Growing up into an adult, many individuals believe life will simply unroll the life envisioned as a child. Individuals do not always stop to think about the obstacles one may face as in the different stages of adulthood. For many individuals, parenthood is a naturally expected event in adulthood. Women primarily think of becoming a mother but do not necessarily think of the possibility of motherhood as a single parent. The majority of people believe that parenthood will come naturally and without complications. This misunderstanding can cause stress for many who enter parenthood early in life. The transition into adulthood has many changes in which an individual needs time to adjust and cope with. Parenthood occurring during the same time as the transition into adulthood can cause added stress for some, yet can be a positive contributor to the well being and adjustment of an individual into adulthood (Rothrauff & Cooney, 2008). Early Adulthood
Every individual enters adulthood at his or her own pace and at different ages. One key of the five defining moments of adulthood happens to be parenthood. In the past entering parenthood upon entering adulthood was seen as normal. Women would stay home to care for children and men provided financially for families. Nowadays, many individuals are delaying parenthood opting instead to further education, pursue a career, purchase a home or automobile, and taking more time to become better acquainted with a potential spouse. Some people believe cohabiting prior to marriage will improve his or her chances of a successful marriage. Women in today’s society are becoming further educated and establishing careers before entering parenthood. Thus, these women choose to juggle careers and parenthood unlike women in the early 1900s (University of Phoenix, 2002). By postponing parenthood many young adults have the opportunity to transition into adulthood as better adjusted individuals. Individuals who enter adulthood early in adulthood sometimes do so because of a weak relationship with his or her parents (Rothrauff & Cooney, 2008). Effects on Early Adulthood
Some individuals may transition into adulthood at an earlier age than others due to an individual’s environment such as housing accommodations, financial
need, or family negligence. At times, primarily in single parent homes, a child must enter early adulthood to help his or her parent support other children, care for younger siblings, or because he or she has entered parenthood. Studies suggest entering adulthood prematurely such as starting a family a younger than usual age, can have negative effects on an individual. Parenthood can cause stress to a young adult by delaying further education and establishment of a successful career. If an individual becomes a single parent, the feeling of failing at a relationship or not being able to provide properly for a child can cause depression and even anger problems. A young parent may not have developed the proper skills to control his or her emotions and may suffer more psychologically than an adult who waits to enter parenthood later in life (Rustenbach, & McHale, 2008).
Unfortunately, individuals who enter parenthood prematurely or before he or she is ready emotionally, failed relationships with the other parent are common. Individuals who have not transitioned smoothly into adulthood tend to make decisions that are not best for them. Some become involved with partners with whom he or she is not compatible with but still enter parenthood with an unsuitable mate. Although involved with an incompatible partner, an individual may express more anger and when the relationship ends or becomes unlivable, an individual can become depressed. The longing to return to school but the inability to because of the need to care children physically and financially is greater, depression can set in. The inability to have financial stability due to the lack of education can also contribute to depression in an individual. Many young adults do not realize a long-term commitment to another such as in marriage requires time to adjust and learn how to cohabitate. When parenthood interferes with a couples adjusting and becoming accustomed to living together stress, anger, and depression can cause strain on the relationship (Rustenbach, & McHale, 2008). Parent – Child Relationships
Although parenthood can have a negative outcome on some, parenthood also can be a positive experience for others. Individuals who have strong bonds or good relationships with his or her parents, finish college, and establish careers are more likely to enjoy parenthood. People that graduate from high
school and enter parenthood along with adulthood can at times become stressed, but if she or he has a strong relationship with his or her parents, parenthood can be more pleasant. When one grows up feeling loved and supported, he or she enters not only adulthood but also parenthood knowing he or she will have a loved one available to help if needed. Entering parenthood can make one believe he or she has made a successful accomplishment. Seeing a baby grow and develop with the help of a parent can help an individual believe he or she is successful if only in one aspect of his or her life. Growing up into an adult with good healthy relationships with an individual’s parents can also help one be a good parent. Everyone learns from older family members and thus parenting skills are passed down from generation to generation although each generation does grow in his or her parenting skills. Being raised with poor parenting skills can result in an individual displaying poor parenting skills upon entering parenthood. Good parenting skills can help an individual adjust and transition into adulthood and parenthood in a positive manner. Learning from one’s own parents can prove to be very useful upon entering adulthood and also parenthood. Sometimes one must learn from a parent’s mistakes or struggles and try to improve by not repeating the same mistake or following the same path (Rothrauff & Cooney, 2008). Readiness
The majority of people are aware of adulthood approaching in his or her late teenage years, some individuals fear becoming adults much less parents. When a child is old enough to understand the financial situation his or her family is in or how difficult a family can be, the child may decide he or she will delay parenthood as long as possible. The child may choose to become better educated but avoid moving out of his or her parents homes for fear of struggling financially. Even after finishing schooling, an individual may choose not purchase a home or other long-term commitments in spite of financial stability. Individuals who do not wish to struggle financially or emotionally will sometimes hold on to child like behavior such as video games or wanting to continue living as if he or she is still a teenager. Going out with friends to the movies, the malls, behaving immaturely are common among individuals wanting to remain as children. Individuals not wanting to experience hardships or negative experiences as
adults may believe holding on to childlike behavior will delay adulthood not realizing the negative effects he or she may experience. By not learning to become responsible, to commit, or to grow psychologically, he or she can experience more failure than if he or she allowed him or herself to transition and adjust into adulthood. The delay into adulthood can also delay parenthood, thus, some individuals might wait too long to enter parenthood or never quite find the right time to start a family (Crawford, 2009). Conclusion
Although adulthood and parenthood can be stressful at times, people can transition into both successfully. By allowing oneself to adjust with adequate time, an individual can lessen the possibility of long-term anger, depression, and better his or her well being. Whether one has a good relationship with his or her own parents or not, one can always work on improving a parent-child relationship. Taking time to learn from older family members and asking for help whenever possible can help one to better adjust. Parenthood is part of adulthood and not everyone will have the opportunity to experience becoming a parent. For those who do or will, taking his or her time to transition into parenthood with a suitable and compatible partner can help ensure his or her experience to be a positive experience. References
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Galambos, N., & Krahn, H. (2008). Depression and Anger Trajectories During the Transition to Adulthood. Journal of Marriage & Family, 70(1), 15-27. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3737.2007.00458.x. Rothrauff, T., & Cooney, T. (2008). The Role of Generativity in Psychological Well-Being: Does it Differ for Childless Adults and Parents? Journal of Adult Development, 15(3/4), 148-159. Doi: 10.1007/s10804-008-9046-7. Schaie, K. W., & Willis, S. L. (2002). Adult Development and Aging [University of Phoenix Custom Edition
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