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Critique of the Attached Reading

The reading “Young Adulthood” discusses the transition to young adulthood and the various factors that come into play either aiding or challenging positive development. The author, Holly C. Matto, explores how factors such as foster care, socio-economic status, community attitudes and family expectations, gender and culture among others influence the transition of young adults to adulthood. They affect how the youth view adulthood attachment to the family, and the changes are believed to mark the entrance into adulthood. The ability to make independent decisions, leaving home, financial independence, parenthood, gaining education and vocational skills, and relationship commitment are included among the main changes, which signify adulthood (Hutchison, 2011). These factors may be different depending on the family expectations and culture. However, in all theories, the ability to make independent decisions is an important sign of the transition to adulthood.

Circumstances such as economic status have an effect on the development process. Low socio-economic status will encourage a young person to become independent and transit earlier as they have to look for work in order to fend for themselves and their families. Young people from non-poor families are more likely to have a disrupted transition as they can return home whenever they want. Family expectations may force a young person to stay at home for a longer period than they would like. This is especially true in cultures where the youth are expected to continue living with their parents until or even after the creation of own families. Cognitive and identity development determine how they move into adulthood and adjust to its changes. The level of education and employment status are also crucial when young people become independent from their parents and start a family. Relationships with parents and caregivers also determine how they move into adulthood, experience challenges of low self-esteem, and their relationships with others. This is in line with the life course human development theory which states that lives are interlinked with each other through social relationships and influenced by the social regulation, social support and patterning that occurs through these relationships (Newman & Newman, 2007). These relationships play a big role in the transition to adulthood and in nurturing a mature adult. Some groups are at risk in the transition from late adolescence to early adulthood having challenges such as drug and alcohol abuse that affect their development (Hutchison, 2011). 

Theoretical Value

The theoretical value of the article is its contribution to the interpretation of an individual’s life, especially in early adulthood. It enables one to relate previous experiences and situations with the present day behavior and his/her interactions with other people within society. This is important in understanding an individual and helps social practitioners provide advice and assistance to those under their direction. It also reinforces the main theories of human development and brings out the importance of early adulthood as a psychosocial stage. The reading reinforces Erik Erikson’s theory on human development that each psychosocial stage is characterized by a conflict or crisis that individual must successfully resolve in order to develop a healthy direction (Gines et al., 1998). The reading emphasizes this by discussing the different timing of transition for individuals depending on their psychological readiness. Arnett’s theory of emerging adulthood also recognizes that the transition to adulthood is a personal journey, which most people takes at around 30 years (Hutchison, 2011). Levinson’s theory shows the importance of life structure, especially relationships to individual’s personal development and maturity. This is related to past experience in childhood, and relationships with caregivers and their importance in the transition process. One can move from adolescence to adulthood only when they are psychologically ready. The reading enhances all these theories about the importance of young adulthood in the development of individual as a whole.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The identification of risk groups is important for social workers in order to provide assistance for them and smooth their transition to adulthood. The reading adds to the knowledge of human behavior in the social environment by proving an insight into the challenges that young people encounter during their transition to adulthood. It enables one to understand why young adults from different backgrounds move to adulthood faster or slower than others. It is interesting to learn about the effect of person’s relationships with caregivers and parents on their transition to adulthood. One is related to the hesitance to commit in a relationship, romantic or otherwise, and the lack of confidence in experience as a child and, hence, can help relationships become more positive. The study of cultural values, family expectations, attitudes towards gender roles and the availability of environmental resources will also enable social workers to determine their influence on youth life, decisions and opportunities when working with young people (Hutchison, 2011). The roles taken by each gender in the relationship during the transition to adulthood also contribute to the success or failure of the relationship. These are affected by the attitudes held by the youth towards gender roles and depend largely on their culture and community expectations (Hutchison, 2011).

The major disadvantage is that it encourages stereotyping of youth from different backgrounds making social work practitioners have a predetermined view and attitude towards the individual once they got the background information on youth. This may hinder them from making progress with the person, especially when they do not conform to the stereotype. Social work practitioners must have an open mind when dealing with such cases in order to help individuals with their problems. They should understand human diversity and its effects on human behavior (Zastrow & Kirst-Ashman, 2012). In addition, young people may open up more to social workers if they feel that those do not have a preconceived notion of their problems and solutions to them. Therefore, while the reading provides the insight into specific situations and factors that may affect the transition of young people to adulthood, social work practitioners have to maintain an open mind and deal with each case individually depending on the circumstances.

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