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ERIC Number: EJ1149021
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1543-1223
The Promise and Peril of Coming of Age in the 21st Century
Lapsley, Daniel
Journal of Character Education, v10 n1 p13-22 2014
The second decade of life is a transition that poses unique developmental challenges for adolescents, and also for their families and teachers, and how well adolescents negotiate this transition will have important implications for later outcomes across the life course. Coming of age, acquiring the status and trappings of adulthood, unfolds over many years, easily a decade or longer, and so we have the problem in 21st century America of what to do with biologically mature young people whose cognitive, psychological and social competence has not fully arrived to take up the challenges of modern life. This article outlines in broad strokes the promise and peril of these two formative developmental transitions: the transition to adolescence and the transition to adulthood. Next a conceptual framework for making sense of these developmental challenges and for guiding educational interventions is described. Third, the application of this framework for understanding the middle school shift in early adolescence and for identity work in emergent adulthood is illustrated. The article concludes with observations about character education and how best to "meet and match the moment of hope" for young people facing the modern challenges to coming of age.
IAP - Information Age Publishing, Inc. P.O. Box 79049, Charlotte, NC 28271-7047. Tel: 704-752-9125; Fax: 704-752-9113; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Middle Schools; Secondary Education; Junior High Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A