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Adolescence (Physical, Emotional and Social, Brain and Cognitive, Moral) Development

An adolescent is a phase that is defined as the stage that is transitional regarding physical and psychological development. The stage is marked with various changes in a child which may be positive and sometimes bring out a negative impact on an individual. The period is full of changes that involve specific health and needs regarding development, and it is a time that a person learns to control his emotions and relationships. It is during this period whereby an individual acquires attributes and abilities that allow them to enjoy the rest of their adult life and perform adult roles such as youth and parent relationships. The following research paper will highlight what adolescence stage is ad the various changes that occur in the different changes in the transitional period.

Adolescent psychology is the process of understanding what an individual who is undergoing this stage is going through. The step creates a different and unique set of observations to pediatricians. Different children may present different characteristics in their life which is always confusing to understand them. A child who was polite may turn out to be surly and rebellious to other people while they are calm and respectful at home. Adolescence is a stage that is tumultuous even though it is coming out healthily. A child experiences different physical, social and psychological shocks that they are not used to. Cultural changes also play an essential role when it comes to an understanding of such a stage in an individual’s life. Different people portray different variations and the definition of what is “normal” during this stage. On the other side, most teenagers progress through this stage without any notable behavioral problems and which is not the case to other. The latter statement leads us to the analysis of the various physical, psychological and emotional developments that applies to different stages during this period.

It is a daunting task to understand the exact period when adolescent development set in. There are complex changes involved biologically, psychologically and socially that makes the stage to be handled most appropriately. The steps involved in the adolescent development should be understood so that the entire teenagers can also be comprehended without any prejudice. They include physical changes, social and emotional, cognitive and moral perspectives of an individual. All the stages go hand in hand with the development of an individual. For example, a change in the physical attributes of a boy should go hand in hand with the psychological changes and among others.

Physical development

Biologically, adolescence begins at the onset of puberty in an individual. Various physical changes happen during adolescence stages, but they are not universal to all individuals involved in the process. The changes in physical appearances of an individual are often triggered by hormones involved in changing the way an individual grows. Hormones lead to pituitary sensitive nature, and thus the release of gonadal androgens and estrogens follow. As a result of the hormonal differences, various notable changes occur among the teenagers. Hormonal changes lead to rapid changes among boys and girls. The changes are observed in height, weight, genital development, and body shape.

Puberty in most countries starts as from the gas of 8 and 13 years old. It is during this period among girls where they develop breast buds. In addition to that, as they proceed during this stage, sexual development indicates such as breast enlargement, ovary enlargement, uterus, labia, and clitoris which is accompanied by the thickening of the mucus of the vagina. On the other hand, boys lag in terms of development as compared to girls. For example, the enlargement of their testicular occurs around the age of 12 years. The stage is also followed closely by the development of pubic hair and growth of the penis among the boys. Both boys and girls increase in height and weight on the onset of puberty. Physical growth is observed on the hands and feet before it is observed on the trunk. Many adolescents also experience a period of awkwardness in the way they appear physically as a result of disproportionate growth that occurs on the legs and hands before it progresses to the increased muscle mass.

It should, however, be noted that variations in timing on the onset of puberty lead to an impact on the psychology of other adolescents whose rate is slower than the norm in the society. Moreover, the rate at which puberty sets is determined by various factors such as the health of an individual, the nutritional status and ethnicity. African American girls are believed to enter into adolescence earlier than white girls. The impact on male leads to an increase in self-confidence and a possibility of succeeding in athletics, academic and the social scene for those who develop earlier as compared to those who develop late. Conversely, to those girls who mature earlier, tend to have low self-esteem. In addition to that, they become sensitive about how they look. In contrast to boys, late-developing girls seem not to have any issue with self-confidence and self-esteem.
Even when the above changes occur as scheduled, the adolescents are affected in one way or the other, and they should be handled with a lot of care. This is because the changes in their physical development are directly related to the psychological functioning of their bodies. Parents or guardians and teachers should be wary of such changes and offer support to adolescents whenever they are facing any physical changes.

Emotional and Social development

This change is well defined by the changes that adolescents experience regarding how they respond to calamities and the socialization dimension. Erik Erikson is the leading theorist who explains what the stage means regarding development. He, therefore, classified adolescence as a stage at which the adolescent stage is characterized as a stage which involves identity formation and mobbing away from receiving care from adults. It is at this stage that he refers to as ego identity formation and diffusion of roles. During this stage, adolescents should have the coherent value that is assigned to their behaviors which they will carry into their adulthood. Parents should open lines of communication so that their children going through this stage will open up to their needs. As the adolescents are trying to be robust and handle issues on their own and solidify their identities, they sometimes do not linearly develop, and they seek parents’ attention when they regress. Adolescents during this stage are yearning to have role models as they build their own identity in life. Parents, teachers, religious leaders and other adults in society play a more significant role in shaping the character of adolescents during this stage. Adults should be positive role models to the adolescents which is part of the psychosocial development stage.

Brain and Cognitive Development

It is also part of the development which Jean Piaget describes adolescence as a shift in a stage where the parents control decision making to a state where making a decision is independent and takes place in formal setups. During this phase, adolescents undergo a variety of growth in the brain, and some brain imaging has proven to observe an expanded gray matter during this development stage. The added brain capacity is a clear indicator that there is additional information being absorbed and this disregards the fact that brain development was experienced during early childhood. The stage is rampant with adolescent demanding for attention, and they end up doing crazy things such as driving recklessly and being allowed to be driven by a drunk driver and among other crazy stuff.

The adolescents’ brain also matures around the regions of the prefrontal cortex is a clear explanation of an increase in working memory, emotion regulation and the ability to plan. Most of the behaviors they portray are biologically driven, and they include acts such as short-sightedness, repulsiveness and risk-taking behavior. Parents play a more significant role when it comes to changing some behaviors among adolescents because they need to be accompanied by parental supervision and apply measures that control individual behavior. For example, means used to change behaviors such as smoking will not only be accomplished by using the anti-smoking campaign. They should, however, be used with laws that prohibit the manufacture and sale of cigarettes.

Moral Development

The study of moral development among adolescents is not straightforward, and this is the reason why it is both a social and biological aspect. The theorist who is known to explain the various stages of moral development is Lawrence Kohlberg. He observed that not all people understand what moral behaviors are and there are different stages of such a development. The adolescent stage is classified as a shift from the pre-conventional level of moral development to the conventional level of moral thinking. In this development stage, the morality of an individual is based on the place an individual holds in the society and the interpersonal relationships that he she posses among other people. During this stage, most actions are controlled by the views of other people and how he is viewed in society. An adolescent needs to be seen as good and also does not want to hurt others in the process.

In conclusion, adolescent psychology is the entire process of understanding the changes involved during adolescence. It is a stage that is experienced by any human beings and it marks the end of childhood and ushers in adulthood. The stages of development include physical, cognitive and brain development, emotional and social development and moral development. The change that occurs in the stages impacts a person which impacts them until adulthood. The change that occurs in the physical development of an individual goes a long way to impact the psychosocial and emotional development involved. Parents should play an important role when it comes to nurturing their children as they experience any changes.


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