Emotional development through Adolescents

The emotional development process of adolescents has been described as a complex and challenging process. The emotional development process does not stop but continues as children advance into adolescence. The development process of an adolescent is often associated with strong emotions since it is a period when they develop negative thoughts and moody on many things (Burns et al, 2003). However, research has shown that most adolescents find positive ways of dealing with their emotions. Some of the important issues in the adolescence stage are discussed below.

 

Significant issues in the life of an adolescent

Independency

During the period of adolescence, teenagers are always yearning to become independent and have some “life of their own”. During the adolescence stage, adolescents always experience increased conflicts with their parents as a result of regulation and control of their behaviour. At this stage in life, adolescents struggle to find some identity and autonomy. Burns et al (2003) remark that while adolescents strive to make independent choices in life, they end up locking their parents out of their private life. As a result of peer and group influence, adolescents always feel that they are mature enough to take care of themselves. In the process, some end up staying out late with their friends without their parents’ permission. This creates conflicts with their parents, who end up imposing curfews on their children to safeguard them against teen influence.

Intimacy

In the life of an adolescent, the issue of intimacy revolves around developing meaningful relationships with other people other than their close family members. Intimacy in adolescents always begins with close friends of the same sex. However after some given period of forming teen friendships, they develop and blossom further into romantic relationships (Morgan & Huebner, 2009). This is can be attributed to the fact that, once adolescents develops social skills, trust and honesty amongst friends, they feel comfortable and want to spend most of their time around them. At this point in time, adolescents become particularly concerned about how their friends view them since they want to gain acceptance within a group.

Identity

During their teen years, most adolescents are faced with a difficult task of finding their place and role in the family. According to Block (2009), adolescents need to pose and ask themselves where they belong in the family. This is because adolescence is a period in one’s life when decisive steps and decision are made. Adolescents face challenging times in trying to identify the family values that they should integrate in their life. While growing up, adolescents form their own set of values and beliefs which guide their behavior and morals. Most of the time, their behavior is in contrary to societal expectation and parents are always trying to guide and correct them.

Comfortable with one’s sexuality

At the beginning of teen years, adolescents become more sensitive about their sexuality hence affecting their emotional development. During the adolescence stage, adolescents have become mature enough and developed cognitively. During this stage, their sexuality begins to develop, and education and training they get, will determine how they grow in regard to their sexuality. In a research conducted by the Center for Disease Control in 2005, the study found that about 60% of high school students were sexually active, while about 46% of them reported to have had sex with their partners (Burns et al, 2003). The issue of sexuality is crucial to teen development because they need to learn many things to avoid problems, such as sexually transmitted diseases or teen pregnancy.

Relationship with peers

During the adolescence age, most teens make a lot of friends in school, social places and during sport activities. At this stage of development, adolescents find acceptance and a sense of belonging when they are in a group of their friends More often than not, the emotional development of adolescents’ centers around the relationship they have with their peers and more especially with their romantic partners. However, when adolescents form friendships with peers who are deviant and have detrimental morals, parents become extremely weary and exercise caution on them. This often leads to conflicts between adolescents and their parents over family issues always impacts on their emotions (Block, 2009).

Erik Erikson stages of Psychosocial Development

Erik Erikson is a psychology scholar who developed a theory of understanding the psychosocial development process in human beings. Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development consists of eight distinct stages, but I will focus on the fifth stage which focuses on adolescents. According to Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, the fifth stage focuses identity and role confusion among adolescents. At this stage children have grown into adolescents, are becoming more independent and begin to develop relationships especially outside their family circles (Burns et al, 2003). When adolescents rediscover themselves their appropriate sex roles, they begin to develop sexual and occupational identities.
As a result of changes in their bodies, many adolescents feel uncomfortable since they are not used to the changes. However with time, they become acquainted and adapt into the changes. Adolescents can be equated to explorers who want to venture into an array of opportunities. According to Erickson’s theory, the exploratory nature of adolescents leads them into a state confusion because they are not sure about themselves and their expected role in the world.
Research studies have gone further to prove that Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development has significant implications on adolescents. According to Burns et al (2003 formulating a true sense of life becomes extremely difficult for those adolescents who fail to do so at the adolescence stage. The implication of this is that they may not understand their role and place in society. Furthermore, if adolescents do not understand their role in society, they will have difficulty in making rational decisions about lives in the future. Adolescents who fail to develop fully during the adolescence stage make poor decisions in life, and turn out to be victims of failed careers and marriages.

Ways of supporting emotional developments in adolescents

Dealing with the issues surrounding the growth and development of adolescents can present challenging times to their parents. However, to address this issue, Morgan & Huebner (2009) provide different support mechanisms which parents can use to develop a cordial relationship with their teens. In addition, they will be able to support the emotional development in adolescents.

Mutual support

The adolescence stage can be effectively managed when parents provided mutual support for their teenagers. Parents should develop a consensus with adolescents and agree on the rules and basic family values. Morgan & Huebner (2009) observes that when there is mutual support between parents and adolescents, it will result into decreased conflicts and animosity. Instead, it will lead to development of a strong bond and free expression of feelings by the teenagers. 

Formulating rules

Emotional development of teens during the adolescence stage requires a lot of understanding by people around them. Since they always strive to acquire an identity of their own, it is exceptionally essential for parents to formulate sensible rules to accommodate them. When forming these rules, parents should engage their adolescents so that they agree together to avoid any conflicts. The rules should be clear, consistent and reasonable so that teens know exactly what is expected from them. In addition, as adolescents continue to age, the rules should be less restrictive to give them freedom to become more responsible.

Talking with children about relationships and sex

During the adolescence stage, teens are vulnerable to problems such as pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. It is advisable for parents to develop an open communication with their teens by giving them real facts and information about relationships and sex. Parents should be strict instead they should develop a cordial conversation with their teens. Through such discussion, adolescents become open to express their feelings, fears and emotions and in the process they learn appropriate sexual behaviour (Morgan & Huebner, 2009).

Conclusion

The life is an adolescent is quite challenging as it is characterized by a major period of changes such as physical, psychological and emotional. Adolescence is a vulnerable stage when teens require a lot of guidance if they are to develop into productive adults. Adolescents should not be gagged or restricted from developing in their “own way”. Instead, they need to be advised and involved in productive activities so that they effectively manage the adolescence stage.

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