INTRODUCTION TO ADOLESCENCE STAGE

 

UNIT STRUCTURE

1. Learning Objectives
2. Introduction
3. Concept of Adolescence Stage

1. Characteristics of Adolescence
2. Basic Needs of the Adolescents
3. Significance of Adolescence
4. Problems of Adolescence Stage
4. Role of Parents and Teachers towards the Adolescents
5. Let Us Sum Up
6. Further Readings
7. Answers to Check Your Progress
8. Possible Questions
9. References

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

 
After going through this unit, you will be able to:
Explain the Adolescence Stage.
Identify the Characteristics of the Adolescence Stage.
Define the basic needs of the Adolescents.
Discuss the significance of the Adolescence Stage.
Explain the role of Parents and Teachers towards the Adolescents.


INTRODUCTION


Our discussion on the stages of human development will continue in this unit also. Here, we will discuss adolescence, which is the most crucial period of human development. In this stage, the children become sexually mature and reach the age of legal maturity. It is the period of rapid and revolutionary changes in the individual’s physical, mental, moral, emotional, spiritual, sexual and social outlook. Human personality develops new dimensions.

The word ‘adolescence’ comes from the Latin word ‘adolescere’ which means ‘to grow’. So the essence of the word adolescence is growth and it is in this sense that adolescence represents a period of intensive growth and change in nearly all aspects of a child’s physical, mental, social and emotional life. Adolescence has been described by Stanley Hall as ‘the period of storm and stress of human life’. It is a very crucial period of one’s life which covers roughly from 12-18/19+ years. The most important fact about adolescence is that it is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Transition from one period to another always is associated with some problems. Adolescence is not an exception and it is also associated with some problems.

The purpose of this unit is to familiarise you with the Adolescence stage, its important characteristics, the basic needs of adolescents, significance of this stage in human life, and the role of parents and teachers towards the young adolescents.
 

ADOLESCENCE STAGE


The period of adolescence is considered as crucial and significant period of an individual’s life. Psychologically, adolescence is the age when the individual becomes integrated into the society of the adults. It is the stage when the child no longer feels that he is below the level of his elders but rather an equal with them, at least in rights. This integration into the adult society has many aspects, more or less linked with puberty. It also includes profound intellectual changes. These intellectual transformations, typical of an adolescent’s thinking, enable him to achieve his integration into the social relationships of the adults. Thich is the most general characteristic of this period of development.

It is the period which begins with puberty and ends with the general cessation of the physical growth. It emerges from later childhood stage and merges into adulthood. It is difficult to assign definite years to it because they differ from country to country and culture to culture. Chronologically, age ranges are from 12/13 years to 18/19 years in India. In case of girls it begins about 1 year earlier than the boys.

Studies of changes in behaviour, attitudes and values throughout adolescence have revealed that these changes are more rapid in the early part than in the later part of adolescence. As such, adolescence period is divided into two parts -

i) Early Adolescence, and
ii) Late Adolescence.

Early Adolescence extends roughly from 12/13 to 16/17 years and late adolescence covers the period from 17 years to 18/19 years, the age of legal maturity. Late Adolescence is thus a very short period. Early adolescence is usually referred to as the “teens”. Older adolescents are also strictly speaking, “Teenagers”. But the term teenager is popularly associated with the characteristic pattern of behaviour of the young adolescents and is rarely applied to older adolescents. Instead they are usually referred to as “young men” and “young women” - or even “youths” - indicating that the society recognises in them a maturity of behaviour not found during the early years of adolescence.

As stated above adolescence is the period of rapid changes in the individual’s physical, mental, moral, emotional, social and sexual aspects. Human personality develops new dimensions. It is the period to learn new things. It is also a period of anxieties and worries. It is the period of ambitions as well as of conflicts and complexities. In this connection let us mention how A.T. Jersield this period.

A.T. Jersield defines, “Adolescence is that span of years during which boys and girls move from childhood to adulthood, mentally, emotionally, socially and physically.”

 
LET US KNOW
Adolescence stage is a crucial and significant period.
Adolescence extends from 12/13 years to 18/19 years.
This period can be subdivided into two parts - i) Early adolescence (12/13 - 16/17 years) ii) Late adolescence (17 years to 18/19 years).
It is the stage when boys and girls move from childhood to adulthood physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.
It is a stage of gaining sexual maturity.
A stage of attaining legal maturity.

