I interviewed a girl that lives close to me. She explained her high school story to me, involving friends, family, peers, bullies, and boys. The interview was done as if it were only 2 people talking because I didn’t want her to feel any pressure. She explained what it was like going through puberty by herself, without the help of anyone. How the first two years of high school were and how she disliked it. How after she came back from her summer after sophomore year, she had no problems with anyone and explained how she had a boyfriend for a while.
The girl I interviewed relates to plenty of topics that were discussed in the class like, self-esteem, peers, popularity, groups, bullies, family and sexuality. I interviewed an adolescent that lived very close to me. She is a senior in High School, getting ready for Prom and all the fun senior privileges she is able to do. She is a regular girl going through a regular life in High School. She does well in school, never got in trouble. The way I interviewed her, was not based on a question and answer type of an interview.
I listened to what she had to tell me about her life. She talked about friends, family, school, and boys. She started off telling me about how she dealt with going through puberty; she said that she went through it alone. When she first received her period, she figured out everything herself without having her mom’s or doctor’s help. This shows a sense of autonomy and how she expressed a sense of independence where she figured out what was going on with her body by using sources like the internet. She then mentioned her struggled with her weight.
She told me that she wanted to be skinny like all of the other girls at school, and the women she saw in magazines and T. V. shows. She tried to starve herself to get skinny and ended up in the hospital. She then decided to lose weight more efficiently by eating healthy and working out. She made social comparisons about herself to the other girls in her high school and the women she idolized in magazines and T. V. shows. She then talked about the beginning of high school and how she only had a very few handful of friends, mostly tended to be girls.
This is due to “The Sex Cleavage”; girls hang out with girls and boys, with boys (Feldman, 2008). But as adolescents get older, hormones kick in and they being to find the opposite sex attractive and want to be friends with the opposite sex. She went on talking about the popular kids mostly guys that would make fun of her because she was not part of their clique or not cool enough to be their friends. As an adolescent, friends are a very important to have. But she had to deal with male that were not trying to be her friend, but were bullies towards her which lowered her self-esteem even more (Feldman, 2008).
They bullied her because she was not popular; this type of an adolescent is referred to as “rejected adolescent” (Feldman, 2008). A rejected adolescent is someone that has very few friends, doesn’t really engage in social activities and more likely to feel lonely. Bullying is a common experience for many children and adolescents. Surveys indicate that as many as half of all children are bullied at some time during their school years, and at least 10% are bullied on a regular basis (Feldman, 2008). She told me that when she went back to school for her junior year, no body made fun of her.
She explained it as if she had “blossomed” and that’s why no one made fun of her. She seemed please when she told me. This type of an adolescent if known to be a “popular adolescent”, these adolescence have more friends, are liked by most people and don’t feel lonely at all due to the fact they have a lot of friends (Feldman, 2008). She hadn’t had a problem until her beginning of senior year. There were two rumors that were spread around the high school about her. These two rumors did not affect her she stated while telling the event.
Her new popularity status gave her the confidence boost to not let the rumors affect her and not bring her down. She discovered her identity, and embraced it. She then on went about her family. She grew up in a strict family home were her parents were not born in America, but from Poland like myself. She said that they were very strict with what she could and could not do. She had a strict curfew also, she was basically locked up and was not allowed to do things her friends could do. They were using an Authoritarian parenting style (Feldman, 2008). Their relationship with a child is where the parent’s word is law.
Authoritarian parents do not engage in discussions with their teen and family rules and standards are not debated. But when she turned 18 they gave her more freedom, she was allowed to stay out later, go to parties, and do pretty much what her friends did. This type of parenting style is known as “Authoritative”, were the parents and somewhat strict, but let the adolescent have a sense of independence (Feldman, 2008). Authoritative parents engage in discussions and debates with their adolescent, although ultimate responsibility reside with the parent (Kroger, 2004).
Research demonstrates that adolescents of authoritative parents learn how to negotiate and engage in discussions. They understand that their opinions are valued. As a result, they are more likely to be socially competent, responsible, and autonomous Authoritarian parents believe the adolescent should accept, without question, the rules and practices that they establish (Kroger, 2004). Research reveals that adolescents of authoritarian parents learn that following parental rules and listening to strict discipline is valued over independent behavior.
As a result, adolescents may become rebellious or dependent. The adolescence which becomes rebellious might display aggressive behaviors. Adolescents who are more submissive tend to remain dependent on their parents (Kroger, 2004). She talked about her friends and how she didn’t have any problems with them. She stayed friends with the people that had the same interests as her and hadn’t changed her friends throughout high school. She was part of her own crowd that did not do any illegal or violent things to themselves or other people.
She went on talking about how other kids were acting, doing drugs, and having sex, drinking alcohol, doing everything they can just to make them seem like their cool doing these “adult” things. Adolescence always wants to try to be like their peers . During adolescence, they are looking for ways to separate from their families and begin to define themselves as individuals. To define their individualism, they turn to friends for guidance and direction (Kroger, 2004). They tend to mimic their peer’s behaviors and take up the same attitudes.
Conforming to social norms helps them redefine themselves while earning them acceptance and approval. For adolescence, fitting in to the crown makes them feels good and wanted by someone other than their parents (Kroger, 2004). The final topic which she brought up was her sexuality. She had only one boyfriend, the summer after her sophomore year up until the spring of junior year. She said that they were in love and both were happy with one another, but then school got in the way so they broke up. She went through depression and did end up hurting herself.
She had her parents to help her through it. She told me that they will always have a special connection whenever their together because they “love” each other. She had a type of “bonding” on this boy. She also mentioned that she was also sexually active. She was part of the 80% of adolescence having sex before being 20 years old (Feldman, 2008). She made her way through Sternberg’s theory of love up to “passion”, but didn’t reach commitment due to the fact that they broke up. She hadn’t mentioned sexual orientation, but made a comment of experimenting at a party once.
She also falls into the 10% of girls experimenting with the same sex (Feldman, 2008). From my interview, it showed that an average adolescent does interact with the problems learned in class. She had self-esteem issues, strict parents, being bullied and not fitting in with the popular crowd. From the outside, a stranger would think that there would have been nothing ever wrong with her, but talking about her made me think if I was the same way during high school. Makes me wonder did I go through the same problems. My interview helped me understand more about adolescence and how they go about their lives as adolescence.
Courtney from Study Moose
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