Life Situation Issues in Adolescence

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  • 0:03 Adolescence
  • 1:12 Emancipation
  • 3:15 Work
  • 5:01 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Natalie Boyd

Natalie is a teacher and holds an MA in English Education and is in progress on her PhD in psychology.

Adolescence can be a difficult time, but some teens face life situations that can make it more difficult. Watch this lesson to find out how emancipation and part-time work affect adolescents' lives and the positives and negatives of each.


Colin is 16, and he's fed up. He and his stepfather fight all the time, and sometimes his stepfather gets violent with him. His mother is constantly taking his stepfather's side, and Colin feels left out and frustrated. In just a couple of years, he'll be 18, and then he can go wherever he wants and do whatever he wants. But he's not sure he can last another two years in this house.

Colin is in adolescence, or the time between childhood and adulthood. There are a lot of changes that go on at that point in a person's life. They change physically, emotionally, socially and intellectually.

The purpose of adolescence is to transform a person from a child into an adult. By the time someone, like Colin, is through adolescence, he will be around age 20 and a full-fledged adult. But getting to that point can put stress on a family, as Colin is experiencing. Let's look closer at two life issues in adolescence: emancipation and work.


Colin is struggling at home. He and his stepdad don't get along at all, and his mother takes his stepfather's side. Colin is miserable, and it's affecting him in negative ways. He feels depressed and angry, and his grades at school have gone down.

One of Colin's friends suggested that Colin look into emancipation, which is when a teenager can get the legal rights of an adult. It's essentially like divorcing his parents: Colin would be able to move out on his own and live his own life without his parents there.

Colin is one of many adolescents who are interested in emancipation or in moving out on their own without the legal designation of emancipation. There are both positives and negatives of teens living on their own, and each person has to make the decision about what's right for them.

In the 'good' column, emancipation helps teens, like Colin, escape bad home situations. This could be simply tension at home, or it could be abuse or neglect or a parent who has substance abuse issues. But when an adolescent is exposed to a bad home situation, it can be a very positive thing for them to move out and be on their own.

On the other hand, there are some negatives about emancipation, too. Most teens who live on their own do not finish high school, and those who do often say that it's much tougher to do so. Whether it's because of the stress of maintaining a household or whether it's because their parents aren't there to monitor and help them with school, most high school students who live on their own do not have the same level of educational attainment as those who live with their parents.

So, should Colin try to become emancipated? It depends. On one hand, it could make his life easier when he's away from his stepfather. On the other, it could make his life harder in terms of his academics. Only Colin can weigh the choice and decide if it's right for him.

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