The twelve cases in this book were compiled from interviews and observations done with youth, their parents, and their teachers. The cases were then written from multiple perspectives, allowing the reader an opportunity to understand the influence of family, school, and society on the youths' development. Each case tells a youth's life story, including the events and relationships that have influenced the child and his or her cognitive, social, and emotional development. The youth in these cases represent a cross section of ages and socio-economic levels and exhibit diversity in their ethnic backgrounds, religious/spiritual beliefs, gender, family structures, and disabilities.
The cases are intended to elicit discussion on a wide range of issues in development. To this end, this book explores many critical (and sometimes controversial) topics, such as teen pregnancy, sexual orientation, disabilities, child abuse, domestic violence, death of a parent, and more. This will allow instructors the greatest possible flexibility in supplementing their courses with life histories and cases. These cases are the perfect illustration of the complexity of a full life history.