You are on page 1of 15

Definition : The term adolescence comes from the latin word adolescere meaning to grow to maturity .

As it is today adolescence has a broader meaning . It includes mental , emotional ,and social maturity as well as physical maturity.This point of view has been expressed by piaget when he said : Psychologically, adolescence is the age when the individual becomes integrated into the society of adults,the age when child no longer feels that he is below the level of his elders but equal at least in rights. It also includes very profound intellectual changes these intellectual transformations typical of the adolescents thinking enable him not only to achieve his integration into the social relationships of adults, which is in fact the most general characteristics of this period of development. Early & late adolescence : Early adolescence extends roughly from thirteen to sixteen or seventeen years ,and late adolescence covers the period from then until eighteen, the age of legal maturity. Late adolescence is thus a very short period. Early adolescence is usually referred to as the teens, sometimes even the terrible teens. Although older adolescents are stricktly speaking teenagers until they reach twenty years of age,the label teenager which has popularly associated with the characteristic pattern of behavior of young adolescents Adolescence is an important period. While all periods in life span are important , some are more important than others because of their immediate effects on attitudes and behavior,where as others are significant because of their long term effects. Adolescence is one of the periods when both the immediate and long term effects are important. It is important for both physical and psychological effects. Accompanying these rapid and important physical developments, especially during the early adolescent period, rapid mental developments occur. These give rise to the need for mental adjustments and the necessity for establishing new attitudes, values and interests .
1

Adolescence is a transitional period : During any transitional period , the individuals status is vague and there is confusion about roles the individual is expected to play. Adolescent at this time ,is neither a child nor an adult. If adolescents behave like children, they are told to act their age. If they try to act like adults ,they are often accused of being too big for their britches and are reproved for their attempts to act like adults. Adolescence is a period of change: The rate of change in attitudes and behavior during adolescence paralells the rate of physical change. During early adolescence ,when physical changes are rapid ,changes in attitudes and behavior is also rapid. The rapid changes that accompany sexual maturing make young adolescents unsure of themselves , of their capacities and of their interests. Changes in their bodies , their interests and in the roles the social group expects them to play create new problems. As interest and behavior pattern change, so do values. What was important to them as children seems less important to them now that they are near adults. Most adolescents are ambivalent about changes .while they want and demand independence ,they often dread the responsibility that go with independence and question their ability to cope with these responsibility . The identity the adolescents seeks to clarify is who he is, what his role in society is to be . Is he a child or is he an adult ? does he have it in him to be some day a husband or father?..can he feel sef confident inspite of the fact that his race or religious or national background makes him a person some people look down upon? Overall ,will he be a success or failure?. In their search fro new sense of continuity and sameness , adolescents have to refight many of the battles of early years , even though to do so they must artificially appoint perfectly well meaning people to play the roles of adversaries; and their ever ready to install lasting idols and ideals as guardians of a final identity. The integration now taking place in the form of ego identity is more than the sum of childhood identifications.
2

Developmental tasks of adolescents : The developmental task of adolescents require a major change in the childs habitual attitudes and patterns of behavior. Consequently few boys and girls can be expected to master them during the years of early adolescence . This is specialy true for early maturers . The most that can be hoped is that the young adolescent will lay foundations on which to build adult attitudes and behavior patterns . Fundamentally the necessity for mastering the developmental tasks in the relatively short time that American adolescents have , as a result of lowering the age of legal maturity to eighteen,is the reason for much of the stress that plagues many adolescents. It may be often difficult for adolescents to accept their physiques if , from earliest childhood, they have a glamourized concept of what they wanted to look like when they are grown up. It takes time to revise this concept and to learn ways to improve their appearance. Because of the antagonism toward member of the opposite sex that often develops during the late child hood and puberty, learning new relationships with members of the opposite sex actually means starting from scratch to discover what they are like and how to get along with them. Even developing new more mature relationships with age-mates of the same sex may not be easy. Achieving emotional independence from parents and other adults would seem, for the independent conscious adolescent , to be an easy developmental task. However , emotional independence is not the same as the independence of behavior. Economic independence cannot be achieved until adolescents choose an occupation and prepare for it. School and colleges put emphasis on developing intellectual skills and concepts for civic competence. However , few adolescents are able to use these skills and concepts in practical situation.Those who are active in extra curricular activities of their schools and colleges get such practices. School and colleges also try to build values that are in harmony with those held by adults ; parents contribute to this developments. When adult fostered values clash with peer values , adolescent must choose the latter if they want the peer acceptance on which their social life depends. Closely related to the problem of developing values in harmony with those of the adult world the adolescent is about to enter is the task of entering socially responsible behavior. Most adolescents want to be accepted by
3

