EARLY ADULTHOOD FOCUS 1
27year old Hailey sits in an isolated corner in a rehab Centre. Shewears a big smile on her face as she stares at a notebook she’sholding in her hands. In between her smiles, a tear drops from bothher eyes, which she seems not to notice. My wild guess, this is noanomaly to her. Drawn to her imaginations, she seems to haveforgotten my presence. I reluctantly take some few steps backwardcontemplating whether to embrace her or give her a moment by herself.A young lady probably Hailey’s age approaches me and whispers, “Sheis holding her now”. I smile and sigh with relief.
Haileyis the first born in a family of three girls. Her parents werepastors and very strict. A word that she uses severally in ourinterview, “I had no life”. Her life revolved around school, homeand church. She barely had any friends. Moreover, she was not allowedto talk to people of the opposite sex to the exception of familymembers. She was told that boys will infect her with some contagiousdisease. It was only when she grew older, that she realized that itwas a lie.
Justafter high school, she met a young man on her way home from church.“He was handsome” she says. They exchanged contacts and shestarted sneaking out to meet him. Few months after their secretaffair, she realized she was pregnant. This was a big downfall in herlife as she didn’t know how to break the news to her parents. “Ithought they would kill me” she says. So she decided to run awayfrom home and go live with her secret boyfriend. He had just finisheduniversity and had landed himself a job. She says that he was a goodman and very mature. He accepted to take responsibility and theysettled together as husband and wife. She refused to go back to herparents’ house no matter how hard they tried.
Hernew life was exciting as she had freedom to do as she wished. Sheengaged herself in alcoholism while still pregnant. She was good athiding this from her husband as he had no clue of what was happening.Miraculously, she bore a healthy baby girl. When her baby girlstarted walking she soon resumed to her drinking behavior with hernew friends. Her drinking aggravatedthat she barely took care ofher baby. Her husband became aware of her behavior but his efforts tosave her bore no fruits. Seven years of drinking made her lose herfamily. After going through agonizing Turmoil she went to rehab andit has now been one year since she checked in. The notebook she heldin her hand, had a photo of her husband and baby. Being a youngmother and marrying young, is something she did not expect. She haddreams of going to university and getting herself a good job thensettling down after she had accomplished all that. She swore to getherself better for them. She realized she had never been a mother toher baby and wife to her husband. She has since reconciled with herparents and wants to be a good role model to her siblings.
Researchershave proved that socialization is important for the development ofchildren (Turansky, n.d.). Individuals require socialization so as togrow, learn and experience the different stages in life that teachesthem what they need to know about life. The process of socializationbegins from the onset of life. Keeping children away from the societydeprives them the opportunity to learn the life lessons the societyoffers (Belsky, Steinberg and Draper, 1991). It affects how a childgrows physically and emotionally as interaction with individuals ofboth sexes and different cultures assists in the natural developmentof the brain.
Parentsfeel that they are best endowed with the responsibility of mouldingtheir children. They feel that they know what is best for them.Turansky, says that many individuals are of the belief that childrendevelop best through interacting with their peers. This is howevercriticized critics wonder whether living this responsibility topeers is the best way for children to gain social skills. The criticssay that this only leads to a bunch of children who have esteemissues and only rely on their peers for judgment. This criticism iswhat drives parents to the conclusion that they are better placed toguide their children and instill moral values in them.
However,psychologists feel that the optimal model for children’s socialdevelopment is the one where they have role models who are mature andwho can relate to them in an individual manner. They should exhibithealthy interaction amongst other individuals and offer the childrena chance to practice social relating skills. On the contrary, mostfamilies are not well equipped to make available the necessaryexemplary social skills. This is because, in most cases, theythemselves did not have such models when they grew up.
Studieshave shown that children who are denied social interaction tend to bemore rebellious than those that grew up in a social environment(Belsky, Steinberg and Draper, 1991). Friendships between sexes arevital as it prepares children for future challenges. On the otherhand, contrary to what most parents believe, there are very manyvenues and events for interaction other than schools and churches.Activities such as sports, youth groups, festivals, music groupsenlighten children on how to have productive relationships and usetheir interaction for a positive purpose beneficial to the society. These activities offer ample interactions between peers, wherechildren are exposed to all kinds of behaviours and given theultimate opportunity to decide which behaviour is good and which isnot.
Thisresearch backs up the data revealed when interviewing Hailey. Due toher upbringing, Hailey missed a great part of her teenage life whereshe lacked a social life. Her parents thought that by instilling fearin her by telling her negative ideas of interacting with the oppositesex and cutting them completely from her life, was the best model tomould her into a respectable human being. This however proved to bewrong as she felt withdrawn from the rest of her peers and did notreceive the social skills necessary for development.
Theresearch also shows that children who are denied social interactiontend to be more rebellious. Hailey went against her parents wish andmoved in with her boyfriend amidst their cries. He drinking problemwas propelled by the realization of her new freedom which she hadbeen denied. Such experiences with new friends were alien to her andso she sought to make the best of it. This would have been avoided,had she engaged in other activities such as sports, music groups andother social groups while growing up. Social development provides afoundation of what children can be as they grow (Newman, 2012).
Thedesire to change this aspect of life is the major drive for Hailey.The realization that her alcoholism and early marriage root from thedesire to belong and ‘have a life’ which she did not have, hasmade her want more for her daughter. She says that she wants the bestfor her daughter and though she was brought up in a controlledenvironment, she wants to make a change for her daughter so that shemay not end up like her. Hailey’s life story is one she shares withmany in her vicinity. She tells people that, though she cannotentirely blame her problems to her upbringing, it did play a big roleand that every parent should provide proper guidance to theirchildren, not by locking them up, but by letting them experience lifethrough interacting with others.
1.Interviewer: how did you end up in rehab?
Hailey:after a long denial that I was an alcoholic, I realized that mydrinking had taken away everything I had in my life, and that is myfamily. I therefore realized that I need to do something about it,and so I came to rehab.
2.Interviewer: what do you think is the root to your drinking problem?
Hailey:I did not have a life as I was growing up. After high school, I gotpregnant and run away from home. This gave me freedom to go engage inactivities that I thought were fun. I made new friends who introducedme to drinking and since I did not want to lose them, I followed themto every drinking spree.
3.Interview: how was your life, being a young mother and wife
Hailey:I was very young when I got a baby and decided to get married. Atfirst, it was fun since I had freedom. Then I realized I did not knowhow to take care of a baby or be a wife. All I wanted was use myfreedom and be with my friends.
4.Interviewer: looking back, do you think you made the right decision?
Hailey:I had dreams. I wanted to go to university and have a career and maybe later have a family. I did not expect to get pregnant that earlyor get married. I know I did not make the right decisions in my life,but I was only looking for freedom. I wanted to experience life andhave a life. But now I’m ready to be a mother to my baby girl and awife to my husband.
Belsky,J., Steinberg, L. and Draper, P. (1991), Childhood Experience,Interpersonal
Development,and Reproductive Strategy: An Evolutionary Theory of Socialization.Child Development, 62: 647–670.doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1991.tb01558.x
Newman,B. M., & Newman, P. R. (2012). Developmentthrough life: A psychosocial approach.
Belmont,CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
Turansky, S.(n.d.). Social Development and the Homeschooled Child.Retrieved December 12,