Essay adult child perspective section

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Edited by Marina Benjamin. Adolescence as an idea and as an experience grew out of the more general elevation of childhood as an ideal throughout the Western world. By the closing decades of the 19th century, nations defined the quality of their cultures by the treatment of their children. The stories of Beatrix Potter, L Frank Baum and Lewis Carroll celebrated the wonderland of childhood through pastoral imagining and lands of oz.

The United States went further. As the US economy grew, it relied on a complex immigrant population whose young people were potentially problematic as workers and citizens. To protect them from degrading work, and society from the problems that they could create by idling on the streets, the sheltering umbrella of adolescence became a means to extend their socialisation as children into later years.

The concept of adolescence also stimulated Americans to create institutions that could guide adolescents during this later period of childhood; and, as they did so, adolescence became a potent category. But adolescence soon became a vision of normal development that was applicable to all youth — its bridging character connecting childhood and adulthood giving young Americans a structured way to prepare for mating and work.

In the 21st century, the bridge is sagging at both ends as the innocence of childhood has become more difficult to protect, and adulthood is long delayed.

While adolescence once helped frame many matters regarding the teen years, it is no longer an adequate way to understand what is happening to the youth population. And it no longer offers a roadmap for how they can be expected to mature. These became the touchstone of most discussions about adolescence for the next several decades. But in the US, it became the basis for elaborate and consequential intellectual reflections, and for the creation of new institutions that came to define adolescence.

Though the physical expression of puberty is often associated with a ritual process, there was nothing in puberty that required the particular cultural practices that grew around it in the US as the century progressed. As the anthropologist Margaret Mead argued in the s, American adolescence was a product of the particular drives of American life. Rather than simply being a turning point leading to sexual maturity and a sign of adulthood, Hall proposed that adolescence was a critical stage of development with a variety of special attributes all of its own.

But he also associated them with the new science of evolution that early in the century enveloped a variety of theoretical perspectives in a scientific aura.


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Hall believed that adolescence mirrored a critical stage in the history of human development, through which human ancestors moved as they developed their full capacities. In this way, he endowed adolescence with great significance since it connected the individual life course to larger evolutionary purposes: at once a personal transition and an expression of human history, adolescence became an elemental experience. Rather than a short juncture, it was a highway of multiple transformations. Since adolescents were not quite adults, they were malleable enough to be reformed in ways that would improve their prospects and maintain the US promise.

Hall made the transformational period of adolescence as important as childhood, but adolescents were also viewed as more problematic than younger children, and their potential for misbehaviour more dangerous. The juvenile court, which Addams helped to set up, was a response to these dangers and a means to enlist abundant youthful energy toward more positive goals.


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By viewing adolescents as malleable as well as potent, the juvenile court emphasised growth and socialisation, with a view to turning potential law-breakers into good, reliable citizens. Reformers such as Addams looked to the court to help redirect the energies of youth, outraged by what they saw as the abuse of children in industrial production. Their concern was that unhappy young workers would also find alternatives to their drudgery. Urban activists, concerned that the dislocations of immigration and rapid city growth would perpetrate both child labour and juvenile crime, hoped that the juvenile court would protect and guide youth who seemed adrift.

This court gave young offenders protection from the full force of adult law and criminal responsibility; not least, their records were sealed so as not to taint the future. Distinctly paternalistic in its design, the juvenile court aimed to nurture young offenders toward personal responsibility. In extending to adolescents the protections of childhood, the court supervised a wide variety of youthful misbehaviours, such as smoking and sexual activity, while inscribing the delayed maturity of adolescence into the social fabric.

A s with social reformers, so with educators. Taking up the banner of adolescence, educators reimagined the US public high school as an institution that could address the needs of immigrants and other Americans, while maintaining a democratic idiom in a transforming world. Many of these educational reformers were inspired by John Dewey who hoped to reinvigorate democracy by looking to the potential of the young as participants in their own instruction.

Toward this end, they transformed the US high school into a socialising institution for adolescents.