peers, but they often gain this acceptance at the expense of behavior that adults consider socially irresponsible.The trend toward earlier marriages has made preparation for marriage one of the most important developmental tasks of the adolescent years. While the gradual relaxing of social taboos on sexual behavior has gone a long way toward preparing adolescents of today for the sexual aspects of marriage, they receive little preparation at home,in school or in college.

PROBLEMS IN ADOLESCENCE: When we look back on our teenage years and recall the uncertainties, the conflicts, and sometimes the loneliness, it is easy to recognize that adolescence is a time of real vulnerability. Nowhere is this truer than in the area of adolescent sexuality. Although sexual activity has increased dramatically over the past decade or two, sex-education has not. As of 1980, most United States high schools did not offer sex-education courses. Adolescent girls are sadly unaware of such crucial basics as how to figure out the high-risk period for conception. A majority of teenage girls now use of contraceptives beyond when they have intercourse, but a majority of them did not at the time they first had intercourse. Girls who delay the use of contraceptives beyond their early sexual experiences are about three times as likely to get pregnant as girls who use protection from the beginning. The bottom line is a million-plus teenage pregnancy a year. About 400,000 of these end in abortion. In most of the remaining cases, the result is a new teenage mother, and over 90 percent of these mothers choose to keep their babies, This choice often sets in motion a cycle of educational and economic disadvantages, an increased likelihood of child abuse, and an increased risk of psychological problems in both the mother and the child. Sexually active adolescents who manage to avoid pregnancy still face risks of venereal disease, risks that have increased sharply over recent years. In addition to the diseases that are treatable with antibiotics, there is a new strain of gonorrhea that is not. There is also herpes simplex virus, type 2, otherwise known s agential herpes: it is thus far incurable and is thought to infect as many as 20 million Americans. Adolescents who have multiple sexual partners are especially at risk; about three-fourths of those who contract venereal diseases are between 15 and 24 years of age. Illegal behaviour is defined broadly for adolescents. It includes both status offences, acts that are illegal only for minors and more serious offences that would be illegal at any age. About 80 percent of American adolescents admit to having committed at least one illegal act. Especially common is drug use. In addition, about 20 percent of violent crimes are committed by people under 18.Contrary to popular opinion; seriously delinquent adolescents do not come disproportionately from lower-in-come families or from minority-group families. However, the delinquent youths who do come from such families are more likely to go on to careers of crime. Many argue that this is because middle-class delinquents are mostly to be saved by their familys resources- money for an attorney with the police, and so forth.
4

