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Human Development: the Meaning of Emerging Adulthood

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 As time goes by, everything changes and as the world changes, so does the people. Psychology designates human life into few stages as their age gets older. For example, infants become children, children become teenagers, and suddenly a teenager becomes an adult. What exactly is an adult? Is it when you finally turn 18 and become responsible enough to do certain things like move out your parent’s house and get married? Or is it when you become 21 years old and you can finally have a legal drink? Society has always put roles on our lives on how we should do things orderly such as finish high school, go to college, get a good career, find a partner, get married, and have children as my mother wishes. 

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My mother always mentions how when she was my age today, she had 2 children and was managing a house of 7 people. However, in today’s world, according to Arnett, “becoming an adult is not defined by the roles you have, but the transitions and the experiences that signal the independence from parents and acceptance of personal responsibility”. Bronfenbrenner is a Russian Psychologist who created the ecological theory of development where he introduced 5 important keys that develop an individual throughout their life. He talked about how an individual can be affected by the environment that is around them and how the external forces can influence the person with their development. In this paper, I will discuss how Bronfenbrenner’s ecological system specifically microsystem, macro system, and chronosystem has influenced me into who I am today social emotionally and what the future has in hold for me.

As we become adults, certain significant changes occur physically, cognitively, and emotionally. This is when phases of development become risky and there is a lot of external influences on us both social-emotionally and physically. At this emerging adulthood age we don’t really need the constant parental checks but were not fully ready to be an adult either. As Arnett states, “emerging adulthood is having left the dependency of childhood and adolescence, and having not yet entered the enduring responsibilities that are normative in adulthood”. Growing up, my mother always told us that we humans are the outcome of the environment around us. I grew up in a very traditional Turkish house that had rules me and my siblings had to follow. Our minds were already adults by the age of 9 because of how we were raised which made me a different person because I was always stuck between “should I do what I want to or do what my mom would want me to do.” The microsystem in the ecological theory is the closest interactions someone has with their families and friends. It is also the most influential because you spend a lot of time with those people. It is also bidirectional because its not you who gets influenced only but the people around you as well such as our parents. For example, growing up I always had a personal relationship with my mother it wasn’t so close but there was something there. We always went back and forth, I wouldn’t say I rebelled towards her but I always created my own path and went that way. 

However, my older sister always went my mother’s way and always listened and did what my mom asked her to do but she never did what she personally wanted to on the inside. Going to college made this difference for me because it opened me up and gave me a different perspective of life whereas for my older sister all she did is work with my mom and do everything with her. Me and my sister experienced very different environments therefore my mother always thought that I was “different” because I always chose to go my own way and find myself. This was bidirectional because my mother always got touched by my actions. She always wanted to go the old “Turkish way” of doing things and she wanted us to do the same.

The macro system from the ecological model means the most to me because it has influenced me the most into who I am today. The macro system is the culture morals, customs, and values that people share. Coming from a different country with low socioeconomic status and with different morals and values was a big change for me. I grew up in Russia until I was 9-year-old. We grew up in a very poor town with 11 people in two-bedroom house. We always had responsibilities at such young age. For example, me and my sisters were around 6-7 cleaning cooking washing rugs outside I would never forget. Coming here was a very big change because my mother was always scared we would become “American.” She was always scared that we would loose our values and culture. For example, in our culture we cant date or go out anywhere such as clubs bars and parties. So when I came here and went to high school and as I was starting college I changed a lot and it was a big shock for my mother. She always wanted me to do things her way and things that other kids my age wasn’t doing. I started to work two jobs which was my own choice because we came from a struggled place but America gave us an opportunity to change and become better so I was always in ease with working in high school and helping my family pay bills. 

My friends were always shocked at how we always worked and worked because they didn’t know from where I came from. I always remember people telling me “Europeans are always working and driving nice cars,” thats true because we know where we came from and we wouldn’t want to stay there at all. My mother did appreciate me working but when it came to going out with my friends she always remained the same. No no no! She always cared about what other people will say. In our culture, people talk a lot and every time a kid does something everyone talks about the parents. Therefore, every time I asked her can I go out she never let me. I remember on my high school graduation when I rebelled against her and just did my own thing and I told her I respect her and her rules but its time for me to be who I am and act my age. The culture always follows no matter what I still have same values and beliefs but not as old fashioned like her. I always wanted to act my age and do stuff kids my age did because every time I compared my self to my peers I was always the responsible mature one that always had to think twice before I did anything.

Coming to America was a big change for me and my family. It was a huge transition that I will never forget because it made me into a whole different person that I would have been if I was still in Russia. The chronosystem in the ecological model describes the major decisions that happens in a person’s life span and I would say immigrating to America was a big one for me. I became an adult without even realizing and developed an identity that made me a different person. The ecological theory helps development in such a way that influences the person emotionally and socially. I personally believe that the environment the person grows in shapes them into who they are and that it is so influential in terms of their development. Even though my mother was strict she was also very affectionate and nurturing as well as my father. When I was young all my friends fathers were mean and very aggressive towards them. Whereas, my father was very calm and understanding towards us. This shaped me into being caring and nurturing and when I have children in the future I will be the same in terms of being affectionate and understanding towards them. I will make sure my children have positive and happy microsystems around them and help them develop into a positive happy person.  

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