Psychology involves the study of human behaviors and their mental functions. Adolescence is the span of social and psychological transition between adulthood and childhood. Adolescence is considered to start between the age of 12 and 14 and end at the age of between 19 and 20. This period brings dramatic changes in the body, transitions over one’s academic career and developments in one’s psychology.
At this age, adolescents start to distance themselves from parental figures and begin to become more independent. At the same time, they start trying different looks and identities. They become alert of how incomparable they are from their peers. This struggle on looks may result in distress and conflict with parents.
Many developmental issues prone to occur during the adolescence stage include physical development, cognitive development, and social development. Physical development starts with puberty. The stage involves deep voice and facial hair in boys while, in girls, features such as hips and breasts development. Sexual feelings also develop at this stage; the teen is just learning to deal with his/her own feelings. Another development is in the brain i.e. the frontal lobe. This is an area for controlling impulse, judgment, and capability to plan. This explains the behaviors and moodiness among adolescents.
The capability to think theoretically starts to develop in early adolescence. Abstract thinking enables one to think about the future. One teen had this to say during the interview, “I want to be a pilot, just like my Dad.” It is conclusive that the kid has begun to view the world in a different way (Lerner, Richard and Laurence pg 23). The majority of teenagers make plans for their future during this period such as what they will have to do when they pursue high school and go to college. Jean Piagett, through his theory, suggested that adult’s role in trying to help teenagers learn about this stage is to provide convenient materials for the teen to interact and understand. Vygotsky argued that culture determines a child’s pattern of development as it moves from the social line to the individual level.
Some of them were arguing at some point which is a clear indication that they have the ability to reason over abstract thinking that enables the teens to detect hypocrisy and inconsistencies. Erikson’s theory states that adolescent leads to identity exploration which is associated with the diversity of symptoms, such as mood swings, heightened physical complaints, and fluctuations in ego strength (Mehta34).
Adolescence is believed to be extremely marked by more peer influence and less parental influence. Information given by parents may be neglected. Intense arguments between parents and teens develop at this period. In Erikson’s opinion, adolescents usually try out various identities, such as dressing styles and acting one way when with friends and acting another way when with their parents. Thus, it is believed that they are secure to anything unpleasant happening to them, which may result in risky behaviors.
I decided to observe and interview the adolescents because this period is highly crucial and many do experience difficulty. Some teens are at eminent risk of developing substance use problems. My research will help create awareness that adolescence is a normal period and parents should not blame their children but be ready to help and guide them.
I leant that teens can be much more influenced by their friends than by their parents and that parents should be more mindful of the kinds of friends their children interact with. One of the teens I interviewed had this to say, “I never tell my parents that we sneak out of school to go to smoke with my friends, it feels great to be in such company.” As a concerned parent, one must be cautious of whom your child is with.
What a teenager absorbs into his mind, his experiences during this period, and family relationships can have an impact on her or his mental health. Adolescents need attention and love, someone mature to talk to and to receive guidance; they also need someone to keep discipline. They also need to be guided to have clear boundaries because if a teen does not have clear boundaries it can result in instability.
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