Adolescents face a daunting array of developmental challenges.
Institute of Medicine- Adolescence, which is the intermediate period between the periods of childhood and adulthood, is the most determining phase of one’s life. It has relevance with regard to growth in all spheres- physical, mental, emotional as well as social. It is also called “Teenage” as it is mostly between thirteen years to nineteen years of age. This age can differ with temperature in countries, food habits etc.
The process of development is continuous and gradual. All physical changes taking place in the body are visible to others and also cause behavioral oddities in the individual. Both the sexes show increase in their height, weight, length of bones and building of muscles. Hari S. Bawa, “the life of an adolescent is characterized as life of uncertainties, of instability, of adjustment, of suffering and humiliations at the hands of elders, stress, strain and strife…, of intense affections and stirring of the heart.”
The puberty in girls is marked with menstruation or monthly courses (Girls carry this process till they reach menopause) and in boys with nocturnal emissions or wet dreams. Latter happens during sleep, and is completely involuntary. It occurs when the male body starts making more testosterone, the major male hormone.. The experience for boys is that they feel as if some valuable fluid has passed out of the body making them feel week. Sexual organs develop making individuals conscious about their body. Glandular changes occur like the one which produces hair on pubic regions (unwanted hair).
Since adolescence is marked not only with sexual developments but emotional also, psychologists suggest that individuals going through this stage must be given proper care and education. Another feature is psychological weaning which reflects in their desire for independence from parents. There is development of specific abilities according to interests. They choose an idol for themselves and hero worship is common. Idols are selected which appeal them most such as a sports-person. With puberty, powerful increase in instinctual demands, impulsiveness and sexual arousal can be witnessed. Day dreaming helps them to actualize all wishes. They develop an interest towards natural beauty, arts, music, poetry, literature etc. It would not be wrong if we say that an adolescent is selfish for love as he is ready and willing to sacrifice every thing for the person whom he loves. It is mostly seen why teenage girls leave their family for sake of lover. It is not entirely their fault but this age is characterized by complete inclination. Pressure from outside may lead them to seclusion when they want to spend time all alone. Since they oscillate between extremes – on one side they have spirit of independence and on the other want of emotional security.
The transition from childhood to adulthood is an uneven, often disharmonious process of biological maturation, complicated by socio-cultural factors as remarked by Benjamin B. Wolman. We must remember that public praise and blame to a large extent affect his decisions and actions, so it must come out after proper understanding.
Adolescent is not just the stage of adventure but the phase of choosing your path. People turn to anti-socials if they are not checked during this stage. Now, we must stop finding faults in our adolescents, rather make them understand difference between right and wrong.
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