The beginning of adolescence can mean facing up to some very adult psychological problems. One of these is depression, which is characterized by feelings of guilt of guilt, a loss of interest in activities, sleep problems, and even suicidal thoughts. Successful suicides in the U.S increase sharply over the adolescent years; there are 170 per year among 10 14 years old but about 1,600 per year among 15 19 year-olds. Still other adolescents have an escalating sense of confusion about things around them; they feel that things are not real or that they are actually outside of themselves. Distortions in thinking may develop into irrational belief systems. These and other problems can combine to form schizophrenia. CHALLENGES IN ADOLESCENCE: The adolescent who forms a sense of identity gains two key benefits, according to Erickson: (1) a feeling of being at home in ones body and (2) a sense of psychological well being. Adolescents who fail to achieve a sense of identity may face confusion over what roles they can or should be playing be playing in life. They may delay any commitment to adult adult roles, a delay which Erickson calls a psychological moratorium. It can be a valuable period of information gathering or it can involve rebellion an attempt to do precisely the opposite of what parents and others think is proper and desirable. Erickson calls this rebellion pattern the pursuit of negative identity. Family Relationships: In relationships between adolescents and their parents, a central theme is often that of testing limits. Most teen-parent argument concern the timing of rights and responsibilities agers see themselves becoming adults, and they press for the freedom and privileges of true adulthood. Also, the emergence of formal operations and more advanced moral reasoning means that the adolescent can think of reasonable alternatives to parental rules. As these alternatives occur to the teenager, parents can expect less automatic obedience and more resistance. These are signs of the adolescents cognitive growth and should be respected as such. Parents who respond to disagreements with open discussion are encouraging their children to do the same and thus to practice a valuable social skill. Boys conflicts with their parents tend to involve more objective issues of authority and privilege, such as access to the family car. Boys are more likely than are girls to report that they are disciplined primarily by their fathers and that hey receive affection primarily from their mothers. The boys relationship with his mother and father appears to shift significantly around the time of puberty. Just prior to puberty, mothers and fathers seem to have about the same influence over their sons behaviour. With the advent of puberty, boys act more assertively toward their mothers: some tension and coolness persist between mother and son into midadolescence, with mother and son reluctant to defer to each other. As the mother-son tension persists, the fathers role seems to shift to that of mothers ally. Fathers show increased efforts to restrain their son assertiveness, but with only partial success. With puberty completed, boys seem clearly influential in family decision making than they were prior to puberty. Peer Relationship:
5

Peer-group membership assumes more importance during adolescence than at other period of life. A peer group can provide a refuge and a source of support for youngsters in conflict with their families. Moreover, being part of a clearly identified group can help answer the burning question, who am I?. For these and other reasons, adolescents spend a great deal of time with other adolescents. One study, which used beepers to contact adolescents at random times, found that they spend more time talking with peers than doing academic wok, being with their families, or being alone. The structure of peer groups seems to change over the course of adolescence. For teens around the age of 13 or so, the peer group is usually a clique of half a dozen or fewer youngsters of the same sex. During high school years, a number of adolescents belong to both unisex and midsex groups; for ex, three or four boys who are members of the same unisex clique regularly interact with three or four girls from an all-girl clique, thus forming a mixed-sex clique. Gradually, two, three, or four cliques merge into larger groups. By late adolescence, group unity has begun to weaken, and loosely linked groups of couples have begun to form. One advantage of this overall sequence is obvious; Boys and girls use the initial security of their unisex cliques to move gingerly, nervously, step-by-step-into contact with members of the opposite sex. Heterosexual Relationship and adolescent Sexuality: On the average American girls begin dating at about age 14, and American boys begin at about 15.Of course, many begin earlier; and others are not dating even as high school seniors. Evidence suggests that these no daters, at least the girls, may be more insecure and dependent on their families than those who do date in high school. Like peer-group relationship, dating helps the young person find a sense of identity- knowing what kind of person you can attract helps you know what kind of person you are. Dating is also proving for sexual values and behaviour. The percentages are low at age 13, but they arise sharply in each subsequent year. By, age 19, more than two-thirds of girls and more than three-fourths of boys have had sex. This represents a major change. Clearly, sexual attitudes and behaviour have changed. For many of todays adolescents a movement toward sexual maturity is fast-paced and risky.

ADJUSTMENTS DURING ADOLESCENCE :

Adolescence has been thought of as a period of storm and stress - a time of heightened emotional tension resulting from the physical and glandular changes that are taking place.While it is true that growth continues through the early years of adolescence, it does so at a progressively slower rate. What growth is taking place is primarily a completion of the pattern already set at puberty. It is necessary, therefore, to look for other explanations of the emotional tension so characteristic of this age.
6

CHANGES IN MORALITY DURING ADOLESCENCE One of the important developmental tasks adolescents must master is learning what the group expects of them and then being willing to mould their behavior to conform to those expectations without the constant guidance, supervision, proddings, and threats of punishment they experienced as children. They are expected to replace the specific moral concepts of childhood with general moral principles and to formulate these into a moral code which will act as a guide to their behavior. By adolescence, boys and girls have reached what piaget has called the stage of formal operations in cognitive ability. They are now capable of considering all possible ways of solving a particular problem and can reason on the basis of hypotheses or propositions. Thus they can look at their problems from several points of view and can take many factors into account when solving them.Mitchell has listed the five fundamental changes in morality adolecents must make, which are as follows... The individual's moral outlook becomes progressively more abstract and less concrete. Moral convictions become more concerned with what is right and less concerned with what is wrong. Justice emerges as a dominant moral force. Moral judgment becomes increasingly cognitive. This encourages the adolescent to analyze social and personal codes more vigorously than during childhood and to decide on moral issues. Moral judgment becomes less egocentric. Moral judgment becomes psychologically expensive in the sense that it takes an emotional toll and creates psychological tension.

