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Adolescents: Human Growth Development

By Acain2 Feb 25, 2013 1115 Words
Adolescent Years
Allison Cain
Northeast Texas Community College

PSYCH 2314: Human Growth & Development
Professor Ubinger
October 10, 2012

Adolescent Development
Adolescent years are the years you find yourself; you make decisions and encounter experiences from those decisions that will be what ultimately determines who you are; your self-definition. You become more and more independent of your family and more dependent on your peers, having more close trusting relationships with friends than before. These relationships with your peers is what will get you through your adolescent years, sharing similar feelings and situations; relying on their support and understanding more so than your family. However family still maintains an important role in most adolescents’ lives, there is an incomparable sense of understanding with your peers. I was able to get to know a young man; his name, as well as some personal, descriptive details has been changed for anonymity as he was very open and shared some very intimate feelings and situations he has faced, without hesitation. For the purpose of this observation experiment, we will call him Jacob. Jacob is a seventeen year old senior at Hughes Springs High School in Hughes Springs, Texas. Jacob is six foot two and weighs a hundred and eighty three pounds, with an athletic build; very active in football, basketball and cross country track. Residing with his mother and adoptive stepfather, he plans to apply to Texas Tech University; with a long-term goal of one day becoming an off shore rig welder.

During adolescent years adolescents face the Identity vs. Role Confusion stage in Erikson’s Theory of Development; Erikson believed that it is in this stage that adolescents try to answer life questions of who they are and what their place in the world is; yearning to have a sense of belonging and purpose. Jacob said it has taken him a while to answer the question “Who is Jacob?” he has faced and overcome many obstacles along the way to be able to answer that question, though he says he is still working on dealing with some things. (Development through the Lifespan. Laura E. Berk, pg.17)

Jacob is a strong individual with high self-esteem and has mapped out a plan for his future with many short term goals leading up his career goal of an offshore welder; though mapping out his plan didn’t come easy. Jacob has faced some turmoil and some bad decisions in life that could have compromised him fulfilling his goals. He has suffered from depression after two great losses in his life, Jacob’s father, Steve, was a Staff Sargent in the United States Army and served as an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Specialist, on his third tour of Afghanistan Robert lost his life. Jacob was unsure how to cope with the loss of his father, he withdrew from everyone socially and emotionally, including his family; but he says it was his close friendships that pulled him through his depression. Once unable to walk past his father’s picture in a frame without being overcome with many emotions ranging from pain, to sadness to anger, he is now able to talk about his father and although James, his stepfather, can never replace his father Jacob says he is lucky to have James in his life.

The friends that got him through the loss of his father were also the ones that pulled him through when his friend of sixteen years was killed in a head-on collision this past summer a month before senior year started. Amber and Jacob grew up together and attended school from Kindergarten through high school, until her life was cut short upon leaving a party. Jacob says regrets from that night still haunt him, Amber gave into peer pressure and drank the night she died; although Jacob tried to keep her from leaving she assured him she was fine and left. He says that the one thing he learned about himself from losing his friend is that peer pressure can be even more dangerous than he thought and he will forever stand up for what he knows his right and if he loses friends over not caving to peer pressure then so be it, but he won’t lose his life. I asked him if he was part of a click and he said that although the beginning of his high school years most of his friends in his group all shared the same interests they are beginning to have their own personal interests and morals but are all still fairly close.

Jacob say he has always heard the phrase, step out of the box and now as he is older watching his older sister struggle as a single mother he tends to step out of the box more often. Kady is twenty three and the single mother of an eight year old little girl, watching her give up on her dreams and drop out of high school was hard because his big sister was his rock and role model. He almost followed in his sister’s footsteps when his girlfriend of two years and he decided to take it to a sexual level and she became pregnant, but miscarried. Sixty percent of U.S. inner-city high school students to not graduate, he says he almost became one or that sixty percent and it scared him. He knew he wasn’t ready for that type of commitment and although it was hard to experience, he learned a hard lesson that he is reminded of daily. I inquired about contraceptives after he shared his story, he smirked and said no we don’t use them, we just don’t do it. Twenty percent of sexually active teenagers are at risk for unplanned pregnancies because they do not use contraceptives and with the pregnancy rates among U.S. teenagers ages fifteen to nineteen being at seventy percent, he says he can wait. (Development through the Lifespan. Laura E. Berk,)

Jacob shared with me a lot of his story and although each adolescent is different as are their situations, each adolescent faces challenges and obstacles along their path of finding out who they are. Peer pressure, unplanned pregnancies and irrational decision making can affect longterm who a person becomes. Jacob seems to have good long and short term goals and has absorbed a lot from his past that keeps reminding him to stay steady on his path. I enjoyed this project very much and enjoyed that Jacob shared so many intimate details about his life experiences.

CDC Stature/Weight Percentile Chart

Berk, Laura E. (2010), Fifth Edition Development Through the Lifespan Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon Publishing, Pearson Education, Inc

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