Human growth and development

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The Many Changes of Adolescence

The many changes that take place at every stage of life are what define human growth and development. Consider the period of adolescence, when children experience both physical and psychological development. Twelve to eighteen years old is the age range that is regarded as adolescents. When a child reaches puberty, they are considered an adolescent. This study relates the lessons that were discovered during an interview with a mother and an 18-year-old adolescent. The interview enabled the researcher to identify five primary characteristics of adolescents: biological growth and development increased the need for decision making, the search for self, and the presence of an undefined status as well as increased pressures from all areas of life. The biological growth is controlled by the brain and the endocrine system. The adolescent was able to describe how she started noticing changes in her weight, height, sexual characteristics, and some skin problems, (Craig et al, 8).

Expectations of Adolescents

The researcher could easily tell how her expectations were inexplicit. The fact that she was undergoing changes that would transform her into an adult made her expect people to treat her as an adult. This is a standard expectation among most adolescents. In most cases, when a girl starts experiencing some changes that make her look more like her mother, for an instant, developing body curves, they expect their parents and the society to treat them as adults. This was the case with my interviewee; whereby she made it clear that it was belittling to find her mother take care of her just like she did to her younger siblings. The reason behind this is because we live in a society where the expectations of children and adults are distinct and clear. However, the expectations of the adolescents remain to be inexplicit, making it possible for some parents to treat them as children while others are treated like children. For instance, the interviewee’s mother still pays for her lunch, although she has a job which can allow her to support herself at that age.

Increased Need for Decision Making

There was an increased need for the interviewee to make decisions that would affect her future. She made it clear that the adolescence season was a season whereby she made the largest number of decisions, unlike during her middle childhood development phase. Adolescents make decisions pertaining to the course they would study, their sex life, the responsibilities they are ready to bear in their homes, among others. In most cases they find themselves in dilemmas, not knowing the path to choose.

In Search of Self

It was clear that the interviewee was undergoing a stage where she was in a search for self. She needed to define who she is, which she did through trying out many activities. She engaged in different activities as a way of finding out what she was capable of doing and what she was not. A recent search that she mentioned was the need to discover her talent. She mentioned that she was involved in some extra curriculum activities in school, such as music, drama, and basketball, but she wanted to know what to major in.

Undefined Status and Increased Stress

Adolescents go through a time of undefined status and increased stress from all areas of life, (Sigelman & Elizabeth, 33). They try to understand the reason for the way things are in life, a season whereby they tend to search for information. This is normally triggered by the need to understand why they go through the series of physical changes and the cause of the changes. The need to achieve in life places more pressure on them since they develop a better understanding of what it means to succeed or fail in life. They get to understand what the society expects from them and strive towards achieving it.

Developmental Categories

The interview enabled the researcher to group adolescents’ development into six categories: physical, cognitive, emotional, social, moral and sexual. These developments take place simultaneously, giving adolescents the need to research more about the meaning of life. Other than the physical development which was previously discussed, the interviewee displayed cognitive development. This was confirmed by her mother, expressively shared with the researcher on how the child had developed her thinking skills. She confirmed having noticed that her child would conceptualize theoretical ideas, moving beyond the limitations of the information that she acquired from her mother. This was well evident in the recent activity undertaken by the child in her attempt to look for her dad, who she only met at the age of two. The mother kept on explaining to her child that her dad was unsupportive and hence he left them when she was two. It was when the child was seventeen years old that she undertook a search which made her discover where her biological father lived and met him.

Adolescents also go through a time of emotional changes due to the series of experiences that they go through, (Lewis & Peter, 16). The changes that occur challenge their ability to cope with a large array of intense emotions since some are not ready to accept the fact that they are moving towards adulthood. Most of them develop emotional maturity due to the knowledge of oneself. It is a period of self-identity which in most cases is attained through a series of experiments.

The interviewee confirmed that she had recently shifted her primary social support from her family towards her peers. This is another common characteristic of adolescents, whereby they develop a feeling of belonging, which in most cases is filled through peer relationships. They develop the need for independence from family traditions and direct their attention towards conforming to the standards of their peer groups. The interviewee was able to re-establish her family relationship at the age of seventeen when she started relating to her biological father.

As physical and emotional maturity improves in the life of adolescents, their morals develop too. This is experienced during the later years of adolescence. Their understanding of what is right and wrong become more nuanced; in most cases, the adolescents base their moral decisions on principles which surpass the normal laws and rules. This tendency makes some of them go astray while others remain concerned with laws, rules, and fairness. Sexual development is another notable experience in adolescents. They become aware of their sexual orientation which is characterized by strong attractions,(Costello et al, 1257). They, therefore, start understanding that they are attracted to the opposite gender, with few of them being attracted to the same gender or bisexual. There is limited sexual behavior at first, but in the middle and late adolescence, most of them start experimenting with different sexual behaviors.


Adolescence is an essential stage in life, whereby the youths get into it with the mind of a child but exit with the mind of an adult. The changes that take place are therefore key to the development of human beings. With the right guidance, adolescence makes a positive mark that shapes up the future. This is because most of the life-changing decisions, such as sexual orientation, academic pursuit, are made during this developmental stage. This study analyzed the developments that take place as physical, cognitive, emotional, social, moral and sexual.

Works Cited

Costello, Elizabeth K., et al. "The application of ecological theory toward an understanding of

the human microbiome." Science 336.6086 (2012): 1255-1262.

Craig, Grace J., and Wendy L. Dunn. Understanding human development. Pearson Higher Ed,


Lewis, Charlie, and Peter Mitchell. Children's early understanding of mind: Origins and

development. Psychology Press, 2014.

Sigelman, Carol K., and Elizabeth A. Rider. Life-span human development. Cengage Learning,


April 13, 2023

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