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Note on Adolescence

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Adolescence is the most important period of human life. Some poets have described it as the spring of human beings and an important era in the total life span. The etymological meaning of adolescence is to grow to maturity. Adolescence is that span of years during which boys and girls move from childhood to adulthood mentally, emotionally, socially and physically.

According to a group of psychologist, it is the period when an individual is capable of begetting off spring. It means we can say that he/she becomes adolescent. As it is used today, the term adolescence has a boarder meaning. It includes mental, emotional and social maturity as well as physical maturity. It is customary to regard adolescence as the time when children begin to become sexually mature until when they reach the age of legal maturity. Chronologically, adolescence appears roughly between ages twelve to the early 20s. The onset of adolescence varies from culture to culture depending on the socio- economic conditions of the society and the country. In this period, great changes occur in the overall development of the individual.

Adolescence is the most important period because of its immediate effects on attitude and behavior. Similarly, it is also characterized by transitional period, period of change, age of problem, time of search for identify, and threshold of adulthood. So, they begin to smoke, drinking, and engaging in sex.

According to WHO, Adolescence is the age range ten to nineteen years. Adolescence is marked with physical, social and emotional changes. This is also an age of problem because many adolescents lack the capacity of actualization some of them feel the society in their opposition to reduce the gap and tension in adolescent. Proper understanding between the adolescents and their family is a must.

Changes during Adolescence

Whatever changes that happen during adolescence do not occur at the same time and with the same rate. Some changes emerge in the beginning of the adolescence and other changes appear in the last stage of adolescence. Some changes occur rapidly whereas other changes are seen gradually. This period is called the period of change because it is a transitional period from childhood to adulthood.

The following are the important changes in this period:

Physical changes

There are two types of physical changes during adolescence. They are external and internal. External changes are clearly seen and noticed from outside. For example, increase in height and weight of the body, growth of sexual organs, appearance of mustache and bread in a male child, etc. similarly internal changes are the changes that appear in the internal systems of our body such as changes and development of digestive system, circulatory system, respiratory system, glandular system, etc. The growth of height in girls is almost completed by the age of seventeen to eighteen years whereas the growth of height in boys remains two years later than the girls. Various researches have proved that immunized adolescents gain better height than those who were not immunized and sick during the children. Physical weight also increases along with their height. Various organs of boys proportionally and gradually increase. There is a growth and development of sex organs in both boys and girls but they are not fully matured for reproduction. Various changes such as increases in the size of penis and testis, sprouting hair around genitals, production of spermatozoa, emergence of mustache and beard, sprouting hair under armpit, change of voice, wet dream, etc. take place in boys. In girls, size of breasts increases, hair sprouts around genital and armpit, size and shape of vagina and uterus increases.

Mental changes

Mental changes and development during adolescence on many intellectual fronts. There is an increase in the ability to see relationship and to think the solution of more difficult problems. Children usually generalize in relation to concrete objective; where as adolescent can generalize in an abstract way. With the maturity of nervous system the memory power of adolescent increases. Besides this, they can imagine about a situation which is not physically present. In spite of these changes, the ability to communicate with other persons, moral concepts, decision making and identification with conditions also develop significantly.

Emotional changes and development

All the human beings have their emotions or feelings. It is emotion which controls our behavior. The development of emotions reaches its peak during adolescence period. Various kinds of emotions such as anger, sympathy, love, affection hatred, etc. develop in this stage. We went to do any sorts of work enthusiastically by showing our full energy. If our feelings are guided properly, we become more patriotic to the nation. Sometimes, we feel like laughing, crying, staying alone, reading love stories and watching movies, etc. Therefore, the period of adolescence is characterized by various emotional changes. If we cannot give right track to these emotions, they will surely create evils and spoil our whole life. Thus, the best alternative to this is to involve ourselves in recreational activities like dance, games, music, club work etc. Besides these, we can also develop positive emotions by concertinaing fully in our studies, taking part in scout and junior Red Cross, taking part in student leadership in school, etc. It is well known to everybody that every body's mind is the devil workshop. Keeping this statement in our mind, we should keep ourselves busy in some kinds of creative and constructive work. Developments of the feeling of loneliness, development of the ability to bear tension, rapid changes of emotion are the some emotional changes that occur during adolescent.

Social change

Human is basically a social animal. He/she is born, developed, works and progress in the society. Social development is very essential for proper adjustment in the society. In adolescent becomes self- conscious of his place in the society. With the advancing age, the child remains most of with his friends. The friends and types of peer groups join the adolescent join; shape his behavior, speech and interest than the family does. If members of the peer- group are experiment with alcohol, drugs or tobacco, adolescents are likely to do the same. There is an increasing interest to attend parties, fairs, and celebrations where members of both sexes meet. Adolescents take interest in taking up various problems. A strong desire for independence develops in adolescence. This leads to many clashes with parents and other adults in authority, etc. The most marked and important social change in adolescents is radical shift from disliking members of the opposite sex to preferring their companionship. The adolescents make friendship with that conform to their standard and do not tolerate the interference of parents and other members in selecting friends.

