Youth Sub Culture
Research on contributing factors to negative Research on Contributing Factors to Negative Youth Subculture and Preventing It 26 November 2012 Table of Contents Introduction3 Youth Needs Met In Subculture3 Supporting Youth Before Negative Subculture Does7 Conclusion9 Introduction Youth subculture is a subculture by youths with distinct styles, behaviors and interests. It offers a particular culture to the youth who are looking for someone or some group that they can identify with. The characteristics of the youth subculture differs, it can be expressed through their fashion, speech style, perception and social groups.
Lots of times the youth subculture can be around a certain type of music. There are many kinds of youth subculture out there that allow youths to not only identify with it but to also normalize their expressions according to the subculture they identify with. Some subcultures cultivate the youths to express themselves artistically, such as punk, hip-hop, graffiti, beat boxing, cheerleading and Goth; some normalize their expression of identity, like gangs, nerds, obsession with a sports team, and Emos (Wood, 2003).
However, the danger is when youths are involved in negative subculture like gangs, punk, Goth, hooligans, or even Emos; these subcultures will nurture an antisocial behavior that cause harm to self or others. Around the ages, ten to sixteen years old, they are experiencing a lot of physical, emotional, mental and social changes, thus these are few of the contributing factors to the interest of subculture that will be discussed later on in this paper. This paper will study about the contributing factor and effects of the ever-changing negative youth subculture and how help them.
Youth Needs Met In Subculture Daniel Seigel (2001) communicates that a person’s identity is shaped based on the interaction of how a person’s relationship is harnessed and made sense in the brain. At age of a teenager, a youth, according to Erikson (Stevens, 2008), is in a stage, which a child is neither a child nor an adult. Life gets more complex as there is an inner desire to attempt to create their own identity. Therefore they struggle with social interactions and test their own moral issues.
They have a strong desire to be separated from their own family in order to explore and to identify themselves as an individual but deep down inside, there is a want for that protection of the boundaries provided by the family. Youths are constantly in conflict with themselves let alone with their family and friends. The search is continuous until the inner self is satisfied. It is during this period (Hardy & Laszloffy, 2005) which makes this stage of life vulnerable to negative youth subculture.
Without the right people supporting the youth, they tend to end up with role confusion. Thus, how these youth make sense of their identity (Seigel, 2001) is based on how people build relationships with them. Building relationships is to feed the needs of the inner desire of a person. The subculture provides the needs that a youth crave for which cannot be found in the home. Due to that reason some youths are drawn to a specific subculture. There are a lot of psychological factors that negative subculture provides to the seeking youth which will be discussed in this paper.
Subcultures are different from country to country because youths are still very much dependent on the social-economic and political influence of the area that they are in. The social-economical and political influence youths indirectly through the structure of the family and they can also influence them directly (Falk & Falk, 2005). For example, the political issue of family control like practicing the once child policy in China in 1978 and advocating the ‘Stop at Two’ policy in Singapore in 1975, affects the parenting method towards their children.
Controlled by the government on childbirth, these children became more precious (Settles & Sheng, 2008; Ang & Dion H, 2006), therefore the parenting methods changes to help their children to perform at their best. Some parents become more authoritarian to see the children perform well in the society, however it is also one of the emotional neglects. Inside, they are filled with rage, despair and hopelessness in self; so when the youth finds the negative subculture that provides the emotional needs that the youth yearns for, they take comfort in the new subculture this child has found.
Negative subcultures that appeal to these youth are mainly gangs (Kirby, et al. , 2000). The negative subculture encourages these youth to stand up and fend for them selves, to be resilient by going against the wishes of the family and be rebellious towards authority. With the building of these habits in them, the child will slowly develop antisocial behavior like Conduct Disorder (CD), Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD).
In contrary of this, there is the other parenting effect such as over protective and pampering attitude towards their children. This causes the other kind of subcultures, namely bullies and bimbos. These youths looks and expects the social circle that they are in to give them the same protection, fame and attention that they have gained in their home. The rich, spoilt and showy or smart and sporty kind attracts a certain group of youth who desperately wants the same privilege in the clique and submit to these youths.
Some of the subculture derived from these can be positive if the value of the subculture is healthy, for example sports group that believes building healthy lifestyles can build the youth’s self confidence, self awareness and physical fitness. However if the sports group is about building fame, the youth will strive hard to fit in for fame and will develop antisocial behavior like Conduct Disorder (CD). Such negativism in a subculture will lead these youth to develop a chance of depression and risk. Economics is also one of the contributing factors in subculture. It affects the rich and the poor.
