Adolescence & the human individual

Critically respond to the characteristics of adolescents and examine the implications both personally and professionally. Adolescence, the period of life between childhood and maturity, may be regarded as one of the most crucial stages through which the human individual passes in his journey from conception to death. For many, it is seen as the key stage in development. Changes in physique and the maturation of the reproductive system bring with them associated changes in emotions and the whole pattern of psychological characteristics is restructured as the individual strives to attain a sense of identity.

Development in intellectual functioning provides the adolescent with the ability to question himself, his family, his world, and his values (Garrod, Smulyan, Powers, and Kilkenny, 1992). Adolescents begin to develop principles- not necessarily those that adults would like to have them develop- but nevertheless principles of conduct. They are deeply influenced by “what is done” among their peers or among people slightly older than themselves, whom they respect. Adolescents tend to revolt against whatever code of morals may be in vogue in their corner of the world, and they can become completely obsessed by almost any moral problem.

They are normally prejudiced and uncompromising in whatever attitude they adopt. This stage of growth is a difficult one for them and for everyone else, but perhaps it is necessary as a step from the unthinking acceptance of childhood to the independent thinking of an adult. During this period, the adolescent is an unreasonable creature. He does a good deal of hard thinking, accompanied by endless hours of talking with his peers, about his philosophy of life. Intellectual, like physical maturity is almost certain to arrive sooner or later.

Provided a child is not a mental defective, he will eventually achieve at least the minimal level of adult intelligence (Buysse, 1997). While a child can and does learn a multitude of facts about an enormous number of things, he only has a limited range of interests. The adolescent also acquires facts, but he wants to know the reasons behind them. He has an intellectual capacity far above that of the child, and he can grasp general principles, theories, and implications. He can see through some of the surface responses of people to their real feelings.

He is no longer content with the active, unorganised games of childhood. He wants socialisation and organization in his activities. If the adolescent is male, he usually has two abiding interests: sports and girls. A girl’s main interests are boys and social activities: dances, parties, outings, clothes, and interminable conversations on the telephone. Members of both sexes turn to music, romances, and comedies on television. They overhaul their ideas about life and plan for a future that they now see is rushing upon them.

It is probable that an adolescent of eighteen or twenty years of age has enough mental capacity for adult activities and adult thinking, but he lacks experience of life and therefore often gallops off in pursuit of foolish and unreachable goals (Tatar, 1995). Adolescents are chronically insecure and tend to take everything personally. Because an adolescent has not yet developed an accurate self-image, he is likely to hide his shortcomings even from himself (Adamson and Lyxell, 1996).

The typical causes of emotional behaviour among adolescents are social in nature and precipitate feelings of uncertainty and embarrassment. Adolescent boys and girls have not yet learned to use the various methods of escape for the resolution of minor conflicts, and therefore they tend to be excessively upset over very little. Because of their great sensitivity to social stimuli and their lack of readiness to deal with the results of stimulation, adolescents are inclined to be overemotional in their reactions.

The formation of identity is a key feature of adolescence according to several theories. For example, Erikson’s psychosocial theory of personality development, adolescence involves a ‘crisis’ resulting in either identity formation or role confusion. This concerns the adolescent having to …

Some would argue that adolescence is a period of stress, such as Smith and Crawford (1960) who found that over 60% of high school students had had suicidal thoughts. Assuming that this is the case, then adolescents need emotional support, …

Through the course of this essay I will evaluate the different theories of adolescences in order to account for some of the deviant behaviour that is associated with adolescence, it will therefore be necessary to discuss the physical and psychological …

Eating disorders are conditions resulting from long-term behavioral, social, emotional, biological and interpersonal factors. Although researchers and scientists have not conclusively settled on the underlying causes of eating disorders, some general issues have been cited as key contributors to the …

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