HAZARDS OF ADOLOSCENCE
Physical hazards are now less numerous and less important than psychological hazards, although they do exist. However, they are significant primarily because of their psychological repercussions over weight, for eg, would have relatively little effect on the adolecents's behavior and thus on social adjustments, but it is a hazard because it can result in unfavorable peer attitudes. CONDITIONS INFLUENCING THE ADOLESCENT'S SELF-CONCEPT Age of maturing Appearance Sex-appropriatness Names and Nicknames Family relationships Peers Creativity Level of aspiration
7

PHYSICAL HAZARDS Morality as a result of illness is far less common during adolescence than in early years, although details due to automobile accidents increase. Adolescents are generally in good health, but they often discover they can avoid unpleasant situations by not feeling well. Girls often use their menstrual periods as an excuse for not going to school. Suicide or attempts at suicide becoming increasingly common among today's adolescents. It has been reported that suicide is the number two cause of death among adolescents. Studies of adolescent suicide have disclosed that the median age is sixteen years and that more males commit suicide than females. Many boys and girls who commit or attempt to commit suicide have been socially isolated for a period of time before and many have experienced family disruptions and school problems. As a result of muscle growth during early adolescence, strength increases. Because girls' muscles do not develop as much as boys' do, girls have less strength and tend to feel inadequate when they participate with boys in such sports in swimming and tennis, a feeling that contributes to their growing sense of inferiority. Clumsiness and awkwardness are more serious during adolescence that at any other time during the life span. A sex-inappropriate body build is far more disturbing to an adolescent than to a child. There are two reasons for this. First, adolescents are judged more by their sex-appropriate appearance than children. Second, adolescents are well aware of this fact that, once their growth is nearly complete, as it is when adolescents draws to a close, this will be their body build for life. Adolescents who are too attractive have a physical hazard because their peers, especially those of their own sex, become jealous and envious. Girls who are very attractive are often thought of in terms of the stereotype of "beautiful but dumb" while very attractive boys are often accused of being conceited, selfish, and prone to let others do their work for them. PSYCHOLOGICAL HAZARD The major psychological hazards of adolescence center around the failure to make the psychological transitions to mayurity that constitute the important developmental tasks of adolescence. In most cases adolescents fail to make these transitions not because they want to remain immature but because they encounter obstacles in their attempts to achieve mature patterns of behavior. Social behavior In the area of social behavior, immaturity is shown in a preference for childish patterns of social groupings and social activities with peers of the same sex and in a lack of acceptance by peer groups,which in turn deprives the adolescent of the opportunity to learn more mature pattern of social behavior. Sexual behavior Adoloscents who do not date because they are unattractive to members of the opposite sex,or because they continue to have a childish dislike for them, are regarded as immature by contempories. Rejection of the socially approved sex role, a continued
8

preoccupation with sex, prematurial pregnancy, and early marriage before adolescents have any stable source of support are also regarded as indications of immaturity. Rejection of the approved sex role, especially by girls, is regarded as one of the most hazardous forms of immaturity in this areas because it is a potential source of trouble in marriage. Moral behavior In few areas immaturity more hazardous to good personal and social adjustments than in that of morality. Adolescents who establish unrealistically high standards of behavior of themselves feel guilty when their behavior falls short of these standards. Adolescents who set unreasonably high standards for others become dillusioned and quarrel some when they fall below these standards. This can and often does lead to the breaking of emotional ties with family members and with peers. Family relationships Immaturity in family relationships, as shown by quarreling with family members, criticizing them constantly, or making derogatory comments about their appearance or behavior is especially common during the early years of adolescence. The adolescent whose family relationships are unfavorable may also develop poor releationships with people outside the home.