  • Adolescence is the most important period of human life. Some poets have described it as the spring of human beings and an important era in the total life span.
  • According to WHO, Adolescence is the age range ten to nineteen years. Adolescence is marked with physical, social and emotional changes.
  • This period is called the period of change because it is a transitional period from childhood to adulthood.
  • The important change in adolescence physical changes, mental changes, emotional changes and social changes.

Very Short Questions

The physical changes that occur in adolescence are explained below :

  • Change in height: Almost all boys and girls show a sudden growth during adolescence. Generally, studies show that the development height ends at the age of 17 to 18.
  • Change in weight: As there is change in height, there are changes in weight also during adolescence.
  • Changes in body proportion: Different parts of the body grow at different times. Thus, various parts of the body gradually come into proportion. 
  • Change in voice: During adolescence the voice of boys becomes hoarse and the voice of girls becomes smoother.
  • Sex organs: Both male and female sex organs reach their mature size in late adolescence.
  • Secondary sexual characteristics: During adolescence the growth of breast, widening of pelvis, public hair, hair in armpit and menstruation can be observed in girls and in case of boys, hair on upper limbs, beard, public hair and hair in armpit appears.

Mental changes and development during adolescence accelerates on many intellectual fronts. The mental development or changes in adolescence are characterized by:

  • Development of generalized ability.
  • Increase in the understanding level.
  • Increase in the imagination and memory power.
  • Development of debating and arguing power.

The major emotional changes that occur in adolescence are as follows:

  • Toleration of loneliness: The adolescents develop a feeling of loneliness.
  • Bearing of tension: The adolescent feels a kind of inner freedom to feel and experience, which develops competency to bear the tension in different social situations.
  • Emotional feelings are widened: adolescent starts taking according accounts of past and imagining of future. Since, they start appreciating elder and younger people, and emotionally attach them with a hero of their choice.
  • Realism in emotional experiences: The adolescents enter the period of reality then they perceive and appreciate people around them.

The major social changes that occur in adolescence stage are as follows:

  • Adolescent joins, shape his behavior, speech than the family does. With the advantages age, the child remains most of times with the friends and type of peer group experiment with drugs, alcohol are likely do the same.
  • There is an interest to attend parties, fairs and celebrations where members of both sexes meet.
  • Adolescence takes interest in taking up various types of problems.
  • Achievements, whether in sports, school works or social activities bring high personal satisfaction in the adolescents.

The differences between adolescent boys and girls in terms of their physical changes are:
Adolescent boys Adolescent girls
Voice of boys becomes coarse. Voice of girls becomes sweet.
Moustache is seen. Moustache is not seen
Public hair appears around the penis. Public hair appears around the vagina.
Menstruation doesn’t occur. Menstruation occurs.
Breast doesn’t increase Breast increases.

The main changes and development during adolescence are given below:

  • Attraction towards peer groups.
  • Development of friendship.
  • Increase in different sorts of interests like games, art, sports etc.
  • Commitment of various problematic and immoral acts.
  • Desire of income.
  • Formulation and performance of own styles.
  • Feelings of leadership.
  • Participation in the extracurricular activities.

  • Adolescents develop the ability to use ______, or the ability to draw logical conclusions based on a set of facts or premises.

    inductive reasoning
    relational reasoning
    deductive reasoning
    abstract reasoning
  • The ability to draw a conclusion based on accumulated evidence is called ______.

    inductive reasoning
    abstract reasoning
    relational reasoning
    inductive reasoning
  • The ability to think about thinking is known as ______.

    multidimensional thinking
    propositional logic
  • Adolescents' cognitive abilities differ from those of children primarily in that, unlike children, adolescents' thinking is not necessarily tied to & ______.

    abstract ideas
    concrete events
  • Piaget described the stage of thinking that emerges during adolescence as the ______.

    pre-operational stage
    sensorimotor stage
    concrete operational stage
    formal operational stage
  • Improvements during adolescence in all of the following domains have been linked with the information processing perspective except:

    metacognitive abilities
    processing speed
    propositional logic
  • The development of primary sex characteristics is evidenced by ______.

    a rapid change in height and weight.
    changes in the distribution of fat.
    growth and development of the breasts.
    growth and development of the ovaries.
  • As opposed to primary sexual characteristics, changes in secondary sexual characteristics are mostly evident in changes in

    the skeletal system.
    the blood system.
    external appearance.
    reproductive capacity.
  • When an adolescent's facial hair starts growing, or acne develops, or breasts start to grow, or the genitals start to change, which organ in the body are these changes directly caused by?

    the ovaries or testicles
    the adrenal glands
    the hypothalamus
    the pituitary gland
  • Muscle growth during puberty occurs

    very slowly in females.
    in both genders.
    only in males.
    only in females.
  • A late development in the pubertal sequence of females is

    growth of pubic hair
    growth spurt
    breast development
  • The hypothalamus is part of which bodily system?

    Autonomic nervous
    Central nervous
  • If an adolescent was exposed to an external stimulus that artificially raised the level of sex hormones in the body, how would the hypothalamus likely respond?

    By ignoring the artificial levels of sex hormones in the body
    By altering the instructions it sends to the gonads
    By changing the instructions it sends to the pituitary gland
    By losing control over the levels of hormones in the body
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