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"If everyone knows a thing, itís almost for certain it aint so."
Adolescence has been assumed to be a time of "storm and
stress". This is one of those areas where research has shown what everyone
knows to be true to not necessarily be so. Yes, SOME adolescents rebel
? I should know, I was one of them. My oldest daughter was practically
out of control for a while. I was a single parent, and, at thirteen and
fourteen, every time I would go out of town she would throw a party with
drinking, fights and God only knows what else. Yes, of course I had someone
stay at the house with her, but somehow things always got out of hand.
All this seems to support the assertion that all adolescents do have problems,
SOME adolescents have problems, but this seems to hinge on a few other factors than just being an adolescent. These include:
I have seen this happen in my oldest daughter, and it saddens me. She is a very intelligent, attractive, talented young lady. Yet, as she went through junior high and high school, I think she lost some of her self. She became more concerned with how she looked, what was cool, what other people thought. Perhaps this would have happened to the same extent if she was a boy, but the research suggests that it would not have. There is a reason that many of the books on the developmental psychology of women speak of 'voice'. There is Carol Gilligan's book, In a different voice, the book Women's ways of knowing, by Belenkey et al. , which talks about "women's silence". What girls lose as they enter adolescence, I think, is exactly that courage to "speak one's mind with all one's heart". They lose themselves as Mary Pipher (the author of Reviving Ophelia) says. Did anyone ever ask Bandura WHY he only studied boys?
What girls lose as they enter adolescence
PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT DURING ADOLESCENCE
PUBERTY AND OTHER FUN STUFF
There are plenty of books that cover this well, so I only want to emphasize a few main points and terms:
Adolescence and puberty are not the same thing. Over the years, I have noticed that many students confuse these terms. Adolescence is a period between childhood and adulthood. Specific age ranges given by different texts vary, from "the second decade of life", i.e., from 11 to 20, to the teenage years (13 to 19) and some authors saying adolescence may extend through the mid-twenties, especially for people who stay in school. Adolescence is marked by numerous psychological, social and physical developments. Puberty, in contrast, refers to the PHYSICAL changes which occur during adolescence, including
Maturing either earlier or later than one's peers can affect a person socially and psychologically. This may be positive, e.g., in the case of boys who are better at sports because they have a larger proportion of muscle mass, are bigger and taller and thus less likely to be bullied. It can also be negative, as witnessed by a female student in one of my classes who stated,
"You never know how cruel other kids can be and how much their teasing can hurt unless you have had to start wearing a bra in the third grade."
If you cannot talk to your child about menstruation...did you know that there is actually a MUSEUM of menstruation and women's health? No, I did not make that up. Another fact, there were, as of April, 1999 25,973 web pages on menstruation in the English language.
Helping your child survive puberty is a series of practical articles provided by the Family Education Network, a parenting site on the web supported by advertising. Sort of a web equivalent of a cable TV channel on family issues.
I have more than once had students complain to my in class-- why do we have to talk about this stuff (sex)? The answer is, because the professions which most people who take developmental psychology will eventually enter, such as teaching, nursing, medicine and psychology, usually require interaction with children and adolescents. The information young people get about sex has to come from somewhere, and, the more knowledgeable and comfortable you are discussing sex, the better information you will be able to give them. If your answer is - but they should learn that at home -- well, based on current statistics, the odds are 90--95% that you will some day have children of your own -- if you don't already. My advice is to start discussing sex and related topics with your children at a young age - as soon as they begin asking questions, give them answers. If you first start discussing sex with your son or daughter at age fifteen, it may already be too late, plus, I would think it would be horribly uncomfortable for both of you.
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