Cyprus Mail

Schools can help confused teens

It is commonly accepted that everybody has experienced a period when they try to establish their own personality and make decisions about their future, especially during teenage years.

A great percentage of high-school students however experience difficulties surviving in today’s demanding society. There are ways in which schools can contribute in raising goal-oriented people.

In his theory, Robert K Merton, an American fundamental Sociologist, identified five different types of people.

The first group are called ‘’conformists’’. These types of people have clear goals for their future and they accept them. In order to reach them, they study, they go to university and finally find or create a job.

The second type are called ‘’ritualists’’. These differ from the conformists to the point that they actually reject their goals. They gain the standard education but they do not try to achieve any goals.

The third are called ‘’innovators’’. They are people who are passionate about achieving their dreams, and find ways to reach them.

The fourth and fifth types are associated with deviance. Fourth types are called “retreatists”, who reject goals or ignore them. They avoid joining society and enjoy solidarity. The fifth type are called ‘’rebels’’, who also reject and ignore goals but try to change the society through deviant behaviours such as smoking, drinking, or taking drugs instead of going to school.

In the case of conformists, ritualists and innovators we do not need to worry so much because they can somehow contribute to society. The question remains how one can ensure retreatists and rebels do not fall into deviant behaviour.

One recommendation is that they be allowed to discover their own personality. The majority of them suffer because they do not recognise the purpose of living. But when they find something they really like they will actively make efforts to contribute to society. Moreover, a useful piece of advice for them is to accept that people should be improving as they grow.

Along with the efforts of parents, teachers, the education ministry and other institutional organisations like church and army, the problem can be eliminated to a great extent.


Costas H Constantinou, Sociology, Biology, MBA

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