Social Issues

Social IssuesJust as important, and linked to the biological changes brought about by puberty, are the social, psychological, and psychosexual developments that mark teenage years and an adolescent’s life. This is usually the time when people start becoming more independent of their parents or guardians, often trying to “rebel” against them, and explore the social realm of their peer networks in school and at places other than home. Teen life is marked not just by evident physical changes, but also with such crucial experiences as “teen love” (which may or may not last beyond adolescence), the development of a mature sexuality and the first sexual experiences, and the formation of friendships and group relationships that are often focused on particular cultural tastes, interests or hobbies.

Teenagers, generally no longer under the strict guidance and scrutiny of adults (at least not as much as during childhood, although there are, of course, exceptions), for the first time start becoming independent consumers on the marketplace, enter the workforce and make their own money, and become conscious of social and cultural trends, often trying to define themselves by assuming particular trends and disassociating from others, and choosing their group of friends accordingly.

Teenage years are also the time when many people start to drink, smoke, and use recreational drugs, which can often be a passing stage from which people move on, but can sometimes stay for good–especially in the case of substance abuse that involves highly addictive substances. Since this is the period of sexual maturation and the development of reproductive capabilities, teenage pregnancies and parenthood are also pressing social issues, both from religious and moral, as well as from economic and political perspectives.