One of the objectives of adolescents is to prove to themselves and to others that they are significant human beings. They naturally do this by acquiring visible markers of physical development. The boys are granted lower voices, more muscles, an adult size body and girls grow sweeter voices, bigger hips, and other adult body forms. Those are the physical qualities, but just as important to adolescents are the other markers of social status. These are highly variable goals depending upon their personal experiences and personal self-image. Some adolescents will strive for status by struggling to perform well in school and by being accepted into a prestigious university. Some will focus on sports and their proof of physical prowess and thus of personal attractiveness. Some find their satisfaction in becoming accepted as a member of a cool social group. Others in the ostentatious display of more beautiful possessions, like cars and clothes. Some will seek to display their superiority in their willful rejection of those things, but the adolescent is primarily concerned with achieving a self-satisfying personal identity and that includes those who are rejecting the world they find themselves immersed within.
Adulthood is the next natural state of physical and social development of an adolescent, and that typically includes getting a paying job, forming a family and taking care of the other family members. That is accomplished not by display of ability but the acquisition of personal property and that is done by the continued production of things that are considered valuable to other members of society. That is, adults are producers of things that can be sold for money or are members of families or social groups where the things they do are valued even if money isn’t the measure.
Adolescents are granted much more freedom of choice and of personal action than children, and instead of just having fun with their liberty they are expected to prove that they can do challenging things. Those expectations create anxiety for adolescents and that anxiety can’t be avoided because the better they do at some activity the more is expected of them. If they are an A student, why aren’t they the valedictorian, and if they have achieved that high status, why haven’t they been admitted to the local university, and if they have been admitted, why didn’t they get a scholarship, and if they did get one of those, why didn’t they get into a more prestigious university? There is no escaping anxiety for an adolescent.
That example was relative to scholarship, but the same anxieties are relevant to sports, getting a job, joining the military, even being a dropout. With every activity an adolescent turns to, there are judgments being laid upon him. Usually, their most satisfying escape is to leave home and set up their independent existence as an adult taking care of themselves, even if it is at a very modest level. I have been projecting myself into a current adolescent’s prospective world and saying that their best option is to own their own property and no matter how humble to not owe anyone anything. Never ever pay rent, because it is money thrown away that will never return. Whereas any improvement on their modest dwelling improves their property and can be recouped at any time.
The highest status an adolescent can strive toward is to own a piece of property.