Adolescence is the time when puberty breaks in and sexuality develops. It is the time when a teen’s body develops in to an adult body capable of reproduction. Although this is a development that the teenager has to deal with and may feel uncomfortable until he or she grows in to the change, the changes in this Blob are not just physical. Adolescence is also a time for major emotional, moral and mental changes.
Physically, the major landmark of puberty for girls is the onset of menstruation, which occurs on average between ages 12–13. Other major changes are a surge in oestrogen levels, breast development, change in body shape and hair growth; for boys, the major landmark is the first ejaculation, which occurs on average at age 13. Other changes for boys are that the testosterone levels increase, the voice breaks, the chest broadens, penis and testicles develop, facial and other body hair grows.
With these changes, appearance gains importance as the adolescent becomes self-
conscious of his or her body. The other sex becomes interesting and sexuality is explored. First relationship are experimented with. A new identity with female and male roles develop.
This is also a time where the teen typically tries out limits. Just like a toddler, the adolescent wants to explore, experiment and become autonomous. This is a time with increased conflicts with parents, resulting out of increased assertiveness and a lack of self-discipline. Although they might not recognize it, this is also a time where the teens require strong support from the family. Parents need to set limits and boundaries, which will nevertheless be broken. And they need to be there to support their children when they fall. The setting of these limits assures the adolescents, that someone cares and that they matter. Still, they will break the rules and try for themselves. Teens are more likely to overdo drinking, smoke, use forbidden narcotics, or engage in risky sexual behavior, making them three times more likely to succumb to or get seriously injured by preventable cause.
In these experimental adventures and search for identity, friends and peers become more and more important. “Fitting-in” to a group, peer pressure and attachment take a high role. In this delicate time, friends and fun take precedence over responsibility, often resulting in behavioral risks. The adolescent may also have frequent mood swings and insecurities resulting together with confusion and identity crisis. Self esteem can be affected, and the adolescent may be sensitive and/or very passionate about certain matters.
At the same time, pressure at school may cause worry and stress. Thoughts about “Who am I? What do I want to be?” will be confronted. At this stage, although the adolescent will imagine and think about his or her future, he will in general be less able to plan and think ahead. For most of this phase, emotions rule decisions, but towards the end of the phase, most teens will have found a way to solve problems in their own ways and will be capable of solving problems in the same way as adults. Abstract and independent thinking will develop for most.
For an explanation of what actually goes on in a teenagers brain, have a look at this very informative clip (and be prepared for some very quick listening!):
In this Blob, technology takes a central role, not only for gaming and video entertainment, but also for songs, social interaction and educational research. A majority of adolescents own not only smart phones, but also laptops, with which they are in constant contact with the outside world. Social apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and Snapchat keep them constantly connected with their friends and takes up more than just a few hours of their time every day.
Some researches suggest that on average adolescents spend as much as 7 hours a day with technology. Some get so addicted that it starts interfering with daily life, requiring visits to rehab centers to recover. Such exaggerated misuse of technology is linked with obesity, under developed social skills, an increased tendency to risky behavior and the inability to focus on one task. On the other hand smart, selective and balanced usage of technology has its advantages and is an integral part of today’s life. It not only brings one closer to friends and increases the social circle but it also widens horizons by providing unlimited access to information. Mentally, it helps in increasing visual reasoning. In any case, technology is rapidly changing the adolescent’s social norms and traditional skill-set and will continue to do so in the near future as it further develops.
To summarize, if the adolescent is given the freedom to develop and has a supporting family or other role model, a creative personality and individuality will be formed. In the absence of healthy development, the adolescent may develop a restlessness and become withdrawn or uninspired and may not be well prepared for the next stages.
Click here for Blob 4: Emerging Adult
Understand why the 7-year life stages are outdated in this Blog
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
Lifespan development: our amazing capacity to change at learner.org
Developmental Stages: Piaget’s 4 Stages from the Neurotypical Site
Your Wired Kid: How much time does he spend on YouTube, Facebook, Xbox, or other screen-centric pursuits? Find out what’s normal, what’s ideal; and when to step in.
Determining the Effects of Technology on Children by Kristina E. Hatch