 
CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

1. Fill in the blanks with appropriate words:
1. Chronologically age ranges of adolescence are from __________ years to _________ years in India.
2. Two parts of adolescence periods are _________ and ______.
3. Early adolescence is usually referred to as the ___________.
4. Late adolescence is _________ than Early adolescence.
5. Early Adolescence extends from _________ to ________ years.


Characteristics of Adolescence



Let us discuss the characteristics of adolescence. It is important for school teachers and parents to understand these characteristics, without which they can not be expected to be able to deal effectively with the adolescents. The distinguishing characteristics of this period are:

 
Rapid Physical Development: Adolescence is first of all a period of physical changes and development. Physiological development primarily converts the boy into a man and the girl into a woman and provides the basic for emotional, social, intellectual and economic maturity. The most important changes occur in the glandular system which has great influence not only on the physical development but also in the behavior and personality development of the adolescents. Bio-chemical changes in the body make the endocrine glands more active and there is increase in height, weight, changes in voice muscular growth, appearance of pubic hair, growth of hair on the face arms, legs etc. The most striking physical change in this growth period is attainment of puberty which leads to development of reproductive capacity. Respiratory, circulatory and digestive system are also developed that give more physical energy and vigor. All these changes often lead to confusion, feeling of inadequacy, insecurity and in some cases abnormal behavior. You must understand the fact that all the aspects of adolescent development are basically conditioned by physical changes.
Mental Development: Mental development in adolescence accelerates in many intellectual fronts. As compared with children, adolescents develop greater insight, better understanding and can perceive relationship more easily. They develop the ability to generalize and can think of the solution of more difficult problems. This indicates that the thought process becomes more logical, scientific and systematic during adolescence. It is an accepted fact that the ability of intelligence reaches its maximum at the age of 16 and 17 years. Memory power also develops tremendously and adolescents can retain facts for a longer period. They can anticipate the future needs and can plan for it. Another important change in intellectual orientation is the adolescent’s ability to identity with the circumstances and people outside his own immediate environment. The imitative tendency of childhood disappears during adolescence. The adolescents develop certain amount of independence in thinking and can critically examine the things to make the decision of his own.
Emotional immaturity: We have already said that adolescence is a period of “storm and stress.” Psychologists have regarded it as a period of heightened emotionality. Continuous physical changes mainly give rise to emotional uncertainty and instability. Emotions of anger, fear, shame, disgust give rise to variation in moods, nervousness, sensitiveness, stubbornness, disobedience etc. Sex drive is also a prolific source of emotional disturbance in adolescence. Beside these, adolescent’s striving for independence gives rise to emotional conflicts. Their ideas and views often appear contradictory with that of their parents and other members of the society. At many times, therefore, the adolescent suffer from emotional detachment from their parents and other members of the society. So they are very pone to emotional maladjustment.
Social Consciousness: The period of adolescence is preeminently a period of social development and adjustment. The most important social development during this period is the increased influence of the peer group. The type of peer group shapes the behavior of the adolescent to a great extent. His interests, attitudes and values are influenced by his peers. The adolescent boys and girls become self conscious about their place in society and they gradually enlarge their spheres of social activities and conducts. The adolescent tries to act in an independent manner but the parents often refuse to treat them like grown ups which may lead to difficulties. An adolescent also develops sense of patriotism in his mind and wants to join any type of social services.
Moral Consciousness: The development of morality contributes a great to the general development of personality. Family is the main place where the adolescent receives the moral training and which exerts influence on his attitudes and behavior. As the child grows older his capacity for independent thinking develops. He can distinguish between right and wrong, true and false, virtue and vice and the desirable and the undesirable. Adolescents in general, cannot tolerate immoral or illegal activities. Interest in their own religion also develops. Their moral senses may make them God fearing but sometimes they also develop religions doubts, conflicts uncertainties regarding religious beliefs and practices etc. This may puzzle the thinking of the adolescents.
Hero-worshipping: Hero-worshipping is a tendency of the adolescent stage. It means that the adolescents start to identity themselves with an ideal hero, whom they obey and follow. They admire and respect him. They organize their thoughts and activities in conformity with the ideal of the hero. The hero becomes the source of inspiration for the adolescents to aim for their future. For this reason, the adolescent should be encouraged to study biographies of great man so that they can shape their own life following the ideals of theses great men.
Hetero-sexuality: Hetero-sexuality is another important characteristic of the adolescents. It means the attraction for the opposite sex. Both the sexes develop greater interest for the opposite sex. Adolescents become very much eager to know about the opposite sex. But unfortunately the knowledge which they may receive be harmful for their mental and physical health. Many boys and girls suffer from worries because of the wrong information about sex and lack of proper guidance. All teachers, social workers and psychologists agree that sex education should be provided to the adolescents.
Creative imagination: During adolescence the imaginative faculty of an individual undergoes considerable development. Imagination added with intellectual elements become artistic and creative and finds expression in literature, art, poetry, fiction and even musical and artistic creations, indicating the power of their creative imagination. Imagination thus enriches and transforms experience and contributes to artistic appreciation and production during adolescence. Adolescents’ should be provided with opportunities for the development of their creative talents through music, dance, art and culture. Divergent thinking should be encouraged.
Development of personal Independence: One of the most important things that an adolescent wants is independence from the adult authority. It becomes important for the young persons to establish convictions about their identity. They develop faith in their own capability of doing things and demand self respect from the elder members of the society. They want psychological freedom and do not like adult interference in their own personal business and they want to take decision themselves. A sense of dignity, honour and freedom prevails in their thought, attitude and behavior.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

