The development of secondary sex characters is emphasized with the onset of puberty and the associated hormonal surge.
The brain of a teenager is in the process of development. Though normal brain growth and development almost reaches the adult values by 6 years of age, maturation of neural synapses continues well into teens and adulthood, but at a much slower pace. Studies show that the connections between neurons affecting emotional, physical, and mental abilities are incomplete iin adolescence.
Teenagers usually exhibit ambivalence almost in every approach.
It is the adolescence ambivalence that causes emotional stress and conflicts both in teenagers and their parents. But it also is an integral part of teens psycho-social development.
Why are teenagers ambivalent?
The immature neuronal connections between emotional, physical, and mental abilities explains the impulsiveness, lack of judgement and episodic emotional outbursts seen in teenage children.
Influence of teenage development on decision making
They usually compare their looks and body structure with the media models, who all are projected to be very thin females or muscular males – Not really a normal natural phenomenon of teenage development.
Get more assertive with parents mainly about their own and the peer group’s views.
Begins to understand the rules of social groups, though not the principles behind them.
Early teens: 13-15 years of age
Adolescents in early teens psychologically leave behind their childhood and begin inspecting the adult world that lies ahead; the consequences being:
Uncertainty and indecisiveness about the course that they would like to follow.
Questioning attitude: More so towards parents.
Peer-relationship yet Not critical.
Mid teens: 15-17 years of age
Sexual identity firmly set:
i.) Generates sexual feeling and sexual drive.
ii.) Enhances gender-role identity.
iii.) Children in mid-teens develop an inclination to experiment the newly acquired sexual role, but fear being ridiculed.
Social identity out of the family:
i.) Widens the social network that includes number of significant adults.
ii.) Begin to rely on parents once again due to the increase in their own ambivalence: Result in loss of autonomy that children seek for in early teens, but is a step towards maturation. In 1965, Winnicott, the pioneering child psychoanalyst explained this stage of teenage development as development of mature dependence.
Winnicott’s explains it as, “Paradoxically, it is only possible to develop a capacity of self-sufficiency if one is able to depend upon others at times of intimacy or stress. That is a capacity for mature dependence, whose full development often extends into third or fourth decade of life.”
iii.) Achieve emotional independence.
iv.) Establishes a satisfactory work identity: a.) Gives a boost to teenagers self-esteem. b.) Improve competence. c.) Capacity to be able to put in sustained effort d.) Have realistic goals However, this is dependent on the socio-economic conditions in the society.
High rate of unemployment among youths and difficult higher education systems are prevalent in many countries. They shatter their youths' self-esteem and jeopardizes the progress.