The English word adolescence is derivative of the Latin ‘adolescence’ which means to grow to maturity. This age begins from twelve and continues till the age of twenty. In the words of Jersild, “Adolescence is the period through which a growing person makes transition from childhood to maturity.”
Adolescence, in the opinion of most educational psychologists, begins between the age of 12 and 14 years. Compared to boys, girls enter the period of adolescence a couple of years earlier. According to Dr. Jones, adolescence is the recollection of infancy.
It parallels the states of infancy and childhood in being patterned into two conditions, the first of growth and the second of maturation
1. State of Growth
In this state, the adolescent is seen to be very active and unstable as well as disturbed. He gives the impression of being somewhat lost, and is subject to rapidly, wearying moods of dejection and elation, enthusiasm and deep lethargy, etc.
The main thing concerning this period in life is that the adolescent is no longer a child but an adult, though the society in which he lives continues to treat him as a child.
Secondly, he climbs down from the dizzy heights of imagination that he reached in his infancy and childhood and steps firmly into the real world.
Both these factors engender in him a constant fear of reproof and criticism at the hands of others. He often becomes helpless and pitiable, shy and repressed. This does not indicate that the runs away from the real world, but that he tries to modify it according to his own notions.
In efforts of this kind, relation and dejection are only natural, and it is for this reason that the adolescent is often seen wearing a look of anxiety.
2. State of Maturation
By the time he enters this stage; he has calmed down a bit and shown signs of stability. He carves a niche for himself in his society, and gradually his tendencies, habits and activities become stable and regular.