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The cognitive and psychosocial development of adolescents

Adolescence has been described as a period of stress and storm. In the American culture, adolescence is dreaded by most parents and this can be the most difficult part of any child’s life. With it come the biological changes that occur as part of the maturation process of our bodies as well as the different societal pressures that they have to deal with. Biological changes have been found to affect the behavior of most people and this is especially true for teenagers who are still children in all its frailties and complexities (Steinberg & Morris, 2001).

Specific changes occur in the body which transforms the child to an adult. The pituitary gland signals the brain to produce the growth hormone and a series of physical changes occur in a short span of time. The physiological changes are actually geared at the maturation of the sexual organs and this is manifested by the menarche for the girls and nocturnal emissions for the boys. Then depending on the progression of the physical changes, secondary sexual characteristics then develop; girls start to develop breasts, the hips become rounder, pubic hair starts to grow and menstruation becomes regular.

Boys then start to grow taller, their voices change, their arms and legs develop muscles and they grow facial hair and pubic hairs. They have to deal with pimples, acne, body odor, weight issues and even attractiveness. With a culture that values beauty and have it defined by thinness and sex appeal and which shapes teenagers idea of attractiveness which sets them up for failure. Adolescents also have to deal with their academic requirements in school which is getting more difficult everyday.

It is obvious that adolescents goes through a lot in this period of their life and this puts them in a situation that Glab 2 makes it difficult to understand themselves. Moreover, parents expect more from older children and burden them with responsibilities that often are too much for them to handle. Then, they also face identity crisis and have to painfully sort it out by themselves with all of the things that’s going in on their body and their environment.

Hormonal fluctuations during the period of physical development can come with physical discomforts like headaches, sleepiness and even a general feeling of lethargy (Dahl, 2003). These physical manifestations can significantly affect their cognitive and psychosocial development in terms of their concentration to their academics and the quality of their relationships with their family, peers and cliques. Adolescents’ bodies are growing rapidly and with the many things that they are involved in, they often are zapped out of energy and which is why they often feel sleepy and tired.

This is often called as laziness by their parents and teachers which strains their relationship and often makes the adolescent feel that they are misunderstood. In some instances, these feelings would lead to withdrawal from social contacts and even a need to engage in risky behavior as an expression of rebelliousness (Ge, Conger & Elder, 2001). This places them at a disadvantage and is among the most common adjustment problems during adolescence. They may become involved in drugs, sex and aggressive behavior; this puts a dent in their cognitive and social development for the worse.

Teenage pregnancy is prevalent in most high schools, drug overdose and even date rapes as well as school violence are issues that they have to face everyday (Schedler & Block, 1990). On the other hand, an inability to feel that they are in control of their lives and the stress that they experience because of the biological changes they are experiencing, some teenagers, particularly girls who are achievers and perfectionists or grew up in a controlled Glab 3 environment commonly suffer from eating disorders which is actually hazardous to their health as well as psychologically damaging.

The biosocial changes that occur in adolescence can significantly interfere with the cognitive development of teenagers, but they say that it is a period of learning and value formation which makes them more able to lead well-functioning adult lives. During adolescence, girls start to withdraw from school and intellectual activities, while boys become achievers and become popular. It is said that in adolescence boys are expected to be academically excellent while girls need to be attractive and being smart is not required.

This is based on the fact that boy’s brain becomes more developed in adolescence while girls cognitive prowess is evident during pre puberty (Weiss, Kemmler, Deisenhammer, Fleischhacker, & Delazer, 2003). Behavioral problems that occur during this period is often caused by psychosocial issues rather than problems with cognition. Glab 4

References

Dahl, R. (2003). Beyond the raging hormones: The tinderbox in the teenage brain. Cerebrum 5(3), 7-22. Ge, X. , Conger, R. & Elder, G. Jr. (2001). Pubertal transition, stressful life events, and emergence of gender differences in adolescent depressive symptoms. Developmental Psychology, 37, 404-417. Steinberg, L. , & Morris, A. (2001). Adolescent development. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 83-110. Schedler, J. & Block, J. (1990). Adolescent drug use and psychological health: A longitudinal inquiry. American Psychologist, 45, 612-630. Weiss E. , Kemmler, G. , Deisenhammer, E. , Fleischhacker, W. &Delazer, M. (2003). Sex differences in cognitive functions. Personality and Individual Differences 35, 863-75.

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