The adolescent feels a great deal of insecurity in his relations with others and particularly with adults. The society hopes and expects that he should behave like an adult but not too much like an adult.
The adolescent is also eager to play adult behaviour but he does not know whether he has gone too far or not far enough. This state of affairs causes a sense of insecurity and anxiety. The problem could have been solved, had the society placed before him definite standards of teenage behaviour.
The anxiety is also caused by the fact that the adolescent is living in two kinds of societies-teenage society and adult society. The behaviour that satisfies one irritates the other. Therefore, the adolescent is living constantly in a state of tension. Anxiety is caused also by a number of thwarting.
Take for example sex. Auto sexual behaviour is frowned upon in our society and sexual relations are forbidden to adolescents. Certain forms of sexual activity are punished by law and by adult society. This causes anxiety.
Ideally, the adolescent is supposed to wait until a certain age when economic independence has been achieved and marriage and subsequent monogamous, heterosexual activities are condoned. However, throughout adolescence models for non- conventional behaviour are many and stimulation for sexual activity is generally strong.
The society imposes limitations on sexual expression and creates problems for the adolescents. It regards even, simple sexual urges as immoral and reprehensible. When the individual reaches his middle teens he is able to perform all the adult sexual functions.
But society wants that he should postpone sexual expression, until marriage, there is freedom in print, as shown in many novels and stories. There is freedom also on the stage. Still most people speak of sex with embarrassment indicative of anxiety. Hence, the adolescents do not get clear answers to their problems regarding sex.
The sexual activity in the males is strongest during ten years and gradually declines after 20. This heightened male sex drive creates further problems for the adolescent boys. Although during these years, the desire of sexual activity is at its height there is no approved way in which it can be satisfied. The male adolescent tries to get some relief through masturbation.
The solution of these sex problems becomes necessary in school and colleges. A compulsory programme of sex education has been suggested so that the adolescent may be better informed about sex and may be better able to discuss sex problem objectively and bravely.
The adolescent is faced with many emotional problems. He does things which he later regrets. He wishes he were more popular but he finds himself ignored, isolated and rejected. He worries about little things but he cannot find answers to them. He wants to improve his prestige and position but fails.
He needs to develop self-confidence but he is not given ample opportunities. He is easily hurt. He is not sure of himself. He hesitates to assume responsibilities. In short, he remains in a continual tense emotional state. Adolescence has, therefore, been regarded as the period of stress and strain.
Stress and Strain as Caused by Cultural Factors
The adolescent is subject to pressures. Many of his difficulties are caused by culture in which he lives. The conditions that culture imposes upon him are responsible for stress and strain. He feels that he does not belong, that he is different, and that others view him with suspicion and hostility.
“In this world of human affairs” says Tagore there is no worse nuisance than a boy at the age of fourteen. He is neither ornamental nor useful. It is impossible to shower affection on him. If he talks with childish lips he is called a baby; and if he answers in a grownup way he is called impertinent. In fact, any talk from him is resented.
Then he is at the unattractive growing age. He voice grows hoarse and breaks and quivers; his face grows suddenly angular and unsightly. It is hard to tolerate even unavoidable lapses in a boy of fourteen. The lad himself becomes painfully self-conscious.
Yet at this age the lad most craves for recognition and love. But none dare openly love him for that would be regarded as undue indulgence. So with scolding and chiding he becomes very much like a stray dog that has lost his master.
Characteristics of physical growth and development of the adolescents (Its educational implications )
Ans. Physical Development in Adolescence if we study the growth curves of height and weight from infancy to adulthood, we find that growth in these physical aspects is rapid in infancy, goes down in middle childhood, and shoots up in adolescence.
The adolescent not only increases in size or weight but all of his or her body alters; for example, there are changes in the internal organs and body processes and subtle alterations in the composition of the tissues. In males there is the deepening of voice, the growth of the beard and the ability to produce semen.
In girls there is the development of breasts, changes in the uterine and the pelvic areas and the menarche. For both sexes we have the growth of the body hair particularly in the pubic and under-arm areas, changes in contours of face and body, and the eruption of new teeth.
Most children exhibit pre-pubescent growth spurt and a marked increase in height and weight, especially during the month prior to menarche in the girls and the growth of public hair and the first ejaculation of seminal fluid in boys.
There are Changes in Proportions of the Body and in Organs and Tissues
For example, the legs grow relatively longer upto 15 years and then stem length increases slowly. In the childhood the whole body becomes slender but in the adolescence it begins to broaden again. The bones increase not only in size but also in number.
The nose becomes so prominent that it perplexes the sensitive boy. The chemical composition of the bones also changes. Sexual maturing, which is the most complicated process of growth and change at this stage of development, is the most prominent feature of adolescence.
From 14 to 20 years of age there is a tremendous change in genital types, tests, ovary, epididymis, uterine tube, prostatic urethra and seminal vesicles.
One of the Chief Characteristics of Physical Growth and Development of Adolescents is their Variability
For example, you will find in a certain class 50% of the girls having entered the puberty cycle whereas the remaining 50% has not done so. A girl at 13 looks partially a young woman but the other of the same age looks still a child. Such variability in the maturation rate is a striking feature of both sexes.
Affects of Early and Late Maturing on Behaviour of Adolescents the early maturing boy, as we have said earlier, gets a good position among his associates. Since he is tall for his age, he becomes the leader of the group, and the teacher also assigns him a position of responsibilities.
This fact creates many problems which he is not yet able to handle. Just at a time when he is trying to adjust to an enlarged physical structure he finds more disadvantages than advantages. The only advantage that he gets out of early maturing is that he gets a chance to learn adult roles earlier.
The late maturing boy is decidedly at a disadvantage, because he is ignored or slighted both by girls and boys. As he is small in size and weak in body, he cannot take an active part in games and sports with other boys of the same age. The result is that feelings of inferiority begin to develop in him. He becomes submissive and withdraws himself from competition.
Some late maturing boys and girls become noisy, and mischievous to attract the attention of their teachers in the class-room. Such behaviour is not liked by the elders, and the age-mates also tend to become hostile to them.
Like many other persons, who for some reason or other, are rejected by their group, the late matures suffer from criticism hostility of their associates. Physiological differences are thus regarded as the main causes of behavioural differences in the early and late matures
Educational Implications of Physical Development in Adolescence
The understanding of physical growth and change throughout the school years is basic for an adequate understanding of the development of personality. Most schools tend to pay no attention to this psychologically important aspect of growth and development.
To the adolescent his growth, now in this part of the body and now in that part of the body, may be awkward and puzzling, and often causing stress and strain. But if the parents and teacher do not recognize and realize the problems raised by physical growth and development, it becomes difficult to understand the whole conduct or behaviour of the grown-up boy or girl.
The study of the physical growth of the adolescents is of very great importance to understand the psychological problems faced by them. For a boy or girl to be constantly growing and changing is indeed an experience often puzzling and presenting problems in rapid succession.
The youngsters of both sexes are faced with manifold anxieties and embarrassments. In a boy’s world, especially the physical size and strength are so important that his slow or rapid growth, late or early maturing in comparison with that of his class boy’s mates or associates may determine his position and prestige among them.
The grown-up man or woman, when he or she recollects the changes in puberty in his or her adolescent years, he or she is torn by unpleasant recollections of the adolescent years therefore, education should give due importance to this stage of development.