11 | EMERGING ADULTHOOD
The developmental "space" between childhood and adulthood is clearly a critical transition that stems from early life experiences and significantly shapes adult life. Up until relatively recently, this period has been viewed as a singular phase of adolescent development. However, work catalyzed by Dr. Jeffrey Arnett has distinguished a period of emerging adulthood as a distinct phase from both adolescence and adulthood. Adolescence is often stereotyped as a period of profound exploration of one's identity, which is true. But during emerging adulthood, Arnett argues that this exploration continues and even accelerates as young people are of age to not only explore but try out different identities and ideologies to shape their chosen path to adulthood. Critics of emerging adulthood note the heavy emphasis on "choice" claiming that not all youth have the freedom or resources to explore and choose their life paths, given a variety of instrumental and social constraints.