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Running head: OBSERVATION 3 1

Observation 3

Yarlyn A. Pacheco

HD 300

Professor Davis

March 07, 2015

Observation 3

Today I decided to interview a teenager whose age is 13. The first question I asked was

“If you could fast forward your life to after college right now and choose any job for yourself,

what would you choose?” The teenager responded that she would be a nurse for children or a

teacher. I then asked “Why would you choose that job?” she responded that she didn’t know

exactly but that she thought that she would be a good nurse or teacher. She stated that she likes to

help people and that she likes little children. I asked if she knew what those professionals did in a

day and she looked at me with a surprised face. She then started to say “well… I know that

teachers have their own classroom. I think nurses only give love to people because they are

sick”. I asked if she had thought of the fact that nurses often see blood and that teachers have to

teach math and other subjects too. She said she didn’t think about those things. I then asked her

to describe herself. She said that she didn’t really know who she was and she spent more time

with this question. She finally said she was a 14 year old girl who liked many things and she said

she felt a little frustrated because I asked her “hard” questions. I apologized and I asked an

“easier” question. I asked her “what is the last thing you cried about?” She responded that the

last thing she cried about was yesterday. Yesterday her mother did not let her go to an after

school meeting with her friends. She said that everyone went and that they would probably think

her mom is too restrictive. She said she would be embarrassed. I asked why she would feel that

way and she said that she did not want to be one of those “girls” who gets laughed upon because

they can never go anywhere because they are “too young”. I then asked “What is the best news

you could hear right now?” her face became joyful and she stated “to go to a concert of Justin

Beaver, I would be the coolest girl in my class”. I then questioned “If you could change one rule

or guideline in this house, what would you change, and why?” She stated that she would change

her mother’s decision of having a babysitter when she is not home. I then asked “How would this

house change in the next year without that rule?” She responded that she would be more

independent and happy because she did not like the babysitter and she felt she was old enough to

take care of herself. I lastly asked “What question do you wish someone would ask you… and

who?” She responded “I wish you could ask me what I want for lunch because I am starving!”

We both laughed and then I asked what she wanted for lunch and we ate together. This young

teen is my cousin, I never get to see her and today I replaced her babysitter.

I can infer from the questionnaire that my cousin tries to fit in and have an identity in

school. She considers that opinions of her from her friends are more important than anything. I

infer this because when I asked what would be the best news she could hear right now, she

instantly responded with something she would think her friends would see as impressive. I can

see that she is confused with who she is. She does not know what her career will be, she goes to

school because she has too and because she has friends there, she doesn’t go to school thinking

about her future. I also see that she is confused because she could not describe herself easily. I

consider that my cousin is in the stage number five called Identity vs. Role Confusion of Erick

Erickson’s eight stages of psychosocial development. She is between the morality learned by the

child, and the ethics to be developed by the adult (Erikson, 1963, p. 245). Erickson says that in

this stage children are becoming more independent and that they seek to fit in society. This

matches with my cousin because she said that she feels she is capable of staying alone without a

babysitter because she wants to be more independent. She also says this to fit in because her

friends don’t have babysitters anymore. I don’t believe that the responses show any other factors

affecting the teenager’s behavior. My cousin is not struggling economically nor with diversity

because Mexican school are not very diverse in culture. My cousin sees gender roles and gender-

related problems very open so I believe she doesn’t have a conflict with that either.

My cousin does remind me of myself when I was a teen in some ways only. I fell in love

with my boyfriend in my teens, therefore instead of wanting to fit in with my friends, I wanted to

fit in with my boyfriend’s friends because they were older. I thought that doing different things,

even though I didn’t enjoy them, would make others like me. I know that my cousin loves classic

music and rock, but I believe that she stated Justine Beaver because her friends like him. I

remember I was more reserved and in my teen years, I used to keep things to myself. In the other

hand, my cousin enjoys talking to others about her interests and stories. I think I would have

responded more serious and mature than my cousin. I often remember that I strived to think as an

older person because I wanted to impress older people and therefore I tried to respond more as a

grown-up than a teen in any conversation. I believe I was between stages 5 Identity vs. Role

Confusion and stage 6 Intimacy and Solidarity vs. Isolation in my teen years. I used to seek my

own identity and closeness, but also feared misperception and isolation.

Chapter 4 of the book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?

Talks about identity development in adolescence. The book talks greatly about how culture and

race influence identity in adolescence. The book however does not talk precisely about Mexican.

Mexican schools and neighborhood are not very diverse in race and culture. Most Mexican

schools are full of Mexican, and minor diversity of other races. My cousin does not reflect on

this in her adolescence as much as others because she is not very accustomed of the topic of

spending time or even thinking about why is she Mexican. Two quotes that stood out for me

were “Well, all adolescents struggle with questions of identity” and “Not all adolescents think

about themselves in racial terms”. I believe this is true because of how different my cousin and I

were when I was an adolescent. The racial terms do not apply to her but they applied to me. I

often struggled thinking about race and diversity. I remember that I did not know if I identified

more in the Mexican or the Mexican American culture.


Erikson, E. H. (Ed.). (1963). Youth: Change and challenge. Basic books.

Tatum, B. (2017). Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? Revised Edition.

Basic Books.