IMPORTANCE OF ADOLOSCENCE
Adoloscence, which extends from the time the individual becomes sexually mature until 18, the age of legal maturity is divided into early adolescence, which extends to 17 years, and late adolescence, which extends until legal maturity. It is characteristically an important period in life span, a transitional period, a time of change, a problem age, a time when the individual searches for identity, a dreaded age, a time of unrealism, and the threshold of adulthood. Even though physical growth is far from complete when puberty ends, its rate slackens in adolescence and much of this change that occurs then is internal rather than external.While traditionally, adolescence is a period of heightened emotionality, a time of "storm and stress". The important social changes in adolescence include peer group influence, more mature patterns of social behavior, new social groupings and new values in the selection of friends and leaders in social acceptance.The most important and most universal interests of today's adolescents fall into seven major categories;Recreational interests, personal and social interests, educational interests, vocational interests,religious interests, and interest in status symbols. Releationships between adolescents and members of their families tend to deteriorate in early adolescence though these releationships often improve as adoloscence draws to a a close, especially among adolescent girls and their family members.While most adoloscents are anxious to improve their personalities in the hope of advancing their status in the social group, many of the conditions influencing their self-concepts are beyond their control. The areas in which immaturity, due to failure to make the transition to more mature behavior, are especially common are social, sexual, and moral behavior and immaturity in family relationships.When immaturity is pronunced, it leads to self rejection with its damaging effects on personal and social adjustments.Most adults remember adoloscence as an unhappy age.
9

Studies of adoloscence have revealed that this is truer of early than of late adolescence.

Rebellion in Adolescence : Teenage has become synonymous with the word rebellion. As soon as a person hears the word rebellion one immediately paints a picture of sulks and tantrums and unreasonable behavior. Instead of taking it at face value we need to delve into the reasons behind it. What makes a normal reasonable individual to act in such an unpredictable way. We need to better understand adolescent developmental stages to help us not take teenage behavior as a personal attack on us. By becoming familiar with these stages, we will increase our competence in encouraging teens to establish their sense of identity.

Teens are preparing to separate or individuate from the family. They are in the process of developing their values. Teenagers must initiate this separation and often rebellion gives them the energy to do this. A teenager challenges rules and values as a way of establishing his or her individuality. Adolescents cannot do this in a vacuum, but rather through conflict and confrontation Adolescents may be rude or make fun of parents and other authority figures and not want to be with them. In a teenagers mind, defiance expresses autonomy and says that he or she doesnt need parents in and often serves as a test of parental caring. Due to body changes, there can be confusion about whether teenagers really do want to grow up. Hormonal changes cause mood swings marked by tearfulness, heightened sensitivity, sudden flare-ups, an increased need for physical activity and inappropriate laughter and giggling. Teens begin to work out their relationships with their peers to find out how they fit in. Teens start relating to the opposite sex in a different way than they did when they were younger Teenagers have a heightened need for privacy. Experiencing privacy gives them a new sense of control and autonomy. They need privacy to test things out for themselves without parent input. Teenagers may feel all-powerful and all-knowing at the same time that they experience fears of inadequacy and failure.
10

Teens still need an adult to relate to, but in a different way than they did when they were younger.

The trick is to form a strong bond with a teen so that he/she feels close enough to reveal all the problems and confusions to his/her parents. Rules without relationship give birth to Rebellion. Adolescent rebellion begins as a result of the desire for independence. It is a developmental norm. In fact, if you have the sneaking suspicion that teenage rebellion may be inevitable, youre right! Pretty much every teenager will test the limits and even cross the line at one time or another. Of course, there are varying degrees of rebellion one parents rebellious child may be another parents dream child! Nevertheless, even the best-behaved child will go the wrong way at some point .The good news is that this does not have to be a crisis! In fact, believe it or not, rebellion can be a very healthy and integral part of adolescents transition from childhood to adulthood. 2. Normal rebellion, though difficult to live with, is more praiseworthy than the desire for dependence. The opposite of rebellion would be the desire to stay at home, refusal to take responsibility for life, and fear of making decisions. Although this might make the teen years easier to handle for you as a parent, it is ultimately not what you want for your child. 3. Normal rebellion needs to be understood as the natural desire to grow, although being sought after in an awkward manner. Becoming an adult includes beginning to make decisions for oneself. Teens need to question the world around them and begin to own their personal beliefs and actions. Because the teen is inexperienced, this will inevitably lead to mistakes, but thats okay. Failure plays a critical role in the learning process.

