â€œEarly adulthood is the era of greatest energy and abundance and of greatest contradiction and stress.â€ (Levinson, cited in Seal 1997: 72) Of the two key challenges in early adulthood, gaining separation from parents is the most important one to address. This essay will firstly explain what the following two main challenges are: gaining separation and achieving intimacy versus isolation. A comparison will then be made to determine the most important challenge.
Maturity comes with independence, therefore the first key challenge to address in early adulthood is gaining separation from parents. This refers to young adults physically leaving parents and starting life on their own. It is an important challenge as it is through this process that the child learns to mature as an adult. As explained by Seal (1997: 71), success in this first challenge would mean the young adult will be able support himself emotionally and financially. The young adult will first establish emotional and social independence as he takes the responsibility for his own actions and is no longer reliant on his parents for support in terms of decision making and building new commitments. Subsequently the individual would then establish the ability to be financially stable and support himself. .
The second key challenge to address in early adulthood is interdependence. As defined by Seal (1997: 75), this means building close or intimate relationships with other individuals. Seal (1997: 71) states that this is an important challenge to address as it determine oneâ€™s success in life. Porter (Lecture 20/05/03) explained this success also determines oneâ€™s satisfaction in life. Intimate relationships occur during adulthood therefore, one will have to achieve the ability to make a commitment to another in an intimate way. In order to have a successful relationship with another, the adult will learn to compromise, negotiate and sacrifice enabling the experience of increased intimacy (Porter Lecture 20/05/03).