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Changes in Adolescence


Changes in adolescence is a natural and fundamental period of life. It is important to address these changes appropriately and with a positive attitude. Parents play an important role during adolescence by standing by their children and showing understanding and support.




What is adolescence?


Adolescence is determined as the ages of 11 to 18, spanning the majority of the teenage years. Experts divide this stage into two parts:

  1. First Stage: the ages from 11 to 14 years is characterized by rapid biological changes.
  2. Second Stage: the age from 15 to 19 during which adolescents may be referred by multiple labels such as: adolescents, teenagers, youth, or the new generation. These labels are often associated to a perceived difference in roles of responsibility by the adolescents’ community.
The United Nations adopts the following age classifications: Children: anyone under the age of 18 Adolescents: 10 - 19 years First Adolescence: 10 - 14 years Second Adolescence 15 - 19 years Young People: 10 - 24 year olds Youth: They are 15 - 24 year olds Many describe adolescence as the bridge between childhood and adulthood. Unfortunately, a lot of writing on the subject approach this stage from a negative viewpoint, knowing that this is potentially the hardest stage of growing up and may be a stage of rebellion. In reality, adolescence is a very important stage in the life of every individual and how adolescent changes are dealt with can affect many aspects of that person’s future.




Changes


The onset of changes during adolescence is caused by the pituitary gland. This gland releases certain hormones that target and stimulate different cells in both young men and young women, beginning the process of change during adolescence and puberty.




Psychological, Emotional, Mental Changes


In addition to the physical changes adolescents undergo during this time, they are also faced with great emotional changes and experience fluctuations in their emotions. The new emotions they experience may be either positive or negative and will be expressed in many different ways. Among the most prominent of these feelings are happiness, love, sexual attraction , enthusiasm and impulsivity as well as anger, tension, and anxiety, particularly when faced with the prospect of the future. In regards to romantic and sexual relationships, adolescents may lack an understanding of their responsibilities, be shy of physical changes, and feel easily embarrassed by comments or criticism.




Social Changes


During this time, adolescents develop interest in appearance and sexual attractiveness. Young people also look for role models, build their self-image independently of parents, and tend to speak and express themselves more freely. They also begin to widen their social circle and pay increased attention to their friends and peers, whereas their families were the center of their social circle beforehand. The roles assigned to adolescents in the family are also changed and they are expected to carry additional responsibilities.




How to Deal with These Changes


It is of the utmost importance that adolescents and all those around them deal with these changes in a positive manner in order to live their lives during this time period in a way that allows them to benefit from each stage of development. Taking care of the body is essential; this includes avoiding infections and illnesses and maintaining a high level of personal hygiene by addressing issues such as sweating, body odor, and acne. It is also essential at this stage to follow a healthy, diverse, and wholesome diet, practicing moderation where necessary. Obesity and being underweight can both be signs of poor health and it is important to pay attention to nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. In addition, sports and exercise should be an integral part of adolescents’ daily lives of adolescents in order for them to have a significant benefit to their health and the development of their body. Sport and exercise are shown to positively affect emotional well-being and are a good outlet for adolescent energy. Finally, psychosocial is instrumental in supporting adolescents in coping with these changes and creating a positive body image.




Communication and Expressing Oneself


One of the most important life skills adolescents can acquire is the ability to communicate effectively with the opposite sex, their friends, parents, and peers. They should learn how to express their emotions in a healthy way and at the appropriate time and place. It is important to support young people at this stage as they are in the process of self-discovery and planning their futures in regards to their study, aspirations, ambitions, and attitudes, determining the frameworks of their future. Young people at this stage need to spend time with their peers and fill their leisure time with physical, intellectual, cultural and social activities. They need the experiences and experiences to acquire skills and teach values they can not learn through books. They need independence, freedom, honesty and ideals, and need rules and laws that share their status and feel about them with hope and responsibility.




How to Talk about These Changes with Adolescents


Here are some suggestions for how to best communicate with young people:

  • Take a positive attitude towards adolescents.
  • Adopt an open-dialogue approach among family members.
  • Refrain from ordering, instructing and preaching, and instead treat adolescents as partners in the family.
  • Measure your responses and reactions to be moderate.
  • Do not criticize the opinions an adolescent expresses and instead ask questions and discuss the topics, explaining your reasoning and point of view in a calm manner.
  • Ensure that the father and mother's messages are not contradictory.
  • Respect the privacy of the adolescent and do not insist on knowing all the details.
  • Appreciate the adolescent and respect what they are trying to do or say. Respond in a positive way.
  • Be a role model. Dp not engage in practices contrary to the ideas or messages you espouse.




Verbal Communication Tips


  • Use vocabulary that is readily understood in short and uncomplicated sentences.
  • Speak in a way that always the adolescent to feel appreciated and respected and do not condescend or patronize them. Speak to them as an equal.
  • Stay away from words of blame and threat and instead explain your attitude and feelings in a way that links them to the adolescent’s behaviour. For example: “I felt ... when I acted as well because respect and honesty are important to me.”
  • Use facts instead of simply relying on opinions and stay away from generalization or analogies.
  • Ask clear questions.
  • Listen carefully to show respect and to understand the reality of the situation before rushing to react.
  • Use words that praise the efforts and actions of adolescents.





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