You and Your Mid-Adolescent

Views: 754
Ratings: (0)

This is a book which seeks help those going through the process of mid-adolescence - either from the point of view of the adolescent or their families - it attends to the serious strains that may have to be borne if the picture portrayed is to have any realism. 'Youth culture' may idealize the adolescent and vilify parents; but, as we shall see, the paradoxical expectations placed on both adolescents and their parents arise from the creative tension between the desire to progress and the desire to regress as mid-adolescents consolidate the move out of childhood and prepare for adulthood. No easy task for the mid-adolescent and those responsible for them.This book examines issues such as the emotional and intellectual development commonly observed during adolescence, the variation in physiological development and what this can mean for the developing adolescent, the importance of the peer group and why this seems to provide so many of the signifiers of adolescence, the difficult and sometimes distasteful experiences that mid-adolescents may have to face, the framework of the law as it concerns adolescents, the frequency of eating disorders, self-harming and suicide among adolescents.

List price: $14.99

Your Price: $11.99

You Save: 20%

 

10 Slices

Format Buy Remix

Chapter 1: introduction

ePub

 

Chapter 2: emotional and intellectual development: Romeo and Juliet

ePub

Considerable intellectual and emotional development occurs during the mid-adolescent years. John Santrock (1999) recalled an adolescent once saying, in a thoughtful way:

“I began thinking about why I was thinking what I was. Then I began thinking about why I was thinking about why I was thinking about what I was.”

This reflection on the process of thinking is an example of the new powers of thought that adolescents begin to develop. Quite why this happens is not known precisely, but we can link its emergence to other new developments during the early teen years. At first sight it would seem that this adolescent is now capable of being within himself and standing outside himself at the same time, with the result that his subjective experience is not totally dominated by what he can see from his own point of view: the potential is there to be able to see the world from others’ points of view as well. In itself, this is not a new achievement at this age. This ability can easily collapse under the pressure of powerful feelings—particularly powerful feelings towards others, which can seem to the individual and those around them to be like a kind of paranoia. What is important in understanding mid-adolescents is being aware of the upsurge of powerful feelings towards others and how far they can maintain an ability to think about themselves instead of impulsively launching into action. When they cannot, the likelihood is that others will feel the effects.

 

Chapter 3: sexual development: having sex, having intercourse, and making love

ePub

We have already noted that, for the individual adolescent, puberty “turns up” at some time between the ages of 10 and 16. We might say that the arrival of puberty is the business of early adolescence, regardless of the chronological age at which it actually arrives. The business of mid-adolescence is the commencement of the process of absorbing the emotional consequences of the physiological changes that occur.

The change in the physiological body, entailing it now being sexually mature and capable of reproduction, is a momentous change in its psychological impact and its impact upon others. Because the body now looks different, people can easily expect the newly changed young person to be different. Different they will, of course, be—but not necessarily in the way that is expected. We can say that the task of early adolescence is to accept this new potency, and that of mid-adolescence is incorporate it into a new way of being with oneself and, in turn, being with others. This is partly because others will expect new things of the mid-adolescent. The title of this chapter is intended to summarize the tasks of sexual organization during adolescence, beginning with recognition that the young person is capable of having sex, but this is not seen as being something in which one engages with another person. One might say that it is thought of as an activity—at its most primitive—in which one engages with another person as a body, but the person of the other is not significant. The idea of intercourse introduces the idea of being with another person, and being sexual has a psychological significance as well as a physical one.

 

Chapter 4: identity and peer groups: fashion and “youth culture”

ePub

We have already seen how young adolescents have to cope with a sense of a new body and how they incorporate this new body into a sense of themselves. This process inevitably alters their relationship with their parents and families. There is a way in which they seem to grow away from their families and want to be as unlike them as they can be. As an expression of this movement, images of adolescent icons abound in the media—often with an apparent intention to shock the older generation.

Compare the images shown here with the description by Anna Freud of the arrival of adolescence:

Whereas the latency child (approximately five to eleven, twelve years) had begun to show definite and well-circumscribed character and personality traits, the pre-adolescent (approximately eleven, twelve to fourteen years) is once more unpredictable. Where the latency child has become modest, reasonable and well-mannered with regard to food, the pre-adolescent reacts with greed and demanding-ness; insatiableness in pre-adolescence frequently leads to thefts of food and sweets. Similar changes occur in almost all the spheres of the child's life. Pre-adolescent boys in particular are known to be dirty in their lavatory habits and negligent in their clothing. Cruel and bullying actions are regular occurrences; so are mutual masturbation, the seduction of younger children, and sexual compliance towards older playmates; destructive acts, thefts and robberies are carried out alone or in company with others. Within the family the preadolescent causes disharmony by his selfishness and inconsiderateness; in school he is frequently in trouble because of his lack of interest in the school subjects, his inability to concentrate, his ir-responsibleness and insubordination. In short, the whole promising process of adaptation to the environment seems to have stopped short. What parents and teachers are confronted with is once again the full, undiminished impact of the instinctual forces within the child. [A. Freud, 1949; emphasis added]

 

Chapter 5: psychosocial disturbances

ePub

We have already seen that there is a difference in the way adolescents are perceived between those who take a sociological perspective and those who look at the experience from a psychological point of view. Up to now we have taken much more of a psychological approach; it is time to look at the sociological perspective. In the broadest of terms, from this point of view we can see that going through adolescence is a disturbing experience for the individual adolescent, but how this is expressed varies a great deal. What partly determines how it is expressed are the opportunities available, which can be called the causes of psychosocial disturbance.

