Erik Homburger Erikson

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What would Erik Erikson think of an adolescent working 20 hours per week while attending school?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that there are some elements that need to be addressed in this particular question.  Erikson would suggest that there has to be greater explanation as to the conditions and circumstances in which an adolescent has to work.  For Erikson, one of the primary developmental elements that must take place during the adolescent time period is to search for an identity of self.  The question of what constitutes one's identity is seen in light of external conditions such as peer recognition and understanding of oneself in the light of both social and personal notions of the good.  Working for 20 hours a week can be seen as a part of this process.  Yet, I think that some questions must arise.  If the adolescent is working as a primary wage earner or is working in a condition in which their own self- reflection is precluded because of earning wealth, he might voice some objection to such a condition.  At the same time, Erikson believed that the crisis of self- identity during adolescence is a fluid one.  Adolescents "sample" different notions of self and identity until something that can be appropriated is found.  This is a form of a "psychosocial moratorium," in which individuals are able to discern their own sense of self without great punishment or challenge. If this is precluded because of the element of work, Erikson might voice challenge or objection.  For Erikson, nothing should preclude the adolescent search for self, as this is the time period in which such questions have to be addressed and resolved in order to address the next crisis of emotional intimacy in love that awaits after adolescence.  If working so many hours in a week precludes addressing the issue of identity, Erikson would not be in strong advocacy of it.

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tan335 | Student

It depends what age you are at.

If you are less than 40 and working part-time while going to school, you are still in the stage of looking for love. Being busy does help take away your loneliness temporarily, but is not a cure. If you fail to develop a deep and meaningful relationships with family and friend, you will never know how to do that after 40. Your failure might result in isolation and may never have a never romantic relationship either. It is vital that you spend time with your closed ones, be generous with your words, and thoughtful with your gifts.

If you are above 40, still going to school signals that you have not got where you you want to be in your career. From 40 to retired age of 65, most people want to leave their marks in lives (Generativity). If your financial state is so bad that you can only think about your survival, you will fail this stage (Stagnation). The consequence is your feeling unproductive, and bitter or mid-life crisis because secretly, you want to give like others. Unless you catch up on your bucket list, you probably would charity your will.

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