ERIC Number: ED326340
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Adolescence--A Tough Time for Indian Youth. What Can We Do?
This brief booklet, based on interviews with Gay Munsell, a Native American child development specialist, with the National Resource Center for Youth Services at the University of Oklahoma, examines the difficulties experienced by Indian youth in confronting the problems and changes of adolescence. In urban areas, 80% of Indian youth drop out of school, compared with 50% of reservation Indian students. Up to 25% of Indian youth display symptoms of psychological problems, and many Indian youngsters live in environments with a high rate of alcoholism and other drug abuse; in fact, Indian youth use alcohol at a rate three times that of adolescents in the general population. Adolescence is a time of change, when a child's mind becomes capable of abstract thinking. As their concepts of time mature, young people begin to see themselves as individuals and are confronted with the need to define their relationship with the future. Adolescence implies six primary tasks: (1) learning to think abstractly; (2) learning to distinguish between the real and the ideal; (3) deciding how one relates to the past and future; (4) developing independence; (5) defining individualism; and (6) determining how, as an individual, to fit into and function in the world beyond family and community. Aside from these normal adolescent tasks, Indian youth must also struggle with their cultural roles and identities. Negative coping patterns, such as reliance on drugs and alcohol, often develop. The booklet suggests strategies to make adolescent transitions smoother, including: (1) strengthening a youth's sense of being a valued member of the family; (2) raising youth's self-esteem; and (3) helping youth strengthen relationships with significant adults. The document encourages adults to establish relationships with Indian adolescents based on patience and trust. (TES)
Descriptors: Adolescent Development, Adolescents, Alcohol Abuse, American Indian Education, American Indians, Counseling, Developmental Tasks, Family Role, Guidance, Parent Role, Youth, Youth Problems
Native American Development Corporation, 1000 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 1206, Washington, DC 20036.
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Department of Education, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Native American Development Corp., Washington, DC.