Nowadays most youths will try all means and ways to earn money (Haenfler, 2006). Survey mentioned that some youths, works part time to earn money, some demand from their parents and some work in gangs selling drugs, sex, pirated or illegal items, and even through selling of stolen goods. Research from 1979 till 2009 found that gangs who address the financial needs in a youth are commonly found in either the middle class or the lower class families all over the world (Falk & Falk, 2005) (Williams, 2007) (Wood, 2003) (Kirby, et al. , 2000) (Hardy & Laszloffy, 2005) (Haenfler, 2006).
The biggest contributing factor to a youth is the family. Having a family in Singapore is not cheap; the cost of living in Singapore is high. An household income of a basic needs for a family in 2011 is 35% for a mid-income family with salary of $2000 – $3999; The 39% of the salary is spend on child’s basic education; 4% goes to Central Provident Fund Board (CPF) 75% of the salary earned by are contributed to these parts and parents worked very hard just to send them for tuition (Perception of Policies in Singapore Survey (POPS)(2): Survey on Marriage and Parenthood (M7P) Package 2008, 2011)(MSS Monthly Payment, 2012).
Due to the high demand of living expenses in Singapore, Parents must work very hard to earn a living in Singapore and some parents from that group will have a high tendency to neglect the child’s emotional needs (Ng, Ho, & Ho, 2011). Although some hire maids to help provide basic needs to the family like cleaning, cooking and to attend to the youth, there are some youths who still feel neglected because the maids do not understand their needs. These children will then turn to gangs around their neighborhood.
Some youth come from broken families like abuse, gangs, addicts and homosexual; some youths come from families that are made up of single parent, mix and ideal parents. Families play an important role in providing that security, love, attention and boundaries that a youth need during the search for their identity. When all these needs are met, it develops a good and secure child-parent attachment (Bowlby, 2006). When any of these are lacking, and are not found from the supportive environment such as school and social services, these youths are vulnerable to be drawn into negative youth subcultures.
They will fit themselves according to the youth subculture that meets their craving needs. In Singapore, negative youth subculture that these youth could fit themselves into either Goth, gangs, addicts and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex, and asexual (LGBTQI). It can also happen to youth who comes from an ideal family like the case of Ted Bundy who was executed in 1989 (Michaud & Aynesworth, 2000) Education and Social are another contribution in developing subculture. Singapore has very high standards in terms of education and is well known or their high achievers. It is known to be one of the most drilling education systems in the world. Therefore, youths who are not able to catch up and score good grades are easily put down socially. If a particular group of youths, who are smart, straight A achievers, studies very hard, whose primary hobby is to study or has high IQ are considered nerds. Although this subculture was not created by them but it was label by those who do not have that ability to produce remarkable results (Falk & Falk, 2005).
There are the other extreme end who considered themselves as failures for they are not able to achieve results expected from them and are constantly being put down by schoolmates finds security in gangs. Gangs are able to normalize the expectations people have on them and to create new expectations that are achievable and against people who hurt them (Hardy & Laszloffy, 2005). Socially, youths want to be identified, thus there are also a lot of stress in the social game play known as peer pressure. Youth are constantly under peer pressure. There are a lot of social and moral values that are being tested in friendships.
Some youths are able to stand firm on their own values and make appropriate choices, however there are some youths who are dependent on their friends. They can be so dependent on their friends that they are afraid to loose them; therefore they become easy targets for manipulation and are easily pushed into undesirable subcultures (Falk & Falk, 2005) (Bowlby, 2006). The similarities of all the youth subcultures posses are to provide a protective environment, giving these youths an identity, autonomy and distinctiveness. In return of being in the subculture, they also require youths to be committed and accountable to the leader.
However the downside of it is the existing force of peer pressure, the degrees of pressure differs from each subculture, and to perform and meet expectations. The difference between a subculture and a negative subculture is that the subculture has the potential to support the well being of the youth but the negative subculture has the potential to develop antisocial behavior, depression and risks. Supporting Youth Before Negative Subculture Does The Singapore government understood the need to support the well being of the youths because these youths are the next generation that will succeed the current generation.
Many studies were made to understand the sociology of youth subcultures in Singapore. They also recognize the growth of the diverse subcultures and are fully aware about the negative subcultures impacting youths. There are a total of 1,082,300 youths in Singapore in 2011. 3. 3 out of 1,000 youths are sexually active and are married under parental consent due to pregnancy, and the juveniles (Youth Statistic in Brief 2011, 2011) and youth-at-risk who are arrested are 4,174 youth.
