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Is there a specific and accurate definition of love? The true meaning of love is very difficult to find for adults. Do adolescents mature enough to manage love? It is too complex to define love in one word. Even though adolescents are physically matured like adults, they still need to develop mentally because they are still insecure. Teenagers are like thin glass cups; their appearance and mind seem clean and transparent, but they are delicate and can be broken easily.. I have observed closely from SAT preparation academy called Honors Review Learning Center in Tenafly, New Jersey.
I was in 10th grade geometry class and pre-calculus class to survey, and I also tutor students for extra help. With these I was able to gather that there were seven to eight students in a class room, but they were mostly Asians. There was only one white boy in that class, this was because of the low population of this town; Tenafly has large population of Korean.
When I observed geometry class, I was not able to ask questions from each and every one of them, but I noticed that boys tend to seat with boys while girls seat close to one another.
They are all from same high school, so during the break time, they will gather and hang out together in a classroom. However, in Pre-calculus class, students are from different school, so they seat together without forming any groups or clique. They tend to do things separately even during the break time, like talking on the cell phone, texting with friends, or doing their works.
However, after few days, students get to know one another and they started to seat by genders again. Having noted all this, I decided to focus my observation on gender of adolescents.
After two hours of class, I tutored Jason Moon for extra help. I explained the materials that he did not understand in class. Although, I attended this academy during my high school year, it was only for private tutoring. However, the tradition of intense focus on secondary school education continues to be strong and seems to endure more, than my high school years. Jason is fifteen years old and he is a student of Tenafly High school. Jason’s parent work together, therefore he has to remain in this academy until his mother is done with her job.
However, after two hours of class, Jason seems to lose concentration when he studies with me, so we spend more time talking to each other than studying. Jason is an Asian American student, but his parents are both Asian Asians. When I told him that I attended New York University, he was more interested in parties and girls in the city, instead of the college life in the city. He has very outspoken personality and likes hanging out with friends. He told me he is in a relationship with two girls, although both relationships are not a serious type.
However, one of the girls wants him to be committed. Then, I asked if he had had any sexual relationship with any of them, but he said no. The girl was not born in the United States; she came from Korea several years ago. So, I tried to enlighten him that there are cultural differences in dating. I also told him that Asian women devote themselves to their boyfriends or husbands, and they very serious about commitment issues. However, in America, dating tends to be much less formal. Adolescent boys and girls still go together to events, and they spent more time together informally.
The second girl that Jason was dating was born in the United States. She tends to date less formerly than the other girl, so, she does not want to commit herself to Jason. American adolescents begin dating earlier today than before, and their dating behavior tends to follow a sequence. First, same gender looks for place where they can meet other groups of different gender, mixed gender group arranged to go to the same events together, and adolescent couples begin to date as pairs. It has also been noted that biological maturity has slight effects on the timing of dating for different individual.
Adolescents date for recreation, companionship, intimacy and courtship, but these reasons change along with people’s age. As emerging adulthood, people tend to seek something different apart from their romantic partners. However, dating is usually and generally related to positive development of adolescents. Robert J. Sternberg, a cognitive psychologist, stated that three fundamental qualities of love are passion, intimacy, and commitment. These can be merged into seven different forms of love, which are liking, infatuation, empty love, romantic love, companionate love, fatuous love, and consummate love.
Jason’s relationship with the Asian American girl does not have long term commitment, which means that there are two principal types of love being practice by Jason; infatuation and empty love. However, the first girl was looking for romantic love and companionate love. Feelings of passion appear to be virtually universal characteristic of adolescents’ love, and romantic love is more based on marriage, which is the characteristics of adults, but it is also related to cultural differences of dating behaviors.
Jason told me that he feels more comfortable dating the Asian American girl than the other girl. People of all ages tend to have romantic relationships with people who are similar to them. I inquired from Jason if he feels comfortable talking about their sexual relationship, and he told me, he has not have any sexual relationships with of them yet, but he told me that he has practice other sexual behaviors, but not the sexual intercourse. Kissing and necking are the first sexual experiences most adolescents have with their sexual partner. The next sequential step would be petting.
Therefore, dating and having sexual relationships would vary based on cultural differences. First, sexual intercourse has shown distinct ethnic differences. Recently, it has been noted that African American adolescents are more likely to move quickly to intercourse while Asian Americans are less likely to engage in sexual activity in their adolescences. It would be more accurate and effective if I was able to ask these kinds of questions from girls, but teenagers seem more comfortable discussing these kinds of information to someone of their gender and age group.
I was born in Korea and lived in Korea for more than 15 years; this makes me more conservative about dating and sexual behavior than American students. In South Korea, boys and girls tend to separate themselves more than teenagers in the United States. Basic concepts of having relationship vary from culture to culture. Dating is even less formal in European societies, and also in non-western societies dating is fairly rare. In the United States, hugging and kissing is very common for greeting, but in Korea, the friendliest way of greeting other people is shaking hands.
I was extremely surprised when I first came to America; I saw how they were very open-minded in terms of greeting others. Woman sitting on man’s lap in public is easily seen in America, but in Korea or any other Asian countries this is extremely rare. Moreover, the meaning of dating and having relationship varies in different cultures, but due to the development of technology, such as internet and media, the spread of American and European cultures of dating is fast spreading to Asia. Asian people today have become more aggressive and open-minded.
There are three types of cultural approaches to adolescent sexuality: these are restrictive, semi restrictive, and permissive. American majority culture is probably best classified as semi restrictive. However this is shaded with ambivalence. For instance, the spread of internet had caused teenagers to adapt pornography earlier than before. Spreading of internet and media helps people to live better and comfortable lives, but it can also cause other teenage problems, such as teenage pregnancy and date rape.
Sexual harassment includes mild harassment like name-calling, jokes, while severe harassment involves unwanted touching or sexual contact. Rates of sexual harassment in adolescence are strikingly high and it is often the continuation of patterns of bullying established before adolescence. In addition, females are more likely to be the victims while males are the harassers. Date rape takes place when a person is forced by a romantic partner, date, or has sexual intercourse against the partner’s will.
Although there are no such occurrences of these inappropriate sexual conceptions in my observational place, however, it is more common in urban areas. Dating and relationship is constantly or more rapidly changing over time, not only from cultural differences, but also from advancement in technology. However, it is almost impossible to stop those two components. Based on my observation and my personal experience, the best way to lead the teenagers in right and appropriate manners is keep them active, make them do lots of healthy and productive activities.
Also, by opening up this kind of conversation in the public, it will reduce teenage pregnancy and date rape. Forcing them and keeping them in-door might help at the initial stage, but it will cause even more terrible situations. If we know that our children will eventually date and have sexual relationship with someone, it would be better to teach them how to have a responsible relationship and safe sex before hand. This will reduce the teenage and unwanted pregnancy in our society. Therefore, we should come up with how to create more interesting and entertaining sex education to enlighten our teenagers in public.
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