses on adolescence, youth and young people

The term moral panic occurs when an episode, condition, person or person's group emerges to threat to societal interests and values. In enforcing moral panic in society, media sources such as newspaper, film and radio plays a massive role in it. Basically, moral panic is a term which is used to define media presentation of something that has already happened and on this presentation the public will react in a manner that promotes panic. It is generally a feeling of fear which spread among large number of people that some evils are trying to threaten the well being of society. The moral panic has various features such as concern, hostility, consensus and volatility etc. In this process, media creates a folk devil and reports its actions in sensationalized form in front of public and through this process public concern increases about these actions. Public start to think that moral panic can disturb their life and may give threat to their social values. In this whole scenario, adolescence and youth are mostly affected and influenced by moral panics in which according to situation their behavior too changes.

Basis of moral panic

Basis of moral panic can be defined that how moral panic impact on people. In situation of moral panic, individual person or a group who poses harms to norms and values of society are identified as a threat to society at moral level. The nature of risk disclosure enable and influence youth people towards moral panic, so, the construction of moral panic is generally surrounded by youth in which their behavior is delinquent and deviant. They are associated with emergence of different forms of youth culture which are associated with violence.
Implications of moral panic on young people

Moral panic gives adverse impact on youth, adolescence and also on their perception. According to the situations and condition, people immediately start to react on these situations and in this media plays an important role in covering that moral panic related events. The amounts of information which are related to these events are conveyed by media to people and according to that information they start to build their own opinion and perception. The effects on people from moral panic have been stated below:

Start to fear

Through media, information directly reaches to people and according to that people start to fear that they are in danger. The fear such as threat to their life both personal and professional, disturb their daily activities of life, negative effect on society such as harm to norms and ethical values.

Discomfort feeling

In events of moral panic, people start feeling discomfort and perceive that event or episode as a hectic situation. For example, affect of Ebola virus on youth and other people created a situation of panic that further worsened the situation of epidemic in the country. This situation is also a form of moral panic which affects large number of people.

Take a stand against that situation

If moral panic related events are not real or are threat to society than some people take a stand against that event and try to encourage other people also. People try to generate awareness among others. For example, many will say that this event is just a rumor and they do not need to feel fear towards that moral panic.

Aggression or violence behavior

The events which are related to moral panic also have adverse impact on youth's perception. Youth at their adolescences stage already is infuriated with the raging hormonal rush in their biological structure. Any situation or event of panic worsens this condition and the individuals start to become violent and generate violence in the event. For example, in a college due to exam paper leak, if moral panic generates then management decides to postpone the examination in spring break. This situation creates a panic situation as students do not favor the same. Students start mass gathering and with violent behavior disarms the property of college.

3. Youth transitions to young parenthood

Youth transitions are conceptualized because becoming a parent for the first time in young age is a major transition for adolescents and young people. In this context, while age is an important factor of readiness for young parenthood and however there are also other factors which are important such as circumstances of family and social support system. All these factors can influence success chances of young parents. Young people become major actors in parenthood situation because they shape well-being and health of next generation. Young parenthood faces many challenges in youth transitions such as mental, health, family circumstances, low resources, economic conditions and less social control etc. However, youth or young people who become parents and they have shortage of resources, key life skills which are vital in process of parenting. In this regard, according to The Urban Child Institute (2014), young or youth parenting is major risk factor which is associated with development of childhood. When a baby is born, young parents faces many difficulties acquiring language and cognitive skills as well as emotional and social skills such as self-confidence and self control, less knowledge and experience about child development is the main reason behind these difficulties. In young parenthood situations, there are various risk factors which generally occur; these risk factors are discussed below:

Dream deferred

To raise a baby, many times young parenthood quit their school or college to solve their difficulties. But in this, they stop the source through which they gain further education and knowledge. This hampers their growth and knowledge base. They lose their carrier goals and perspectives in return of raising a baby. This situation on the onset does not affect much but these effects are considered vital for the future. These young parents are generally college drop outs who do not receive handsome pay and enough job opportunities to raise their family. This situation adds to the financial problems faced by the parenthood from many others issues generated as a result of the same.

Single parenting

Many times it is seen that adolescent or younger parents are not married and in this case teenager fathers abandon their responsibilities due to inability and fear. They leave teen mothers with less financial and moral support. In this regard, the mother is left alone with less support to raise her kid in the world. Despite of this, in many cases, it is evident that the family and friends lessen their support to the young mother. Cases of depression and stress are prevailing in young mothers who are raising their kids alone.

Harsh parenting

Generally, it is found that young parents use harsh parenting style in development of child because of less coping skills and experience. The fewer skills generally create frustration and irritation while caring a new born baby. Low education level and financial problems are two among many reasons faced by the young parents. The young teens get infuriated and irritated by these daily problems which results in harsh parenting styles for their kids.

In the process of youth transition to young parenthood, the most critical factors are adjustment and family support which can help new parenthood for infant development. Both these factors reduce challenges of mental and health which are important for parents.

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

In the process of transition to adulthood, many young people face many challenges in this. Challenges like independent living can be demanding such as paying for housing and other related expenses, managing new responsibilities without financial and emotional support. When a teenager or a younger person prepares for adulthood challenges then they are basically entering in development and growth time period. In this development time period, they basically explore themselves that how they are and what they want to become in the future. For this purpose, they need new skills to take new responsibilities and roles. In the transition time period, changes occur in behavior and thinking power. In adulthood, people are mature and think logically in every situation because at the time of growth changes also occur in brain development. In adulthood phase, people are able to understand the difference between right and wrong. In growth process, hormones contribute in developing physical changes and powerful emotions.

In adulthood, people are regarded as independent, responsible and self sufficient because in development process, intellectual maturity and physical have been fully attained. The transition to adulthood from young to mid-life adults is all about accepting responsibilities and to make decision on their own values and beliefs. In transition process, young people accept the importance of learning which helps them to stand alone in front of others. In transition of young people to adulthood, they identifies that self sufficiency and independence are highly valued. For the establishment and identification, adults need desired qualification and skills for employment. In this situation, many youth experience very smooth transition to the adulthood phase. The aspects of adults are such as...

  • Adults people gets duties and rights like they have the right to vote.
  • To complete their economic needs they can start full time or part time work without being dependent on parents.
  • They are not eligible to claim full benefits of social security until the age of 25 years.
  • They try to develop independent and separate identity and lifestyle.

In this development time period, young people are also contended with multiple challenges and opportunities which can give important implications over life. Further, it is observed that individual developments are always determined by decisions related to employment, education, marriage, residential arrangement and parenthood. The vital changes in social responsibilities and roles can develop stress and can also test their individual capacity for adopting new changes. It might be possible that these changes can bring new opportunities which can help them to overcome previous difficulties.


Through the above report it is clearly articulated that transition process plays an important role in stages of human life such as childhood, adolescence and adulthood. Further, this report shows concepts of adolescence, importance of media in moral panic. Becoming parents is a huge responsibility; in the process of transition to young parents there are various issues and challenges faced by the teens. This research focuses on more aspects of youth transition to adulthood and young parenthood.


  • Oesterle, S., Johnson, M.K. and Mortimer, J.T., 2004. Volunteerism during the transition to adulthood: A life course perspective. Social Forces.
  • Bandura, A., 1986. Social foundations of thought and action: A social cognitive theory. Prentice Hall.
  • Gee, C.B. and, 2007. Adolescent and young adult mothers’ relationship quality during the transition to parenthood: Associations with father involvement in fragile families. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.
  • Masten, A.S. and, 2004. Resources and resilience in the transition to adulthood: Continuity and change. Development and psychopathology.
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