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An adolescence is period of physical and psychological development from the onset of puberty to maturity. The adolescent is no longer a child, but they havenít reached adulthood yet. Adolescence is considered people between the ages of 13 and 21. Puberty is the physical maturing that makes an individual capable of sexual reproduction. Puberty is important to adolescence because when a child hits puberty, thatís when the child is becoming an adolescent. Puberty is a big part of an adolescentís life.
Adolescence is not cultural universal. In some societies, young children go straight from childhood to the adult life once they have done the necessary puberty rites. Puberty rites are formal ceremonies that mark the entrance of young people into the adult life. People at the age of 13 to 14 that completed these puberty rites can become accepted into the adult society.
Three factors are important in the development of adolescence as a distinct stage of the life cycle. The first factor is education. Young children are required to spend many years in school and state laws make education mandatory up to the age of 16. The second factor that separates young people in a different type of group is the exclusion of youth from the labor force. In many states, child labor laws keep people from going to the labor force until they hit the age of 16. Adolescents usually work part time while still going to school. The third factor is the rise of adolescence as a distinct stage of the life cycle is the development of the juvenile justice system. Our society has in effect created a separate legal status for young people, by distinguishing between juvenile and adult offenders.
There are five characteristics that all adolescents have. These characteristics are biological growth and development, an undefined status, increased decision-making, increased pressures, and the search for self.
The brain and the endocrine system control biological growth and development. During the early stages of adolescence, individuals experience growth in height and weight, changes in the body, the development of sexual characteristics, and skin problems. For example, I started getting curves in my body when I hit puberty. My body started to develop changes.
Our societyís expectations for children and adults are clear, but for the adolescent, expectations are inexplicit. Some adolescents are treated like children, but some are treated like adults. There is an undefined status. For example, my parents pay for my lunch, but I have to have a job so I can support myself.
Adults usually make most of the decisions for young children, but adolescents must make many decisions on their own. For example, when I was a child, my mother would choose what I would wear for school and what was in my lunch box. But now, I have to choose what I will wear, what I will eat, what kind of job I want to have and many more different decisions.
Adolescents are faced with a lot of pressure from many different people. They get put under pressure from their parents to their peers. They also get pressure from school but the most pressure adolescents receive is from their own peers. Adolescents wants to be accepted and be liked their friends. They want to do what everyone else is doing, no matter how much they might not want too. For example, I was always pressured from my parents because they didnít want me to become a bad child like my older sister. They didnít let me go out or do anything with my friends, but my friends would pressure me to sneak out and do wrong things. I was getting pulled back and forth with a lot of pressure.
Another example of pressure that adolescents face is an example from the show ďAmerican HighĒ. Kiwi is the kicker of the football team. He stated that he has a lot of fear when he has to kick and thatís due to the pressure that he gets because it is important if he makes the kick or not.
Adolescents are old enough to think about themselves and they are old enough to know what they want to do. Adolescents are in the search for themselves. They figure out what kind of person they really are. They can decide what is
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Adolescence, Human development, Educational psychology, Youth, Preadolescence, Puberty, Developmental psychology, Young adult fiction, Adolescent sexuality
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