2. Write brief notes on:
(a) Hero worshipping tendency.
(b) Hetero - sexuality.

ACTIVITY

What is meant by adolescence? Discuss the physical changes connected with the period of adolescents

Basic Needs of Adolescents


Now we know the characteristics of adolescence. Let us discuss the basic needs of adolescence. In the adolescence period, the young adolescents have some basic needs which must be given due importance regarding their fulfillment. The basic needs of adolescents are divided into two groups – (a) Physiological needs and (b) Psychological needs.
Physiological needs:

 
Need for activity -
Activity of one kind or another is an integral part of the adolescent behavior. The physical changes of puberty, the greater muscular power and the surplus of energy, all contribute towards strengthening the need for activity. This surging need must be controlled and guided into the proper channels such as, dancing, swimming, playing football or other types of games and sports.
Need for sexual satisfaction -
Sex development is a fundamental fact of adolescence. The sex instinct which had been lying dormant during childhood is reawakened. In the adolescence stage the young adolescent repeats 3 stages of sexual development -
a) Auto – eroticism: the adolescent takes interest in his own body and he/she handles his own sex organs.
b) Homo-sexuality: during the early period of adolescence boys love to mix with boys and girls with girls.
c) Hetero – sexuality: this type of sexuality is found at the later stage of adolescence. The boys and girls are attracted
towards the opposite sex.
Psychological needs:
Need for freedom -
The young adolescents also need freedom in their life. They do not like to maintain a strict routine life. They do not like disciplined life which is imposed on them by their parents. They love freedom regarding taking decisions related to their life.
Need for social life -
This is an important need of the adolescent. They want the company of their equals. They love to live with their peers, which has a direct influence in their life. They want to talk, discuss and come to some conclusions. This goes a long way towards satisfying their social need. The young adolescent wants to be something among his friends and in the total social set up. They want the approval of their actions and recognitions in any form by their parents, class fellows, teachers and the community at large.
The security need -
The adolescent depends on his parents for the satisfaction of these needs. He wants their affection and attention. He wants some ideals which may help him in the conduct of his life. He wants inspiration from a hero, whom he worships, and who can guide him. This need can be fulfilled if the adolescent is given opportunity of studying the biography of great men like Gandhi, Nehru, Tagore, Vivekananda, Lakshmibai, Sarojini Naidu etc. He will, derive strength and inspiration from them, imbibes ideals, formulates his life goal and strengthens his will and character.
The adventure need -
Thirst for adventure is strong at this age. The adolescent wants to do something so that he is remembered by all. The answer is exploring something which others do not know. Sometimes he is misunderstood and sometimes misdirected. In the absence of proper direction it takes the form of aimless wandering, vagabonding, unsocial acts like strikes and demonstrations. Even the sexual acts mean a thrill and adventure for them. But properly directed adventure can be very much helpful for the adolescent’s social, mental, emotional and physical development.
Need for self dependence or need for a vocation -
The young boys and girls want be independent at this stage. Boys and girls of high school age begin to think seriously about their future. Boys are usually more seriously concerned about an occupation than girls. Boys, typically, want glamorous and exciting jobs, regardless of the ability required or the chances for such jobs being available for them. They also want jobs with high prestige and of higher social status. But the girls, on the other hand normally show a preference for occupations with greater security and less demand on their time. In their vocational choice, they usually stress on service to others, such as teaching or nursing. By late adolescence, the adolescents are concerned about what they would like to do and what they are capable of doing. They are also concerned about how they can get the kind of job they want. Older adolescents have a growing realization of how much it costs to live and they also know what young people, just out of school, can expect to earn. As a result of this greater realism, they approach the choice of their careers with a more practical and more realistic attitude than they would when they were young.


CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

3. Mention any four basic needs of Adolescents in the given space:

4. Write a brief note on -
“Vocational need of Adolescents”

 

Significance of Adolescence Stage


We have already discussed many things about adolescence. We have repeatedly mentioned that it is regarded as the most significant period of human development. But why is it considered significant? It is a significant period because it is a period of:

 
Rapid physical development :
It is a period of vital physical as well as physiological changes and developments. At this stage, all the external and internal body parts and organs achieve their full form and maturity.
Rapid mental development :
During the early adolescence period, rapid mental development occurs. These give rise to the need for later mental adjustments and the necessity for establishing new attitudes, values and interests. The adolescent is mentally alert at this stage. He not only develops not only his intellectual power but also his capacity to critical thinking.
Rapid social development :
It is a period of social development and adjustment. In this stage, the child enters a new field of social responsibilities. The adolescents become socially conscious, self-assertive, and loyal towards their group, they develop co-operation and friendship and become responsible.
Stage of emotional development :
Traditionally adolescence has been thought of as a period of heightened emotionality resulting from glandular and other changes. The heightening is characterised by high degree of instability. The adolescents also develop dependency and sometime independency. They also develop some special feelings like - pride, humility, curiosity, guilt, hero-worshipping etc. All these emotions must be properly guided and they should be provided knowledge to control their emotions at this stage.
Rapid sexual development :
A number of internal and external changes take place in the sexual characteristics of the boys and the girls at the adolescence stage. At the later part of this stage they achieve sexual maturity.
Rapid moral development :
It is also a period of moral development and changes in morality. Their moral outlook becomes progressively more abstract. Moral convictions become more concerned with ‘what is right’ and justice emerge as a dominant moral force. Their moral judgment becomes less egocentric at this stage. They develop an attitude towards the service to mankind.

 
LET US KNOW

Why is adolescent a significant period? It is because:
It is period of rapid physical development. All the external and internal body parts and organs achieve full form and maturity.
It is a period of rapid mental development that leads to development of new interests, values and attitudes.
It is a period of becoming socially conscious, self assertive and loyal towards group.
It is a period of heightened emotionality.
It is a period of moral consciousness and an attitude towards the service of mankind.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS

5. Mention any three importance of adolescence period.


Problems of Adolescence Stage



We know that adolescence is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Any period of transition is likely to be associated with a number of problems. The problems of adolescence may be summarized in the following manner:

 
Sex Problems:
We have read that all the aspects of adolescent development are basically conditioned by physical changes. The onesel of puberty gives the physical excitement never experienced before. The adolescent reacting to these experiences is excited, often without realizing what is happening to him. Some react with pleasure or excitement and some others experience shame, disgust, confusions, anxiety and guilt. They may lead to sexual maladjustment.
Emotional Problems:
Heightened emotionality is a major problem of adolescence. Adolescents experience excessive emotion and they do not have sufficient control violence. Excitability and anger may find expression in its destructive from may lead to law and order problem. Emotion of love, suspicion, jealousy, frustration and revengefulness are very common among adolescents. Thus emotional immaturity is a major problem of adolescence.
Social Problem:
Every society has its own customs and traditions, which it wants to maintain. Every individual has to follow these social values but often the adolescents think all these are out dated and they are not willing to obey. This leads to conflicts. Physical development has many social implications. Sexual development necessarily includes heterosexual orientation and they want to take part in social activities with the opposite sex. The denial of this desire often makes them discontented and restless. Thus, a number of social problems disturb the adolescent.
Educational Problem:
The environment of the school is also not conducive to meet the interests of the students. Defective method of teaching, curriculum, examination, repressive measures adopted by school, unattractive condition of the school campus are largely responsible for creating frustration among the students.
Problem of leisure:
Lack of proper recreational facilities or having nothing to do in their free time leads the adolescents to involvement in some unsocial and criminal activities. Their thoughts and attitudes may turn to be destructive and create serious problem for the society.

