Today living in a world of aggression and competition, we are being influenced in many ways including our very own perception of ourselves against environment. People in all walks of life especially youngsters and adolescents are affected by these conditions and vulnerable to suffer anxieties and depression. This reality created an impact for psychologists and sociologists to study adolescent issues which are now visible to numerous published books, professional journals and other parenting guide books to help both parents and adolescents to discover key factors that require attention so that personal development would lead into a mutual success.
G. Stanley Hall once claimed that adolescence is a period of storm and stress. This seems true as most of the people of this age including us when we were part of this stage have gone through a dramatic transition of changes. Young people develop an abstract thinking, sexuality awareness and peer-grouping. From the biological perspective, youngsters encounter biological and emotional tensions. There are occurrences of cracking voice, irritability, acne, scrotal and testicular enlargement are some physical changes that boys generally face in this period whereas, onset of first menstruation, pimples, and reproductive system growth are immediate concerns among girls. These changes result to disturbing anxiety that lead them into becoming uncomfortable, insecure and depress because of facing new social situations, behavioral pattern and societal expectations; they often struggle for individual identity, their own values and beliefs. These behavioral changes may sometimes end up with maladjustment. On this stage though, they begin to start creating friends with similar interests but usually influential on their attitude, value and behavior than their own family. Because of this, family normally faces frustration in the swinging behaviors of their adolescent kids.
At the turn of the 20th century, researches from celebrated psychologists like Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers who have established investigations and theories about human development have begun to look closer at the developmental stage of adolescence that plays a critical role in the society. Psychologists and Sociologists have begun attempting to study the characteristics and developmental contribution of this age and other supplementing factors that affects their overall development. Carol Gilligan once noted that the development between teenage boys and girls have opposite developmental scheme that affects both their identity formation and decision-making process. Girls are relational and boys are expected to be more principled. Adolescence may span a ten-year period, and is labeled as having a series of phases. Early adolescence covers ages from 11 through 14, middle adolescence ranges from age 15 to age 18, and late adolescence is from age 18 to 21. Adolescence contains fundamental changes with unique contexts and psychosocial developments.
Today, World Health Organization has discovered that there are 1.2 Billion adolescents who contribute to a great diversity in terms of sex, physical, psychological and social development and environmental factors. By mortality concern, over 1.4 Million young men and women lose their lives mostly through accidents, suicide, violence, pregnancy-related complications and illnesses. World Health Organization added that there is an estimate of 70 percents among young adults which premature deaths are largely due to behavior initiated during adolescence and this includes tobacco use, hard core drugs, HIV infection and violence. 20 percent suffer from some mental health issues and adolescents in developing world show a high incidence of malnutrition and anemia and those from the developed world show a rising incidence of obesity. Moreover, about 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth every year – roughly 11% of all births worldwide. Septic abortions cause high mortality while teen age pregnancies are associated with a four times higher mortality than those mothers of the 19-24 age group.
Of all these situations occurring to young people nowadays, who do you think can help? This article may serve as a reminder to us that youths need our collective support for them to become strong and succeed from struggling towards individual identity.