Adolescents Discovering Their Identity through Physical, Cognitive, Emotional, and Social Development The Changing Years
Even though children go through physical, cognitive, emotional, and social changes during their adolescence years not all react the same way to these changes. Throughout these years adolescences ask “Who am I?”(Vander Zanden, 2000, p. 360). Biological changes occurring during this period of life affects children’s physical, cognitive, emotional, and social development. These changes cause the children’s way of thinking to change in relationship to others as well as to themselves (Vander Zanden, 2000). Physical Development
The onset of puberty occurs in this time of life. Puberty is the beginning stage into adulthood but children must go through many changes through the journey. Adolescences oftentimes find this stage of development dramatic. Females may find this time more dramatic than males. “Girls who have been advanced in physical maturity since the prenatal period, reach puberty, on average, two years earlier than boys” (Berk, 2010, p. 363). Both male and female adolescences experience growth spurts through this time frame, which is the first outward sign of the onset of puberty. Hormone levels increase in both males and females. Female begin to develop breast and pubic hair begins to grow. This is the time females normally start their menstruation cycle. Males develop pubic and facial hair at this time. Male’s penis and testes begin to enlarge also. The male voice becomes deeper as he advances in puberty. Females are normally done growing physically by age 16 whereas males continue growing physically until around age 17 1/2 (Berk, 2010, p. 363). Factors such as physical health, environment, and heredity play a role in the development of children and the onset of puberty. Cognitive Development
Not all changes that occur during the adolescent years are visible. Throughout the adolescent years teen’s hypothetico-deductive reasoning and propositional thought process improves (Berk, 2010, p. 383). With the improvements of hypothetico-deductive reasoning and propositional thought process, adolescents develop the capability to think about the world and those who occupy it with them. They also develop the ability to face challenges in a new and powerful way. As the thought process improves so do the adolescent’s attention and speed of thinking increase. A new awareness of thought, known as metacognition will also increase. This new awareness leads “to new insights into effective strategies for acquiring information and solving problems” (Berk, 2010, p. 385). The new insights can have positive and negative effects for the teens. Even though they may be more self-aware they do not always consider alternatives in solving problems, or they may ignore the consequences of their actions leading to greater issues. Emotional and Social Development
As children’s metacognition improves so does their awareness of what others think about them. They become concerned about their physical appearance and their status in their peer group. Oftentimes, adolescents allow peer pressure and their need to fit-in as their guidance in making decisions. These decisions can cause problems for teens or lead them away from trouble. As new challenges and opportunities appear so do new emotions the teens were unaware of before. Parents, authority figures, and peers will provide stronger cues on what are acceptable behaviors and what are not. The chosen clique of the teens will oftentimes influence whether they choose an acceptable path during this time in their lives (Nawaz, 2011). Along with peer pressure the challenge of dealing with the...