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Youth as a psychological age

Throughout the history of mankind, the process of growing up lengthens with the growth of requirements (professional, legal, moral, etc.) for a member of society, and taking into account the ability of society to bear additional costs for the long-term maintenance and training of the younger generation. The youthful age was distinguished historically recently, and it became a universal phenomenon that encompasses both boys and girls and all sectors of society only from the end of the 19th century, with the development of industrialization and urbanization. The youth period is part of the expanded transitional phase from childhood to adulthood, more precisely, from adolescence to an independent adult life. However, youth is a relatively independent period of life, which has its own value.

The chronological boundaries of youth are defined differently in psychology. The border between adolescence and adolescence is rather arbitrary, and in some periodization schemes (mainly in Western psychology), ages from 14 to 17 years are considered to be the end of adolescence, and in others they are considered youth.

The upper boundary of the period of youth is even more blurred, because historically and socially determined and individually changeable. Why is it so difficult to determine the moment of crossing the border of adulthood?

The term "adulthood" is ambiguous. Biological maturity is determined by the achievement of puberty, the ability to bear children; social - economic independence, acceptance of the roles of an adult, the concept of psychological maturity is associated with a mature personal identity. The criterion for achieving adulthood (growing up) in human society is the mastery of culture, a system of knowledge, values, norms, social traditions, preparedness for the implementation of various types of labor.

The interpretation of youth as a period of ontogenetic development depends on the fundamental principles of the authors of one or another approach.

Biogenetic theories believe that it is biological growth processes that determine all other aspects of development, and consider youth primarily as a stage in the development of an organism, characterized by a powerful growth of various abilities and functions and achievements of the highest level.

Psychoanalytic theories (3. Freud, A. Freud) see a certain stage of psychosexual development in youth, when the influx of instinctive energy of the libido must be compensated by the protective mechanisms of the self. The struggle of tendencies on the part of Ono and I is manifested in increasing anxiety and increasing conflict situations, which gradually as a new harmony is established, I and It are overcome.

In contrast to psychoanalysis, E. Spranger believed that in adolescence the individual grows into the culture, "into the objective and normative spirit of this era."

In the psychosocial theory of E. Erickson during adolescence and youth, the central task of achieving identity, creating a consistent image of oneself in a multiplicity of choices (roles, partners, communication groups, etc.) should be solved.

Sociological theories of youth consider it primarily as a certain stage of socialization, as a transition from dependent childhood to independent and responsible adult activity with decisive determination on the part of society.

Psychological theories attach the greatest importance to the subjective side, the characteristic features of the inner world and the self-consciousness of the growing individual, his contribution as an active creator of his own growing up.
A variety of individual options for the transition to adulthood has led to the fact that in recent decades, researchers are increasingly using the concept of tasks and development. First of all, they were formulated in the field of youth psychology. The solution of age-related problems is defined as the appearance of a person's ability to solve certain problems.

So, R. Havighurst in the period of growing up identified such age-related tasks:

- the adoption of their own appearance, awareness of the characteristics of their body and the formation of skills to effectively use it (in work, sports, etc.);

- assimilation of the male or female role (folding the individual structure of one’s tender behavior, one’s “image” of the gender role, the internal position of a man or woman; for example, for a girl it can be the image of a “Turgenev girl”, “her board” girl or “fatal beauty ");

- establishing new and more mature relationships with peers of both sexes;

- gaining emotional independence from parents and other adults;

- preparation for a professional career, training is aimed at obtaining a profession (at a university or directly at the workplace, and even at school - with a differentiated attitude to different subjects, when attending preparatory courses);

- preparation for marriage and family life, the acquisition of knowledge and social readiness to assume the responsibility associated with partnership and family;

- the formation of socially responsible behavior, civic engagement (including political, ideological, environmental, etc.);

- building an internal system of values ​​and ethical consciousness as a guide for behavior.

Development tasks include orienting and determining one's place in the adult world, accepting and mastering social roles, resolving role conflicts, and further improving strategies to overcome difficulties. Some of these tasks are more characteristic of the first period of adulthood, of adolescence, while others are of youth.

In Russian psychology, youth is seen as the psychological age of transition to independence, a period of self-determination, the acquisition of mental, ideological and civic maturity, the formation of a worldview, moral consciousness and self-awareness. Most often, researchers identify early adolescence (from 15 to 18 years) and late adolescence (from 18 to 23 years).
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Youth as a psychological age

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