Both the characteristics of an individual e. Important neuronal developments are also taking place during the adolescent years. These developments are linked to hormonal changes but are not always dependent on them. Developments are taking place in regions of the brain, such as the limbic system, that are responsible for pleasure seeking and reward processing, emotional responses and sleep regulation. At the same time, changes are taking place in the pre-frontal cortex, the area responsible for what are called executive functions: decision-making, organization, impulse control and planning for the future.
The changes in the pre-frontal cortex occur later in adolescence than the limbic system changes. Linked to the hormonal and neurodevelopmental changes that are taking place are psychosocial and emotional changes and increasing cognitive and intellectual capacities. Over the course of the second decade, adolescents develop stronger reasoning skills, logical and moral thinking, and become more capable of abstract thinking and making rational judgements.
These external influences, which differ among cultures and societies, include social values and norms and the changing roles, responsibilities, relationships and expectations of this period of life. In many ways adolescent development drives the changes in the disease burden between childhood to adulthood—for example, the increase with age in sexual and reproductive health problems, mental illness and injuries.
Sleep deprivation can also promote alterations in mood, exacerbate symptoms of psychiatric disorders such as depression 14 , and cause metabolic changes, which increase appetite and, consequently, body mass To address the pertinent needs of a particular adolescent, it is helpful to first determine in which developmental substage the youngster belongs. Association of sleep and academic performance. Across the globe, millions of boys and girls are betrothed so young they spend the majority of their adolescence already married. Birthday Musings By Beverly D. Growth at adolescence.
The appearance of certain health problems in adolescence, including substance use disorders, mental disorders and injuries, likely reflects both the biological changes of puberty and the social context in which young people are growing up. In mid- to late adolescence, young people often feel the need to establish their sexual identity. They need to become comfortable with their body and sexual feelings. Adolescents learn to express and receive intimate or sexual advances. Young people who do not have the chance for such experiences may have a harder time with intimate relationships when they are adults.
Adolescents become stronger and more independent before they have developed good decision-making skills. A strong need for peer approval may tempt a young person to take part in risky behaviors. Motor vehicle safety should be stressed. Adolescents should not have the privilege of using motor vehicles unless they can show that they can do so safely. If adolescents need to be evaluated if they appear to be isolated from their peers, uninterested in school or social activities, or doing poorly at school, work, or sports.
Many adolescents are at increased risk for depression and potential suicide attempts. This can be due to pressures and conflicts in their family, school or social organizations, peer groups, and intimate relationships. Adolescents most often need privacy to understand the changes taking place in their bodies. Ideally, they should be allowed to have their own bedroom. If this is not possible, they should have at least some private space.
Teasing an adolescent child about physical changes is inappropriate. It may lead to self-consciousness and embarrassment. Parents need to remember that it is natural and normal for their adolescent to be interested in body changes and sexual topics. It does not mean that their child is involved in sexual activity. Adolescents may experiment with a wide range of sexual orientations or behaviors before feeling comfortable with their own sexual identity. Parents must be careful not to call new behaviors "wrong," "sick," or "immoral.
The Oedipal complex a child's attraction to the parent of the opposite sex is common during the adolescent years.
Parents can deal with this by acknowledging the child's physical changes and attractiveness without crossing parent-child boundaries. Parents can also take pride in the youth's growth into maturity. It is normal for the parent to find the adolescent attractive.
This often happens because the teen often looks very much like the other same-sex parent did at a younger age.
This attraction may cause the parent to feel awkward. The parent should be careful not to create a distance that may make the adolescent feel responsible. It is inappropriate for a parent's attraction to a child to be anything more than an attraction as a parent. Attraction that crosses the parent-child boundaries may lead to inappropriately intimate behavior with the adolescent. This is known as incest.
The teenager's quest to become independent is a normal part of development. The parent should not see it as a rejection or loss of control. Parents need to be constant and consistent. They should be available to listen to the child's ideas without dominating the child's independent identity. Although adolescents always challenge authority figures, they need or want limits.
Limits provide a safe boundary for them to grow and function. Limit-setting means having pre-set rules and regulations about their behavior. Power struggles begin when authority is at stake or "being right" is the main issue.
These situations should be avoided, if possible. As children move to this stage, they generally develop the ability to think through and solve complex problems for the first time. They also become more willing and able to think about the future and what it holds for them. Also, this is generally the first time they think about forming romantic relationships. For example, a year-old girl may experience physical development that gives her the appearance of a year-old but may not develop socially or emotionally until much later in adolescence.
Along with an understanding that each child develops differently, hopefully, this breakdown has given you a better idea of what you can expect your child to go through during each phase of development. When we can recognize and understand each stage, we can be better equipped to help our children navigate through their teens and into adulthood.
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