However, it may be more helpful to think of them not so much as causes but as situations that create opportunities for the emergence of disturbances within individual adolescents. Thus the availability of drugs, the social construction of peer groups, the quality and nature of the educational system, the availability—or lack—of employment provide opportunities for adolescents to express their antisocial tendencies. The fact is that by no means all adolescents take advantage of these opportunities, and only a minority do so to the degree that their behaviour becomes a problem to themselves and to those around them.

 

Chapter 6: emotional disturbance

ePub

In chapter 5 we saw that the frequency of delinquency seems to rise to a peak during the mid-teens and then begins to drop. What was also clear from the statistics was the gender difference, in that males seem much more likely to offend than do females. In this chapter we think about the frequency of mental disturbance as it appears in the general population, to see whether we can learn something about the kinds of emotional difficulties young people of this age can experience.

When it comes to thinking about emotional disturbance, we tend to think of signs other than offending. It seems clear that this does cause emotional disturbance as well as being caused by it. However, apart from offending, it is depression, self-harming, and suicide that seem to be the most worrying signs that a mid-adolescent is feeling disturbed. Here, again, we find a gender difference.

In Table 6.1 we can see that there is an enormous increase in the rate of suicide and unexplained death in the 15–24 age group, compared to those 14 years old and younger. Furthermore, the numbers and rate of increase are far greater for boys than for girls.

 

Chapter 7: on being„and being allowed to be„immature

ePub

In the first chapter of this book, Donald Winnicott was quoted as saying:

What I am writing here (dogmatically in order to be brief) is that the adolescent is immature. Immaturity is an essential element of health at adolescence. There is only one cure for immaturity and that is the passage of time and the growth into maturity that time may bring.

Immaturity is a precious part of the adolescent scene. In this is contained the most exciting features of creative thought, new and fresh feeling, ideas for new living. Society needs to be shaken by the aspirations of those who are not responsible. If the adults abdicate, the adolescent becomes prematurely, and by false process, adult. Advice to society could be: for the sake of adolescents, and of their immaturity, do not allow them to step up and attain a false maturity by handing over to them a responsibility that is not yet theirs, even though they may fight for it. [Winnicott, 1968]

These words can easily be misunderstood, and this usually happens because of the mindset of the reader. When Winnicott says that there is only one cure for immaturity, he might be thought to mean that we must accept that we cannot intervene in or accelerate a process, which will proceed in its own time. The metaphor of laying down wine in the cellar and leaving it to mature undisturbed might come to mind.

 

Chapter 8: on bullying and being bullied

ePub

Being bullied is one of the most common causes of human unhappiness and can occur at any time of life. The mid-adolescent is especially prone, because this is a time in life when a mature character is not yet formed. Every day adolescents meet up with their equally immature peers in settings that are intrinsically competitive in terms of pecking orders and territory. If we remember the constant confrontations between the young men of the Montague and Capulet families in fourteenth-century Verona as depicted in Romeo and Juliet, we can get a context for the situations in which bullying can occur.

Not for nothing does the Jets’ song in West Side Story go as follows:

When you're a Jet,
You're a Jet all the way
From your first cigarette
To your last dyin’ day.

When you're a Jet,
If the spit hits the fan,
You got brothers around,
You're a family man!

You're never alone,
You're never disconnected!
You're home with your own:
When company's expected,
You're well protected!

Then you are set With a capital J,
Which you'll never forget
Till they cart you away.
When you're a Jet,
You stay a Jet!

 

Chapter 9: starting to get organized: leaving mid-adolescence to enter the world of others

ePub

“I must create a system or be enslav'd by some other man's”

from “Jerusalem” by William Blake.

As mid-adolescence draws to a close, we begin to see an increasing sense of integration as the adolescent starts to relate to us in a more organized way. The task for an adolescent is to find a way of engaging with and being effective in the adult world. This entails finding ways of being with others in such a way that both achieve fruitful ends. This encounter with the world of others enables a process of internal organization through which ambitions and desires can be realized, given the limits imposed by reality. In doing this, the adolescent's developing internal organization permits the emergence of a sense of identity: the adolescent's sense of who they are.

When this is happening, you may find that they start to talk to you in a new way. An impulsiveness of thought and a sense of compliance with you, or reaction against you, will seem to have given way to something more balanced, allowing their own mind and your mind to exist together effectively and happily. No longer is there an implicit but constant struggle. Something seems to have become more organized, and a new kind of cooperation seems possible.

 

Chapter 10: a time of tumult, torment, and promise

ePub

In this final chapter, I wish to draw together a number of strands and observe some common themes in the mid-adolescent's relationship with family, peers, and the “stranger” implied by beginning to enter the adult world. D. H. Lawrence called adolescence the “hour of the stranger”, and with this he captured something important both about mid-adolescents’ changing experience of themselves and others as they grow towards maturity and something of parents’ experience of their child as puberty turns their once familiar offspring into someone new and unfamiliar. When he says “let the stranger enter the soul”, we must accept that there is no need for permission being granted here. With the arrival of puberty, the “stranger” structures the adolescent's mind in a way that is irreversible. Thus, the adolescent becomes initially a stranger to himself, parents discover that there is a stranger in their midst, and the adolescent suddenly has the potential to discover a stranger who will become a significant other in their life.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
ePub (DRM)
Encrypted
true
Sku
9781780494937
Isbn
9781780494937
File size
0 Bytes
Printing
Disabled
Copying
Disabled
Read aloud
No
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata