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Adolescence is the age of the final establishment of a dominant positive ego identity It is then that a future within reach becomes part of the conscious life plan Erikson 63 p306 Adolescence is the turning point In Greek it is the moment after which the future is redirected and confirmed It would seem reasonable that much thought would be given to how to use this critical period to reinforce the positive self-image so important for growth Rather many parents teachers and clergy are unprepared to help guide these budding personalities Ignorant or apathetic or in dread of this confusing rebellious stage techniques are used to deal with teens that usually fail to maximize the tremendous potential adolescence offers Various researchers and scholars including Erik Erikson have marked adolescence as a critical period if not the most critical period in human development--the fork in the road which forever shapes an individuals and mankinds destiny Indeed social scientists argue that our societies ultimately mirror the results of the adolescent development process Erik Erikson discusses the importance of adolescent development to society--especially the tendency for societies to operate without a central ethos to go with the flow What is described as a Protean personality today may in fact be an attempt on the part of adolescent personalities--and America has always cultivated them--to adjust to overwhelming change by a stance of deliberate changeability of maintaining the initiative by playing at change so as to stay ahead of the gameThose who are gifted in this game and therefore truly playful in it may with luck make it an essential part of their identity formation and find a new sense of centrality and originality in the flux of our timeNo wonder that the playing out of theseroles can often give a fleeting sense of identity only when reinforced by drugs which help to dull diffuse guiltAnd the consequence is not greater freedom in informed permissiveness but an inability to personify
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