Adolescent is the age of rapid physical, psychological, emotional, moral and social development (Offer, 1992). This is the age of transitional development from childhood to adolescence encapsulating multifaceted aspects of development (Spear, 2002). As far as my adolescent peer group is concerned, all of them followed rapid physical alterations during this significant transition. They reported abrupt physical changes characterized by puberty and hit them quite hard. For example, some of them accomplished the growth milestones with the utmost age appropriateness whereas some remained lackadaisical; it attempted to develop substantial anxiety on their part. Some of them reported emotional issues due to their separation from parents because of schooling or forced independence. Formerly, they were too dependent on their parents for emotional and instrumental support but when they reached adolescence, their support was withdrawn and they felt helpless with the lingering sense of separation anxiety. However, later on, their resiliency enabled them to establish such personality that was essentially person-centered and self-sufficiency oriented due to which they became adjusted in the society at their own. As we all are fully insightful, adolescence is the age of ambiguity because they are too small to be called as adults and too big to be called as children; sometimes they are considered as adults and directed to become independent whereas some instances demand them to remain naïve (Offer, 1992). This ambiguity remained a great matter of concern for them however they overcame this issue through social support from family members, teachers and mentors. Furthermore, they physical development ending at puberty caused them to experience an upsurge of sexual desires and feelings of intimacy as suggested by Sigmund Freud in the Genital stage of personality development in which the focus of libido is shifted to sexual organs and one feels attraction toward opposite gender (Offer, 1992). Similar thing happened to my peer group however social norms acted as a strong repressor of their desires and they learned to control them triumphantly. Erickson defined the individual belonging to this stage as the distracted, thoughtless, daring and rebellious because they lack personal experiences which may act as a reinforcement to direct their behaviors (Spear, 2002). Another rationale behind their recklessness is the rising hormonal level and lack of appropriate channel to vent the energy out. With the passing time, they learned to serve their energy to develop something productive in terms of career development and academic aspirations.
In my view, the biggest challenging aspect of adolescent development now-a-days is the separation anxiety that they encounter due to the sudden separation from parents (Spear, 2002). Suppose a child was previously growing up under helicopter parents; he was less concerned with his career development, fiscal remittance and other significant decision making because his parents did everything for him. After crossing childhood and reaching adolescence, his parents decided that he would be sent to a distant city for better schooling which is something unacceptable for him. A newer place with newer people offers newer challenges to him because his parents are not there to assist him and he himself is responsible for his further development. A sudden withdrawal of emotional support from parents takes a serious toll on his physical, mental and emotional development. Moreover, a peer group having bullies adds further insult to his injuries and hampers his adjustment gravely. Separation anxiety coupled with the adverse ramifications of bullying leaves the adolescent helpless and his mental health start deteriorating (Offer, 1992). Hence, parents and teachers must be knowledgeable about the potential adversities of adolescent profoundly and must address this stage of development with great care because the nature of experiences at this stage determines the appropriateness of development at the later stages of development.
Spear, A. B. (2002). Adolescent Growth and Development. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 102(3), 23-29. Doi: 10.1016/S0002-8223(02)90418-9
Offer, D., (1992). Debunking the myths of adolescence: findings from recent research. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 31, 1003–1014.
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