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Adolescence Adolescence is the period of life from puberty (6-11) to adulthood (roughly ages 1220), characterized by marked physiological

changes, development of sexual feelings, efforts toward the construction of identity, and a progression from concrete to abstract thought. Adolescence is sometimes viewed as a transitional state, during which youths begin to separate themselves from their parents but still lack a clearly defined role in society. It is generally regarded as an emotionally intense and often stressful a time of many transitions for both teens and their families. To ensure that teens and adults navigate these transitions successfully, it is important for both to understand what is happening to the teen physically, cognitively, and socially. Physical Changes Changes in Primary sex characterstics. Primary sex characteristics refer to changes to the sexual organs themselves (uterus, vagina, penis, and testes). Primary sex characteristic changes for boys include the enlargement of the testes, penis, prostate gland, and seminal vesicles. These changes normally begin to occur between the ages of 9 and 14 years. Their growth is generally completed between ages 12 and 16 years. The primary sex characteristic changes for girls includes the uterus starting to build a lining that will later be shed through the process of menstruation, and the vagina beginning to produce a mucus-like discharge. Rapid gains in height and weight. During a one-year growth spurt, boys and girls can gain an average of 4.1 inches and 3.5 inches in height respectively. This spurt typically occurs

two years earlier for girls than for boys. Weight gain results from increased muscle development in boys and body fat in girls. Development of secondary sex characteristics. During puberty, changing hormonal levels play a role in activating the development of secondary sex characteristics. These include: (1) growth of pubic hair; (2) menarche (first menstrual period for girls) or penis growth (for boys); (3) voice changes (for boys); (4) growth of underarm hair; (5) facial hair growth (for boys); and (6) the increased production of oil, increased sweat gland activity, and the beginning of acne. Moral Development (Lawrence Kohlberg)

Kohlberg's first level of moral development is known as the pre-conventional level, and is especially common in children, though it can also be seen through adulthood. Reasoners in the pre-conventional level judge the morality of an action by its direct consequences. The preconventional is divided into two stages: Stage one (oriented to obedience and punishment) and stage two (when the child realizes people can have different moral perspectives, but is still motivated by the selfish desire for rewards and benefits).

Adolescence, by contrast, is marked by a second level, or conventional level of moral development. Conventional morality is characterized by an acceptance of society's conventions concerning right and wrong. At this level an individual obeys rules and follows society's norms even when there are no consequences for obedience or disobedience. Adherence to rules and

conventions is somewhat rigid, however, and a rule's appropriateness or fairness is seldom questioned.

Under the conventional level is stage three, referred to as "good boy-nice girl" morality. The child is concerned with winning the approval of others as well as avoiding their disapproval. In judging the goodness or badness of behavior, the child considers a person's intentions. The child holds the conception of a morally good person as one who possesses a set of virtues and as a result, the child places much emphasis on being "nice." In stage four, there is a law-andorder orientation. The individual blindly accepts social convention and rules. Emphasis is on "doing one's duty," showing respect to authority, and maintaining a given social order for its own sake. Moral choices no longer depend on close ties to others at this stage and instead, rules are seen as needing to be enforced in the same manner for everyone.

Adolescents rarely reach the the post-conventional level of morality until later on in adulthood. This level, also known as the principled level, is marked by a growing realization that individuals are separate entities from society, and that the individuals own perspective may take precedence over societys view. In other words, individuals may disobey rules inconsistent with their own principles. People who exhibit post-conventional morality view rules as useful but changeable mechanismsthey are not absolute rules that must be obeyed without question.

Cognitive Development ( Jean Piaget ) Formal Operations. Piaget used the term "mental operations" to describe the mental ability to imagine a hypothetical situation and to be able to determine a likely outcome, without needing to actually observe or enact the scenario. This is commonly called a "What if-?" scenario. According to Piaget, the adolescent years are remarkable because youth move beyond the limitations of concrete mental operations and develop the ability to think in a more abstract manner. Piaget used the term "formal operations" to describe this new ability. Formal operations refer to the ability to perform mental operations with abstract, intangible concepts such as "justice" or "poverty" and to be able to estimate or describe the effect of these intangible concepts. Therefore, youth can now represent in their mind circumstances, or events that they have never seen, nor personally experienced. Psychosexual Development ( Sigmund Freud ) Latency Period. Its during this stage that sexual urges remain repressed and children interact and play mostly with same sex peers. Oedipus Complex - a desire for sexual involvement with the parent of the opposite sex and a concomitant sense of rivalry with the parent of the same sex; a crucial stage in the normal developmental process. According to Freud, out of fear of castration and due to the strong competition of his father, boys eventually decide to identify with him rather than fight him. By identifying with his father, the boy develops masculine characteristics and identifies himself as a male, and represses his sexual feelings toward his mother.

Elektra Complex - the female version of oedipus complex, although Freud strongly disagreed with this, it has been termed the Electra Complex by more recent psychoanalysts. Genital Period. The final stage of psychosexual development begins at the start of puberty when sexual urges are once again awakened. Through the lessons learned during the previous stages, adolescents direct their sexual urges onto opposite sex peers, with the primary focus of pleasure is the genitals.