ROLE OF PARENTS AND TEACHERS TOWARDS THE ADOLESCENTS


For a proper and all round development of the adolescent boys and girls, parents and teachers have a great role to play. Some suggestions have been discussed below -
 
For Proper Physical Development -
Provision should be made for compulsory physical exercise at morning and evening.
Monthly health check-up by the school doctor must be done.
Scope for some manual work for every adolescent must be provided at home and at school.
Provision of various types of indoor as well as outdoor games and sports for all students in school.
Provision for dance classes for girls at school.
Provision for martial art at school for both boys and girls.

 
For Proper Mental Development -
Home and school atmosphere must be loving and secured.
The school must have a good library, a school debating society and in every class, a discussion group.
Various types of clubs, like - music club, art and craft club, may be organised to enable adolescents to develop their creative abilities.
The guidance services available at school should provide both educational and vocational guidance to their students.
The teacher should keep an eye on every adolescent and try to fulfill his individual needs. The tutorial system must be adopted when necessary.
Excursions to places of historical and geographical importance may be organised.
Activity for the adolescent should be planned in such a way that the imaginations of the young adolescents are directed in the right channels and towards creative efforts.
The adolescents are generally interested in experimentation and self-examinations of objects. Hence, it is suggested that importance should be given on using new dynamic methods of teaching.
Different assignments should be given to the students on the basis of their intelligence and the abilities.
Yoga and meditation must be included in the school curriculum.

 
For Proper Social Development -
Many informal functions may be organised in the school. These would enable the adolescents to come closer to each other and understand the interests and aspirations of each-other. These functions must cater to the needs of all types of adolescents.
Excursions and field trips may be organized. These lead to informal conversations and close contact between the members of the group.
Group games, debates, seminars, conference may be organized. These will help the adolescents to participate in social activities.
The teacher should try to find out the socio - economic conditions, social interests of every adolescent and organize various activities accordingly.
In the social field, every adolescent has to enter particular vocation in his later life. As such the school authorities should impart him knowledge about various vocations prevalent in society. He should also provided knowledge about some new vocations.
The adolescents should be initiated into the standards of adult behaviour. Thus he will be trained for better future living.
They should be entrusted with jobs of responsibility at home and at school as they grow-up. Self-government may be introduced in school to develop a feeling of responsibility among the adolescents.

 
For Proper Emotional Development -
Parents and teachers must be able to redirect the emotions of the adolescents in a proper manner. The adolescent must be able to control his emotions and also to repress those emotions which are not socially acceptable.
Most of the adolescents accept problems of life in a negative way. They are afraid of facing difficult situations in life. Parents and teachers should encourage the adolescents and point out some of their plus points. They may also suggest means and methods of achieving success. This will restore the self-confidence of the adolescents.
It should be brought into the notice of the adolescent that life is a mixture of failure and success and he must build a power of resistance to face failure in life.
The adolescent has to face a large number of problems at this, stage, As such, proper guidance and counseling should be provided by parents, teachers and school Guidance Counselor.
Parents and teachers should treat the adolescent well. They should give him freedom of action within limit. The adolescent should be kept busy with various activities.
The teacher should try to develop maturity of thinking within the child. The adolescent boys and girls must be allowed to discuss their emotional problems with their parents and teachers. And they must be provided enough scope to take part in different activities in school.
The teacher should try to find out those students who are emotionally disturbed. They should try to solve their problems personally.
The parents as well as the teachers should not discriminate among the adolescent boys and girls. The teacher must be known for his impartiality. Then only will he be able to enjoy the confidence of his students.