Singapore has also stepped up to give ample services and support to youths so that they will deviate from the negative subcultures that are active in Singapore. Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) has come forward with a system for youths who are ODD and CD. They are given a second chance by going through Guidance Program, for offending youth and Beacon Works or Pre Complaint Counseling for youth Beyond Parental Control before charging them (Management of Juvenile Delinquency in Singapore, 2010).
Singapore has provided a lot of support in helping the youths to either stay away from negative youth subcultures or to help youths detach from it. Some service supports provided to these youth are Youth Care Corners, National Youth Council program, Teen Challenge, Beyond Social Service and ConcernSg. They provide subcultures like creative arts, sports and gaming supervised by social workers. The other supports that can help the youths stay away from negative youth subcultures are family involvement. It is important to understand the youth’s love language in order to fill up their love tank.
Studies shown that the foundations of developmental pattern in a child are how parents build good child-parent relationship and good child-parent relationship develops a secure attachment (Bowlby, 2006). Parents are also able to understand their youth and who they are because parents are very much involved in building relationships with the youth. It is crucial at this point because youths are looking for their identity based on their relationship with people around them. The decisions made by the youths are also very much based on the relationship between people and them because relationship shapes their mindset.
Therefore to build a youth of resilient and good values are very much based on family (Seigel, 2001). There are a few steps that are commonly practiced in bringing up a youth. One of them is to find common interests between you and your youth. If there is no common interest, at least be interested in their interest. Through common interest, the youth finds connection and a voice to express their thoughts. Aspire your youth’s interest and tap on their motivation to learn because interest adds enjoyment to life (Hurlock, 2001).
Talk to them like and adult, and discuss matters calmly so that the youth can understand your point of view. Piaget’s theory on cognitive ability is in two parts; the period of sensorimotor intelligence and the period of conceptual intelligence. This helps a person to mature in the development of understanding. So before your youth are able to understand you, you must first understand them by listening through non-judgmental conversation and then advise them appropriately from your understanding. Such processes helps youths to harness the development of understanding maturely (Ang & Dion H, 2006) (Falk & Falk, 2005).
Social development and adjustment is also crucial for them. Their social circles are ever changing, thus the only people that are constant in their social circles are normally their family members. The other step is to participate in their social relationship. Get to know their friends, allow them to share their experience and feelings about their friends. You will find that some of their friend will change depending on the interest and maturity of understanding between them. As the youths meet social expectations, they tend to have difficulty in learning how to be approved.
Here parents are encouraged to support them in values that are being instilled. Praise them for overcoming their challenges and get them to talk about their challenges and walk with them though it (Stevens, 2008) (Seigel, 2001) (Hardy & Laszloffy, 2005). The last and the most important part of the youth’s growth is their physical development. At this age, there are hormonal changes, physical changes and because of the media influence of a size zero figure, and most youths either have obesity or anorexic disorder. As parents, help them to love themselves by regulating their emotion.
Emotional balance can be controlled in two ways, control the environment, providing positive environment, and the other is to help the youth develop emotional tolerance. You can help your youth to release pent-up emotional energy by giving space for the youth to calm down after emoting negative emotions and talk about their feelings and generate ways to cope negative emotions (Hurlock, 2001) (Bowlby, 2006) (Falk & Falk, 2005). Emotional balance is essential so that they are able to cope with hurtful words hurled at them because of their physic.
Help them to cope with the emotions of growing up, and to look at themself from a positive point of view. When youths are happy they tend to appreciate the uniqueness of himself or herself as an individual. Conclusion Singapore provides lots of parenting programs such as Parenting with Confidence by Focus on the Family, Parenting Seminars by Ed Unloaded and organizations such as Ministry of Social and Family Service. Singapore has stepped up in advocating good parenting styles because they acknowledge that it will determine and help steer youths away from negative youth subculture.
It also builds resilience in the youths to stand up and fend for themselves when other youths from negative youth subcultures approaches them. Therefore it is important of us to keep ourselves abreast with the youth culture and help our youth to make wise choices before participating in any youth subculture. REFERENCES Williams, J. P. (2007). Sociology Compass. Youth-Subculture Studies: Sociological Traditions and Core Concepts , 572-593. Wood, R. T. (2003). The Straighedge Youth Sub-Culture: Observation on the Complexity of Sub-Cultural Identity. Journal of Youth Studies , 6 (1), 33-52.
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