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Growth and development of children between the age of twelve to eighteen is anticipated to include predictable mental and physical milestones. This possibly becomes the make or break point or stage of a child’s personal life and, thus, appropriate care, intelligence and understanding must be employed to help teens to deal with challenges brought about by this development. A lot is learnt at this stage. Specific and extremely beneficial abilities are also acquired during these years. All adolescents have to face the physical maturation cycle; it brings puberty earlier to girls than to boys. If not well prepared to cope with this development, adverse implications may result to these young people. They will need data about expected body developments and the significance that these changes would bring as early as appropriate (Larson & Wilson, 2004).
There are various abilities that are developed during adolescence. Young individuals at this age are able to comprehend abstract ideas. These ideas would include but are not limited to higher concepts of mathematics, as well as developing moral philosophies like privileges and rights. Young individuals at this stage are also able to form and upkeep contenting relationships through learning to talk and share intimacy with no feeling of inhibition or worry. Lastly, they are also in a position to put to question old values without demolishing their identity.
Many changes are evidenced by young individuals during adolescence as they sail out of childhood to adulthood. The changes undergone in this stage are distinctive to both boys and girls. Girls may start to grow breast buds at the age of eight, but the breasts will be expected to develop between ages of twelve to eighteen. Armpit and leg hair and public hair start to grow at the age of 9-10years. The hairs will be anticipated to reach adult pattern at the age of thirteen. Menstrual cycles will be expected to start two years after development of breast buds and public hairs. Basically, it may occur at the age of 10 to 15 years. In the United States of America, the average age of the menstrual cycle start point is 12.5 years. A rapid growth in height of girls between the ages of 9 and 14 years is an evident attribute of this developmental stage (Larson & Wilson, 2004).
In boys adolescence commences by the enlargement of their testicles and scrotum starting from the age of nine. An eventual lengthening of the private organ is experienced, and their genitals attain adult size at the age of 17 years. Public, armpit, chest, facial and leg hair characterize the next developmental phase in boys at the age of twelve years, and they reach the adult pattern later, at 16 years. Puberty in boys is not commenced in a sudden incidence like in girls, where the start of the menstrual cycle marks a sudden and significant milestone of their development. However, regular night emissions, commonly referred to as wet dreams, characterize the start of puberty in boys. Wet dreams typically start to be experienced at the age of 14.5 years. Alongside the growth of the male genitals, their voices change and become not as soft as they used to be.
Adolescents tend to become acutely sensitive, conscious, as well as worried about their personal body developments and usually make some painful comparisons about their own selves with their peers. They may at times undergo some extremely awkward thoughts about how they appear and their physical coordination, owing to the fact that the physical changes never occur in regular and smooth schedule. Young girls commonly become anxious if they were not prepared for the commencement of their menstrual cycles. Boys may feel worried at the initial stages of nocturnal emissions if they had no information regarding the situation. It, therefore, becomes normal for adolescents to initiate separation from their parents and eventually form their personal identity. This may sometimes occur with no apparent problem with their parents and other members of their family. However, this is not always the case, since conflicts may take place in families as parents strive to regulate the situation (Everaerd, 1983).
Adolescents find it easier to establish friendships externally than to pull close to their parents as they search for their personal identity. These friendships may compose havens under which they will test new ideas. The friendship is, in most cases, unromantic in early adolescence. However, it eventually graduates to romantic relationships in the middle of adolescence (14 to 16 years). In mid way up to late adolescence, young individuals feel the urge to establish their identity of sex by feeling comfortable with their sexual and body feelings. Adolescents learn to receive and express sexual advances through dating, romantic friendships, and experimentation with those who lack the chance of having such exposures. There are several myths explaining the behavior of adolescents. One of them being that other peoples’ attention is constantly stage centered on their appearance and actions. The other myth is that their woes will not catch up with individual selves but others. The woes may include, but are not limited to, getting impregnated for girls; and getting infected with a sexually transmitted disease for both young girls and boys (Everaerd, 1983).
Adolescents become more independent and stronger when they develop skills that facilitate timely decisions. Most adolescents engage in dangerous activities when they have peer approval. Parents or those who are in authority of adolescents should, therefore, govern what they do. For example, it would not be right for an adolescent to be privileged to using cars unless they prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they can use them safely. Adolescents involved in sports should be taught to use protective gears and equipments. This should go along with teachings of safe play and sober approaches to undertakings requiring advanced skills. Awareness about possible dangers that go along with regular abuse of substances should be created to caution them against such habits. Young boys and girls who are authorized to utilize and access lethal weapons will need to be taught on how to use those in a proper and legal way. Evaluations of adolescents who are uninterested in social activities or school, or perform poorly in academics, work and sport, or seem to be separated from their peers would be beneficial. This would go a long way to secure them from increased risk of possible depression and suicide attempts that result from conflicts and pressures in schools, families, and peers and intimate relationships (Everaerd, 1983).
Parenting Tips about Sexuality
Adolescents require privacy to make terms with the changes occurring to their bodies. They should, thus, be allowed to have their own sleeping rooms or at least some private spaces if the former is not possible. Right approaches to adolescents about expected physical changes should be employed to avoid embarrassment. Parents and other guardians are needed to comprehend that it is normal and natural for adolescents to get interested in sexual topics and body changes, and this may not imply that they must be engaging in sexual activities (Larson & Wilson, 2004).