 
For Proper Sexual Development -
More social contracts between boys and girls. Freedom with proper guidance must be provided to the young adolescents to make friends with the opposite sex.
Proper sex education on a scientific basis should be provided by the teachers.
Parents and teachers should impart the right information about sex to the adolescent boys and girls.
nformation about HIV and other sex related diseases should be provided on a scientific manner by the parents and teachers to the young adolescents. If necessary, teachers and parents must take help of counselors.

 

LET US SUM UP


 
After going through the discussion and explanation on this unit, the following are the basic ideas that we have found from this unit.
Adolescence is a crucial and significant period.It extends from 12/13 years to 18/19 years.
Adolescence can be subdivided into two parts - i) Early adolescence (12/13 - 16/17 years) ii) Late adolescence (17 years to 18/19 years).
It is the stage when boys and girls move from childhood to adulthood physically, mentally, emotionally and socially.
It is a stage of gaining sexual maturity and a stage of attaining legal maturity.
The rapid physical development, intellectual development, emotional immaturity social consciousness, moral consciousness, hero-worshipping, spirit of adventure, hetero-sexuality, creative imagination, self-dependence are some of the important characteristics of adolescence
Need for free activity, need for freedom, need for social life, need for sexual satisfaction, the security need, need for self-dependence or need for a vocation are the basic needs of adolescents.
Parents and teachers have some great roles to play towards the all-round development of the adolescents.


FURTHER READINGS


  • l Mangal, Dr. S.K., : Psychological Foundations of Education, Prakash Brothers, Ludhiana,
  • l Bhatia and Bhatia: A Textbook of Educational Psychology, Doaba House, Delhi,

ANSWERS TO CHECK YOUR PROGRESS


 
After going through the discussion and explanation on this unit, the following are the basic ideas that we have found from this unit.
1 . i) 12/13, 18/19,
ii) Early adolescence, late adolescence,
iii) Teens,
iv) Shorter,
v) 12/13 to 16/17, 17 to 18/19
2 (a) Hero-worshipping is a tendency of the adolescent stage. It means that adolescent start to identity themselves with an ideal hero, whom they obey and follow. They admire and respect him. They organize their thought and activity in conformity with the ideal of the hero. The hero becomes the inspiring source for the adolescents future aim of thought.
  (b) Hetero-sexuality is another important characteristic of adolescent. It means attraction for the opposite sex. Both the sexes develop greater interest for opposite sex. Many boys and girls suffer from worries because of their wrong information about sex and lack of proper guidance. All teachers, social workers and psychologists agree that sex education should be provided to adolescents.
3
Need for Freedom.
Need for Social Life.
Need for Sexual Satisfaction.
Need for Self-dependence or Need for a Vocation.
4. The young boys and girls want be independent at this adolescents stage. Boys and girls of high school age begin to think seriously about their future. Boys are usually more seriously concerned about an occupation than girls. Boys, typically, want glamorous and exciting jobs, regardless of the ability required or the chances that such jobs will be available for them. They also want jobs with high prestige and of higher social status. But girls on the other hand normally show a preference for occupations with greater security and less demand on their time. In their vocational choice, they usually stress service to others, such as teaching or nursing.
5 Rapid physical development.
Rapid mental development.
Rapid social development.

POSSIBLE QUESTIONS



 
  • Write a note on the adolescence period.
  • Discuss the major characteristics of the adolescence Stage.
  • What are the basic needs of the adolescents? Discuss the role of parents and teachers for the all round development of the adolescents.
  • “Adolescence is an important period” - Discuss the statement.

REFERENCES

  • Aggarwal, J.C.: Essentials of Educational Psychology. Vikas Publishing House Pvt. Ltd. new Delhi,
  • Bhatia and Bhatia: A Textbook of Educational Psychology. Doaba House, Delhi,
  • Hurlock, E.B. : Developmental Psychology, A Life-Span Approach, TATA McGRAW-HILL Publishing Company LTD., New Delhi, 5th Edition,
  • Mangal, Dr. S.K.: Psychological Foundations of Education. Parkash Brothers, Ludhiana,
  • Safaya R.N., Shukla and C.S., Bhatia B.D.; Educational Psychology, Dhanpat Rai Publishing Company, New Delhi