Puberty and Secondary Sex Characteristics

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Human Growth and Personality Development – IV Semester- II BSW Fr. Vincent Robert Crasta, BSW Dept. - SPC Puttur 18-01-2012 Unit- II: Puberty:
Characteristics of Puberty: Steps in understanding stages of Puberty: Causes, and Criteria-determinants Primary and Secondary Characteristics
Effects of Deviant Maturing: Early and Late Matures, Rapid and Slow matures Sources of Concern during Puberty: Concern of the Pubescent, about normalcy, Sex appropriateness, Weight and Genitalia. Physical and Psychological hazards of Puberty Stage.

Role of Professional Social Worker.

INTRODUCTION:
Puberty is the period in the developmental span when the child changes from an asexual to a sexual being. The word ‘Puberty’ is derived from the Latin word ‘PUBERTAS’ , which means “age of manhood”. It refers to the physical rather than the behavioral changes which occur when the individual becomes sexually mature and is capable of producing offspring. It is a physical change that usually happens between ages 10 and 14 for girls and ages 12 and 16 for boys. Puberty starts when a part of the brain called the hypothalamus begins releasing a hormone called gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). GnRH then signals the pituitary gland to release two more hormones – luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) – to start sexual development. What are the Signs of Puberty?

Puberty affects boys and girls differently.
* In Females:
* The first sign of puberty is usually breast development. * Other signs are the growth of hair in the pubic area and armpits, and acne. * Menstruation (or a period) usually happens last.

* In Males:
* Puberty usually begins with the testicles and penis getting bigger. * Then hair grows in the pubic area and armpits.
* Muscles grow, the voice deepens, and acne and facial hair develop as puberty continues. Both boys and girls usually have a growth spurt (a rapid increase in height) that lasts for about 2 or 3 years along with the signs listed above. This brings them closer to their adult height, which they reach after puberty.

Characteristics of Puberty: Puberty is a unique and distinctive period and is characterized by certain developmental changes that occur at no other time in the life span. The most important of these are discussed below. 1. Puberty is an overlapping period: Puberty must be regarded as an overlapping period because it encompasses the closing years of childhood and the beginning years of adolescence. Until they are sexually mature, children are known as “pubescent” or “pubescent children”. After they become sexually mature. They are known as “adolescents” or “young adolescents”. 2. Puberty is short period: Considering the many and extensive changes that take place inside the body as well as externally, puberty is relatively short period, lasting from two to four years. Children who pass through puberty in two years or less are regarded as “rapid matures”, while those who require three to four years to complete the transformation into adults are regarded as “slow maturers”. Girls, as a group, tend to mature more rapidly than boys, as a group, but there are marked variations within each sex group. 3. Puberty is divided into stages: In spite of the fact that puberty is a relatively short period in the life span, it is customary to subdivide it into three stages - the prepubescent stage, the pubescent stage, and the postpubescent stage. a. Prepubescent stage: This stage overlaps the closing year or two of childhood when the child is regarded as a “prepubescent” – one who is no longer a child but not yet an adolescent. During the prepubescent (or “maturing”) stage, the secondary sex characteristics begin to appear but the reproductive organs are not yet fully developed. b. Pubescent stage: This stage occurs at the dividing line between childhood and adolescence; the time when the criteria of sexual...
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