In this essay I will explore how adolescence is an arrangement of biological, social and historical factors as Harris and Butterworth suggests. To do this I shall first describe the biological influences that affect an adolescent. I shall explore how puberty ad hormonal imbalances can affect a teenager’s behaviour. Hormones play a huge part in the actions of teenagers. To highlight and investigate this I shall explain how and why these hormones affect the teenager. I will then explore how adolescents experience social pressures that can also affect their behaviour in life and at school.
Adolescence is recognized as both a cultural/social phenomenon and subsequently has been explored by such psychologists as Freud and Erikson. I will explain their theories about adolescents and how society has had an impact on the development of adolescences. My final part will include the historical factors and implications of prejudices, as well as stereotypes. Stereotypes can have a very negative impact on adolescents and their experience of education and society. I then will conclude all my findings and compare them. Adolescence is a transitional period between childhood and adulthood according to Sprinthall and Collins 1988:60.
According to Sprinthall and Collins 1988:59 “adolescents is the period of the most intense and extensive biological changes since birth” This means that during adolescents a person will undergo more changes in the body than they have before. There are many biological factors that affect adolescents puberty is one. Puberty is caused by the brain and pituitary glands releasing hormones, which cause change in the body. These changes can include the production of oestrogen in girls and testosterone in boys. According to Sprinthall and Collins 1988:60 hormones are chemical substances that is secreted from glands throughout the body.
These hormones are the cause of the physical changes that adolescents go through. The hormones that are produced during puberty can lead adolescence to become “moody” and angry especial with concern towards their appearance. Adolescence can become concerned about their development with relation to their friends. This can lead to depression and feuds with parents and friends. As all this biological development requires a great deal of energy from the body teenagers can become lazy and irritable. According to Meyerson 1975:27 these changes happen very quickly and can cause a large amount of stress on the body.
This stress will not be helpful in an educational environment as stress according to Frydenberg 1997:18 can cause depression and this can affect every aspect of a teenager’s life. It can lead to a variety of social problems as well as trouble at school. If a teenager is depressed academic achievement may become difficult as the adolescent may develop low self-esteem and find it difficult to work due to fear of failure. According to Conger and Petersen According to Sprinthall and Collins 1988:60 hormones are chemical substances that is secreted from glands throughout the body.
According to Conger and Petersen 1984:93 the hormonal impact into the development of teenagers is huge and can lead to the development of breasts in girls and a minstrel cycle where as boys develop deeper voices and facial hair. These differences between the sexes can lead to issues in life, as this is the time when adolescents start to notice the differences as according to Balk 1995:46 sex hormones are released during puberty. Meyerson 1975:34 states that adolescents have gained a greater sexual freedom and therefore the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease is increased.
According to Sprinthall and Collins 1988:59 puberty is the age of sexual maturity, which in its self can cause stress but with the risk of sexually transmitted disease on the increase this stress is much greater. According to Darvill and Powell 2001:2 puberty is a gradual process and can start as young as 11. This age can vary depending on various factors such as nutrition. Differences in nutrition can cause puberty to start earlier and this is currently happening. According to Conger and Petersen 1984:93 the time that puberty starts depends on a number of different factors.
These factors can include genetic reasons and uses the example of Chinese girls starting earlier than European girls. There are a number of social factors that can affect adolescence. Conflicts can occur with parents and the family. This can cause stress and place great strain on teenager’s social and educational life. Adolescences often suffer from personal identity problems and undergo dramatic changes to discover who they are. According to Conger and Petersen 1984:74 during adolescents the question “who am I” is often an important question.
Therefore there is a question of identity, which can affect every aspect of an adolescence life. Conger and Petersen 1984:74 Erikson explored the concept of “ego identity” this is the theory that the adolescent view their self as separate. This feeling of separation and individualism can lead to social problems in education, with group work for example. It can also lead to depression through the lack of social interactions with peers. According to Conger and Petersen 1984:76 this very individualistic view can cause conflict with authority figures such as parents and teachers.
According to Frydenberg 1997:103 this new state of individuality leads to the need for independence. This can cause conflict in the family, as often parents still want to “mother” the teenager. Frydenberg 1997:105 explores how this conflict can act as a positive; it can result in the parent “child” relationship growing. It can allow the person to except that their child is growing up. According to Schaffer 2004:314 this conflict stems from the low self-esteem that adolescents suffer from because of their identity crisis.
Low self-esteem can affect an adolescent’s ability to achieve in schools as they may feel that they have not the ability according to Balk 1995:131. According to Erikson 1959:89 we are in a period of rapid social change and therefore are very important that adults provide a positive role model for adolescents. As role models adults can help the teenager to develop a strong identity. Teachers at school are essential for this as they can provide adolescents with a moral compass when their parents are not around.
