Development During Early Adolescence
Can these changes have a significant impact on a variety of developmental outcomes of identity, morality, transitional stages, beginning of puberty and the full commitment to an adult social role, and sexual maturity? Hence, because of the potential impact of these changes, it is important to understand the cycles of adolescents. Life has store many surprises for us as we develop throughout our whole life span. Developmental stages are the progress that occurs in humans from the time they are born until they grow old and die.
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Originally beginning with infants and children, development will subsequently progress into adolescence, followed by adult, and lastly elderly. The development occurs in many fields, namely physical, perceptual, cognitive, moral and social. Derived from the Latin verb adolescere (to grow into maturity), adolescence is the period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Adolescent is a distinct and dynamic phase of development in the life of an individual. It is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood and is characterized by spurts of physical, mental, emotional and social development.
Who considers “adolescence” to be the period between 10-19 years of age, which generally encompasses the time from the beginning of puberty to the full legal age. The early adolescent developmental period is when individuals experience many changes, including the biological changes associated with puberty, important changes in relations with family and peers, and the social and educational changes related to transition from elementary to middle school (Wigfield, Byrnes, & Eccles, 2002). The biological changes that occur at early adolescence are dramatic, as anyone working with this age group knows (Susman & Rogel, 2004).
Pubertal developments, the timings of puberty is quite different for girls and boys; girls enter puberty approximately 18 months before boys do, which means that during early adolescence, girls mature faster. Adolescence can be prolonged, brief, or practically nonexistent, depending on the culture of their society. Adolescence is somewhere between childhood and adulthood. It is also the period of life between the beginning of puberty and the full commitment to an adult social role, such as worker or parent. It is filled with constant change, uncertainty, but it can be wonderful and full of expectation.
Everything a child learned to believe is suddenly challenged. One day you are a cute child that everybody seemed to adore, and the next day your skin and body are changing. Adolescence is a challenging period for both children and their parents. Three stages of adolescence early, middle, and late, are experienced by most teens, but the age at which each stage is reached varies greatly from child to child. These different rates of maturation are connected to physical development and hormone balance, neither of which the child can control.
For this reason, adolescents should be treated as individuals and any guidelines should be modified to the particular child. It is very common to come across mood swings in this stage of development. Gene Roland Medinnus and Ronald C. Johnson state that during adolescence, children develop the ability to: • Understand abstract ideas, such as higher math concepts, and develop moral philosophies, including rights and privileges •
Establish and maintain satisfying relationships by learning to share intimacy without feeling worried or inhibited. Move toward a more mature sense of themselves and their purpose • Question old values without losing their identity Adolescence begins when signs of sexual maturity begin to occur in both physical and social development and ends when the individual assumes adult roles and is concerned in most ways as an adult by his reference group. Female friendships are one of the most important dimensions of an adolescent girl’s life. Peer relationships and friendships are critical in the developing adolescent’s identity, behaviors, and overall health.
These peer connections influence all areas of development including emotional, physical, spiritual, social, and cognitive. The movie “Mean Girls” addresses social behaviors and experiences that are common in female peer relationships throughout the adolescent years. “Mean Girls” has brought attention to girls mean behaviors and portrays a dark side of female peer relationships, in which girls act as bullies and use relationships to express anger or power through rumors, exclusion, secrets, or gossip.
This movie shows the significant role that female peer relationships play. The functions of peer relationships in adolescence are to help support adolescents at a time when they are challenged with many new experiences, to encourage the development of emotional autonomy, to enable teens to form deeper forms of intimacy that will be needed in adulthood, and to improve social skills. Positive peer relationships cause less anxiety and depression in adolescents where as negative peer relationships may place an individual at risk for maladjustment.
Adolescents who are generally disliked, aggressive, disruptive and cannot establish themselves in the peer culture are developmentally at risk. Having friends and peer acceptance are generally related to school competence, higher self-esteem, and better adjustments. Adolescence is a transitional stage of human development that occurs between childhood and adulthood. Teenagers (ages 13-19 years) are usually adolescent, though in some individual, puberty may extent a few years beyond the teenage years, and in some individuals puberty begins in the pre-teen years.
Because adolescents are experiencing various strong cognitive and physical changes, for the first time in their lives they may start to view their friends, their peer group, as more important and influential than their parents. The American Heritage Dictionary defines the word cognition as; the mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning and judgment (Cognition). Because of peer pressure, they may sometimes indulge in activities not deemed socially acceptable. What is Peer Pressure?
Peer pressure is the social pressure from friends or other people to accept certain beliefs or act in certain ways in order to be accepted. How and why do we get peers pressure? Everyone gives into peer pressure at one time or another, but why do people sometimes do things they didn’t want to do? Here are a few reasons. They are afraid of being rejected by others, want to be like and don’t want to lose a friend, want to appear grown up, don’t want to be made fun of, friends have a big influence on our lives, but sometimes they push us to do things we may not want to do.
The first step to standing up to peer pressure is to understand it. The four main types of peer pressure is: 1. Rejection – threatening to end a friendship or relationship. This pressure can be hard to resist as nobody wants to lose friends. 2. Reasoning – telling a person reasons why they should try something or why it would be okay if they did it i. e. “your parents would never find out. ” Identity is made of what drives an individual, the abilities they have, what they believe, and their personal history (Marcia, 1980). Identity is one of the main struggles in an adolescent’s life.
It is very important that children receive the proper guidance while entering their adolescence from their parents and peers. Although they like to believe that they are capable of developing on their own, adolescents need parental guidance to develop their path of identity development. The relationship between a child and a parent plays an important role with an adolescent and his or her decisions about sex. (Chapman, Werner-Wilson 2008). Morality can be defined as the distinction between what is right and wrong or what is good and bad.
Although, moral reasoning depends on culture which akes it difficult to define; most people don’t look at where these principles are coming from or what guides one through moral development. As children grow and learn, usually from care takers and people who inspire their every need, their morality changes based on several levels. Although researching of moral development goes as far back as Socrates, there are two psychologists that studied morality in depth and they are Lawrence Kohlberg and Jean Piaget. Jean Piaget was a cognitive developmental psychologist spending most of his time working with children and adolescents, including his own.
Although, Piaget’s observation of moral development wasn’t in depth like Kohlberg, he allowed for a basic understanding. He believed that moral development occurred in stages. Piaget strongly believed in education and thought interaction in an education setting allowed children maximum potential in cognitive development. Piaget believed in many things, but when it came to moral development there were only two basic principles. The first principle was that children develop moral ideas in stages and could not skip stages, although movement from one stage to the other could vary in length.
Lastly he believed that children create their own perception of their world, including whether their actions enforce what is morally right or wrong. “Piaget’s ideas of moral realism and morality of cooperation play a role in Kohlberg’s theory. Children in Piaget’s stage of moral realism believe that rules are absolute and can’t be changed. Punishment should be determined by how much damage is done, and the intention of the child is not taken into account. A child has many milestones to reach through adolescence. The success of these milestones depends on normal development. Milestones can be challenging regardless of age and size.
However, some children experience abnormal development and also delays. Detecting signs of abnormal development in certain age groups requires an understanding of development milestones. There for this leads us to the major physical, cognitive, self made motivational experience of adolescents that are a variety of developmental outcomes of identity, morality, transitional stages, beginnings of puberty and the full commitment to an adult social role, and sexual maturity.