On a much grander scale than the juvenile court, the publicly financed comprehensive high school became possibly the most distinctly American invention of the 20th century. As a democratic institution for all, not just a select few who had previously attended academies, it incorporated the visions of adolescence as a critically important period of personal development, and eventually came to define that period of life for the majority of Americans. In its creation, educators opened doors of educational opportunity while supervising rambunctious young people in an environment that was social as well as instructional.

In order to accommodate the needs of a great variety of students — vastly compounded by the many different sources of immigration — the US high school moved rapidly from being the site of education in subjects such as algebra and Latin the basis for most instruction in the 19th century US and elsewhere in the West to becoming an institution where adolescents could learn vocational and business skills, and join sports teams, musical productions, language clubs and cooking classes.

Educators opened wide the doors of the high school because they were intent on keeping students there for as long as possible. Eager to engage the attention of immigrant youth, urban high schools made many adjustments to the curriculum as well as to the social environment. Because second-generation immigrants needed to learn a new way of life, keeping them in school longer was one of the major aims of the transformed high school.

They succeeded beyond all possible expectations. By the early s, half of all US youth between 14 and 17 was in school; by , it was 79 per cent: astonishing figures when compared with the single-digit attendance at more elite and academically focused institutions in the rest of the Western world. Yes, poems can be submitted.

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It will be judged by poet and author Marly Youmans. More on this to come. Many authors at this point are not asking for payment for community or other reasons. Individual, short agreements will be signed between each author and Gary Dietz, Dads of Disability author and publisher. Gary will retain all rights to the stories for use in this and future editions and other forms of print and online media including spoken word, film, blogs, and future editions.

If the writer desires, mutual rights for the individual to re-sell or reprint the piece in another form or source will be granted 18 months after the physical release of the book. The submitter you and the author Gary will execute a short agreement. Submitters must attest to the fact that the materials are their own, have not been published elsewhere or if they have been published elsewhere that they still have the rights to assign to me for this project exclusively for the next 18 months.

The details about this topic in this short FAQ should not be viewed as a contract. Only signed agreements between submitter and author shall be binding. Yes, drawings can be submitted. I seek stories by fathers of color, of Asian descent, and of non-white races. I seek experiences of fathers of all economic and cultural backgrounds. I realize as a writer and an editor, I will introduce my own biases. I hope to get as many authentic voices included to minimize my bias as much as possible. The Kickstarter for this project will commence near the start of July animated Kickstarter video is in progress.

The book itself is targeted for completion no later than early earlier if the Kickstarter is very successful. And in the best of cases, good pieces not used in the first book will be used in a follow-up edition.

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This book is not currently my full-time job and email and phone communications may take place outside of normal business hours. To let me know you want to stay in touch, use this form. Or email directly at gdietz garydietz. Pingback: Poetry Contest Dads of Disability. Pingback: Why am I writing a book? Dads of Disability. Improve brain function. Playing chess, completing puzzles, or pursuing other fun activities that challenge the brain can help prevent memory problems and improve brain function. The social interaction of playing with family and friends can also help ward off stress and depression.

Stimulate the mind and boost creativity. Young children often learn best when they are playing—a principle that applies to adults, as well. Play can also stimulate your imagination, helping you adapt and solve problems. Improve relationships and your connection to others. Sharing laughter and fun can foster empathy, compassion, trust, and intimacy with others. Developing a playful nature can help you loosen up in stressful situations, break the ice with strangers, make new friends, and form new business relationships.

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Keep you feeling young and energetic. Play is one of the most effective tools for keeping relationships fresh and exciting. Playing together brings joy, vitality, and resilience to relationships.

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Play can also heal resentments, disagreements, and hurts. Through regular play, we learn to trust one another and feel safe. Trust enables us to work together, open ourselves to intimacy, and try new things. By making a conscious effort to incorporate more humor and play into your daily interactions, you can improve the quality of your love relationships—as well as your connections with co-workers, family members, and friends.