PEER PRESSURE: Adolescence is a time when peers play an increasingly important role in the lives of youth. Teens begin to develop friendships that more intimate,exclusive,and more constant than in earlier years. In many ways these
11

friendships are essential component of development.They provide safe venues where youth can explore their identities. Friendship also allow youth to practice and foster social skills necessary for future success. Nonetheless , parents and adults can become concerned when they see their teens becoming preoccupied with their friends. Many parents worry that their teens might fall under negative peer influence. In actuality , peer influence is more complex than our stereotype of the negative influences from friends.While we tend to think that peer influence leads teens to engage in unhealthy and unsafe behaviors, it can actually motivate youth to study harder in school, volunteer for community and social services,,and participate in sports and other productive endeavours.In fact most teens report that their peers pressure them not to engage in drug use and sexual activity. Peer influence is not simple process where youth are passive receipents of influence from others. In fact peers who become friends tend to already have a lot of things in common . Peers with similar interests, similar academic standing and enjoy doing the same things tend to gravitate towards each other.So while it seems that teens and their friends become very similar to each other through peer influence, much of that similarity was present to begin with. Facts about peers,friendships,and adolescence : Friendships that emerge during adolescence tend to be more complex, exclusive and more consistent than during earlier childhood. New types example opposite sex, romantic ties and levels example best friends, crowds of relationships emerge and the teens begin to develop the capacity for very close, intimate and deep friendship The adult perception of peers as having one culture or unified front of danderous influence is inaccurate. More often than not peers reinforce family values but they have that potential to encourage problem behaviours as well.Although the negative peer influence is emphasized more can be done to help teenagers experience the family and the peer group as mutually constructive environment. Peer friendships are dynamic.This simply means peer friendships may change .For instance while teens can have friendships that are long term, they often move from one clique to another, and they might develop new friendships and lose others.Peers tend to choose those who are similar to themselves.Whether it is
12

gender, age , socio economic status, ethinicity or interest,Teens tend to gravitate towards those who are more similar to them. Effective strategies for coping with peer pressure: While the point has been made here that peer influence and peer pressure do not necessarily have to be negative, peer pressure can lead youth towards unhealthy and unsafe behaviours.To minimize the negative effects of peer pressure, youth , parents, school and community leaders must come together to establish workable and effective strategies to guide teen behavior and to support their transition from children to mature and responsible adults .some strategies are 1.Nurture teens abilities and self esteem so that they are equipped to foster positive peer relationships and deflect negative pressure. 2.Encourage positive relationships between significant adults and teens . 3.Encourage diverse relationships. 4.Support parent education programs for families with teenagers. 5.Equip youth with the skills necessary to resist negative behaviors as well as to make good decisions. 6.Teaching youth exit strategies or ways to say no to negative pressures.

Conclusion :

13

During adolescence ,peers play a large part in young persons life even while the family continue to be significant. In general peer friendships offer youth with many positive opportunites despite the negative connotations that peer relationships have to many of us.Peer relationships are actually important for healthy development and essential for youth to develop into healthy adults.Nonetheless , peer relationships also have the potential to encourage problem behaviors .Although negative influence of the peers is often over emphasized more can be done to help teenagers experience the family and the peer group as mutually constructive environment.To accomplish this families ,communities, churches.schools and other youth groups can all contribute to helping youth develop positive peer relation ship and deflect negative peer pressures and influence.

Reference :
Developmental Psychology by Elizabeth . B.Hurlock

14

Friendship ,peer influence ,and peer pressure by Maria R.T.de Guzman ,Extension Adolescent specialist http://www.boloji.com/teens/articles/00312.htm adolescence and peer pressure by Herbert G.lingren, extension family specialist

15