Social Development in Adolescence
Man is basically a social animal. His existence without social set-up can hardly be imagined. He is born in society, develops, works and progresses in society. Social development is very essential for proper adjustment in the society. The social adjustment of the child starts from early infancy. The foundation of social development is laid by parents in the family. The success in future social adjustment depends on parents and other members of the family who lay the foundation of social development.
In adolescence the child enters a quite new field of social responsibilities. The society and parents place upon him new demands which sometimes bewilder him and he fails to adjust successfully in the new role. The adolescent has to make the following, new adjustments in the society:
- The most characteristic social development is the increased influence of peer group.
- With the advancing age, the child remains most of the time with his friends.
- The friends and type of peer group the adolescent joins, shape his behaviour to a great extent.
- His interests, attitudes and values are influenced by peers.
- Adolescents in urban areas are more guided by their peer group.
- Adolescents in rural areas are guided by their parents and elder family members.
The adolescent becomes self-conscious of his place in the society. The adolescent desires that his peers should accept him and he should be respected. Therefore the adolescent conforms to the norms of peer group. The adolescent can do anything for the sake of pleasing his peers.
Changes in Social Behaviour
The most marked change in adolescence is the place of adolescent in family. In India a special ceremony is held to celebrate the entry of child into a new social role. Parents' attitude changes and now they assign him social responsibilities. He is taken into confidence on important matters of the family.
The circle of adolescent narrows down to small group. His interests become specialized. He starts identifying himself with adults and tries to do roles of adult.
The most marked and important development appears in his relation with the member of opposite sex. In childhood, boys play with boys and girls with girls: while in adolescence there is heterosexual trend in companionship. The adolescent boys and girls form their groups based on their common interests and goals. The social group of boys are larger than girls because boys in our society have more freedom than girls. But very recently in big cities, a new trend toward giving more freedom to girls in emerging as a new social pattern among adolescent girls. The adolescent boys and girls have a variety of grouping such as chums, clique.
Adolescents make friendship with those who conform to their standard and possess the personality traits they like. The number of friends decreases but the affiliation becomes more permanent. There is interest to make friendship with the members of opposite sex. The adolescent does not tolerate the interference of parents and other members in selecting friends. Some times because of his immature decision, he is bluffed in selection of friends. The friendship of this period tends to be permanent.
- (1) Parties, celebration:- There is an increasing interest in adolescent boys and girls to attend parties, celebrations and fairs where members of both sexes meet.
- (2) Conversation:- Adolescent takes interest in talking of various types of problems. He shows interest in social problems of wide variety. Talking plays a cathartic role for adolescents.
School and Social Development
Adolescents need guidance in the development of healthy social relations and for this purpose school is the most appropriate place where a variety of activities can be organized to foster social development. The following activities can help in the development of proper social attitudes.
(1). To organize social functions:- The teacher should organize informal social functions in which students may come closer to each other and have an opportunity to understand interests and aspirations of each other. The students may be divided into smaller groups to discuss their problems informally. Social functions should be organised in such a way that must cater to the needs of all types of students.
(2). To arrange excursions and trips:- Excursions and outings provide more opportunity for informal conversations and close contact with each other.
(3). Games, debates and seminars:- The teacher should organize group-games, debates and seminars to train adolescents to participate in social activities.
(4). Student's social interests:- The teacher should make an appraisal of student's social interests, social acceptance in classroom, socio-economic conditions and organize activities to foster socialization.
(5). Peer Group Relationships:- In modern society informally - organized groups, cliques, or gangs become especially widespread and important during adolescence. People of all ages draw in large measure upon their fellows for their thoughts, emotions, and modes of behaviour. But as youth move into adolescence, peer groups become even more important to them. Whereas, during middle childhood, peer group influence supplements that of home and school during adolescence it takes priority over, and may even supplant, influence of these institutions.
Adolescents will stake almost everything to win and hold approval of their age mates. Frequently they are well aware of the great importance of age mate group in their lives. In 1955 Rosen found that, for the group of youngsters he studied, peer groups tended to be more important than adults in influencing choices. He stated that, in case where parents and peer group had conflicting attitudes in regard to issues examined in the study, adolescents more often agreed with their peers than with their parents.
Interests of Adolescents
Interest means to make difference. It describes why the organism tends to favour some situation and thus comes to react to them in a very selective manner. Interest and attention are closely related. Interests of adolescents play an important role in the development of their behaviour and personality. Interest is any activity that drives or motivates the individual for action. Interests are very important to understand the individual and to guide his future activities.
Characteristics of Adolescent's Interest
(1) Instability:- In early adolescence boys and girls have a variety of interests. Every thing which is new draws their attention. But by the end. of adolescence interests stabilize. He concentrates on selected interests.
(2) Interests in adolescence expand:- No doubt, many of the childhood interests are carried over and some are new ones. The filed of interests expand with the development of intellectual and social development. Adolescent starts taking interests in national and international affairs. With the advancing age, by the end of adolescence, the interests become stable and specialized.
(3) Interests of adolescents shift in values:- Another characteristic of adolescent interests is the shift in values of different interests. The major interests of childhood many become minor and some new interests may become major interests.
Factors Affecting Interests
Interests are highly individual actions. The variations in the interests are influenced by a number of factors which are listed below:
(1) Physical development:- Physical development is very important in deciding the development of interest. If the adolescent is physically sound and strong, he can participate in those sports and games which require strength. But if the adolescent is physically handicapped then his interests will be confined to different kinds of activities, mostly indoor.
(2) Sex differences:- There is a great difference between the interests of adolescent boys and girls. The differences may be attributed to the physiological differences, and cultural influences. Girls participate in those games and sports which need less vigour. Boys like competitive games of muscular-dexterity. The differences among the play interests of boys and girls are not only caused by sex differences but by cultural conditions, educational level and environmental conditions are also important factors.
(3) Environment:- Environment plays an important role in deciding the interests of adolescents. It influences in giving the opportunity to come in contact with various items of interest. The geographical conditions and climatic conditions influence the interests of adolescents. There is a great difference in the interests of boys and girls from rural and urban areas. Culture also influences the interests of adolescents.
(4) Socio-economic status:- Socio-economic conditions of the family also plays an important role in deciding the interests of adolescents. Adolescents belonging to lower socio-economic condition remain busy in the work. They do not have money to purchase articles of games or books, magazines, etc.
(5) Intelligence and play interest:- Lehman and Witty conducted survey of interest in play activities as shown by gifted and dull adolescents. They concluded that gifted adolescents participate in solitary types of play. They prefer games which involve rules and well-organized system. They do not like those activities which require muscular strength but on the other hand they like problem solving activities. Dull boys participate in social games requiring muscular strength.
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