According to Balk 1995:295 friendships are very important during the adolescent years and play a very significant role in “healthy psychological development” of an individual. Conger and Petersen 1984:336 states that friendships are very important to adolescents. Conger and Petersen 1984:336 explores how intense teenage friendships are. Teenage friendships often become more important that family connexions. According to Conger and Petersen 1984:337 teenager need friendships as a form of security and stability this can be a positive thing in their lives.
According to Sprinthall and Collins 1988: 302 during adolescents a child develop the psychological ability to achieve intimate relationships. Which in turn can lead to sexual relationships. This is a very complex and confusing time for teenagers. According to Frydenberg 1997:102 adolescents have a great deal of stress due to concerns about appearance, achievement and relationships. With all this stress and anxiety adolescents have to deal with life can become very difficult. This is conflict and rebellion can occur. Frydenberg 1997:103 states that Freud explores how adolescents are in constant conflict.
Erikson’s theory about an adolescent gaining an ego-identity explores how a teenager’s identity crisis is very important According to Muuss 1975:55. Muuss 1975:55 also states that Erikson believed that for an adolescent to develop a stable and complete ego-identity he/she must receive recognition of their achievements form peers. This is why it is important for teachers and parents to help support the teenager. According to Wragg 2003 the majority of adults develop a hatred of adolescents. This prejudice can lead to many stereotypes and prejudgements. Why can’t the spotty creeps be as clever and sober as we were in our youth? ” (Wragg 2003) this is a great example of the adult view that they were better behaved in their teenager years. This is a common viewpoint and can also affect teenagers throughout this time in their life. Stereotypes of this sort can lead to teacher and other adults entering a room of teenagers and expecting moody, angry rebels. According to Wragg 2003 teenagers are not getting worse they are as they always were and this prejudgement is unfounded at times.
This can affect their education as teacher may treat them differently than they would other adults or children. Wragg 2003 compares the present day teenagers to teens in the 1950’s and supports the view that teenagers have not changed but education has and so has presented us with the question of how has this affected teenagers. According to Bunting 2002 “One in four 15 to 16-year-old boys has carried a weapon in the past year” this is a scary statistic and represents a truth in our society of a growing trend of violence.
This adolescent violence according to Postman 1994:99 is stemmed form the amount of violence shown on television, which has increased in recent years. This is also reflected in the number of anti social behaviour orders (ASBO) that have been issued to teenagers, according to Travis 2006 teenagers view ASBOs as something to be proud of and to show off. Travis 2006 also explores how since 1999 when ASBOs were introduced over 7,300 have been issued. This is a clear sign that violence in adolescents is increasing and one of the courses of this is the solution.
According to Travis 2006 adolescents that do not have ASBOs want one in order to fit in with friends, this is a form of peer pressure. According to Sprinthall and Collins 1988:60 Adolescence is a transitional period between childhood and adulthood and a major factor in this transitional period is puberty. Puberty is caused by the release of hormones, form the brain and glands through the body. According to Sprinthall and Collins 1988:60 hormones are chemical substances that is secreted from glands throughout the body. This can lead to moodiness and irritable behaviour.
Puberty can lead to stress through the overload of hormones in the body. Stress can lead to depression and low self-esteem; low self-esteem can affect a teenager’s achievement at school as it can result in a fear of failure. Therefore the teenager might give up trying to avoid the failure. Puberty results in a large amount of physical changes in both boys and girls. The body also starts to release sexual hormones, which can result in more stress and possibly sexual transmitted diseases. There are many theories about what affects the start of puberty these can include nutrition or genetics.
Identity crisis can occur during adolescence, Erikson explored the concept of “ego identity” and how adolescents develop a feeling of isolation and this helps to develop an individual identity. This individualism can lead to social exclusion and further isolation. The individualism can also lead to arguments with parents and peers. The argument can be a positive thing as it allows parents to learn to let go of their child and allow them to grow up. Friendships are very important provide stability and someone to talk too. They can relieve stress.
Freud explores how adolescents are in constant conflict and how this conflict can affect their social activities. Prejudice and stereotypes are a big problem for teenagers as many adults do this when they meet them. The majority of adults feel that they were never that bad when they were teenagers. There is a growing trend of violence in society and the media, which have a major effect on adolescence. A good example of this is the ASBO and how teenagers are now proud of them and like to show off the number they have. ASBOs have created a new form of peer pressure that teenager must have at least one to fit in.