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Throughout this essay, I will be discussing the transition of adolescence. This transition is a stage of development between childhood and adulthood, from about 12 to 20 years of age. This transition from childhood to adulthood is smooth for some but rough for others(Caspi, 2000). This essay will discuss predictable and non-predictable elements of the transition. Health in adolescence issues this involves drugs & alcohol abuse and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are classified as unpredictable elements.
Physical Development (body growth and physical changes during adolescence) or Puberty and Cognitive Development are classified as a predictable element during the transition.
It will also explore the impact on relationships and concepts of self for persons undertaking the transition. Furthermore, it will deliberate the contributions of contemporary and seminal authors to describe the differences between the two past and presents authors/researcher’s theories in understanding of the adolescence life transitions. Another factor that will be discussed is the concept of self during the transition, and then finally it will comprehensively explain the importance for nurses to understand the adolescence transition.
A.The importance of predictable and unpredictable elements in Adolescence transitions will assist in identifying the significant changes in every life event transition. Moreover, it will also benefit in supporting adolescent to meet challenging changes throughout the transition. The first predictable element is puberty the biological transition of adolescence, the most noticeable sign of being an adolescent.
Theoretically, puberty refers as a collective term to refer to all the physical changes that occur in the growing girl or boy as the individual passes from childhood into adulthood(Habermas & Bluck, 2000).
In boys a major change is the increased production of testosterone, a male sex hormone, while girls experience increased production of the female hormone oestrogen(Dedovic, Wadiwalla, Engert, & Pruessner, 2009). In boys a major change is the increased production of testosterone, a male sex hormone, while girls experience increased production of the female hormone oestrogen (Carpentier & Fortenberry, 2010).
Internally, through the development of main sexual characteristics, adolescents become capable of sexual reproduction. Externally, as secondary sexual characteristics appear, girls and boys begin to look like mature women and men. In boys primary and secondary sexual characteristics usually emerge in a predictable order, with the rapid growth of the testes and scrotum, accompanied by the appearance of pubic hair.
In later years, it will begin the growth of facial and body hair, and a gradual lowering of the voice. Around mid-adolescence internal changes begin making a boy capable of producing and ejaculating sperm. In girls, sexual characteristics develop in a less regular sequence. Usually, the first sign of puberty is a slight elevation of the breasts, but sometimes this is preceded by the appearance of pubic hair. In teenage girls, internal sexual changes include maturation of the uterus, vagina, and other parts of the reproductive system. Menarche(Cochrane, 1993).
Regular ovulation and the ability to carry a baby to full term usually follow menarche by several years. The second predictable element is Cognitive Development transition a second element of the passage through adolescence is a cognitive transition(Champion & Collins, 2010). Compared to children, adolescents think in ways that are more advanced, more efficient, and generally more complex.
Adolescence individuals become better able than children to think about what is possible, instead of limiting their thought to what is real. Whereas children’s thinking is oriented to the here and now—that is, to things and events that they can observe directly, adolescents are able to consider what they observe against a backdrop of what is possible—they can think hypothetically. Second, during the passage into adolescence, individuals become better able to think about abstract ideas.
This is clearly seen in the adolescent’s increased facility and interest in thinking about interpersonal relationships, politics, philosophy, religion, and morality—topics that involve such abstract concepts as friendship, faith, democracy, fairness, and honesty. Third, during adolescence individuals begins thinking more often about the process of thinking itself, or metacognition. As a result, adolescents may display increased introspection and self-consciousness.
Although improvements in metacognitive abilities provide important intellectual advantages, one potentially negative by product of these advances is the tendency for adolescents to develop a sort of egocentrism, or intense preoccupation with the self. Acute adolescent egocentrism sometimes leads teenagers to believe that others are constantly watching and evaluating them, much as an audience glues its attention to an actor on a stage. Whereas children tend to think about things one aspect at a time, adolescents can see things through more complicated lenses. Adolescents describe themselves and others in more differentiated and complicated terms and find it easier to look at problems from multiple perspectives.
The unpredictable elements are health related issues in adolescence are alcohol and other drug use. Experimentation with psychoactive substance is widespread during adolescence. Psychoactive substances are naturally occurring or artificial materials that act on the nervous system, altering perceptions, moods and behaviour.
They range from naturally occurring substances, such as alcohol, which is produced from the fermentation of plant sugars by yeast, to designer drugs such as ecstasy. Most teenager experiment with different substances, constituting substance use and in some individual’s experimentation escalates into habitual or repeated usage known as substance abuse. They also engaged in “binge drinking” which arising in recent years. Binge drinking is defined as the consecutive ingestion of five or more standard drinks in less than two hours. Other factors of unpredictable health issues is sexually transmitted infections, adolescent sexual behaviour may impose a significant health risk to teenagers through a range of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Sexually transmitted infections are bacterial and viral infections that enter the body via the mucous membranes of the mouth and the sex organs following physical contact.
Sexually transmitted infection includes syphilis, gonorrhoea, genital lice, scabies, chlamydia, herpes, genital warts, hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. The reason for the high rates of STIs in adolescents is that this age group is more prone to sexual experimentation and risky sexual behaviours than other age groups. Risky sexual behaviour includes unprotected sexual activity without using barriers such as condoms, sexual activity involving multiple partners and sexual activity involving partners whose sexual is unknown. B. The impact on relationships and concepts of self for persons undertaking the transition is established by a personal identity a key task of adolescence is successful resolution of Erikson’s psychosocial crisis of identity versus role confusion.
Identify formation involves selectively integrating some aspects of earlier childhood identity and discarding others. Successful resolution of the identity crisis of adolescence depends on the opportunities to experiment with different social roles and activities. Individual differences identify achievement are due to culture, gender roles , peer influences, parenting styles and life circumstances experienced by adolescents, which may increase or decrease opportunities for exploration. Self-concept is based on more abstract beliefs and values than the concrete and comparative ideas of self during childhood. Increased of perspective-taking ability may reveal ‘true’ and ‘false’ selves in relation to interactions with different people, but this can reflect positive experimentation with different roles that contribute to self-concept. Self-esteem decreases significantly between child self-concept and mid- adolescence, and more dramatically for girls than for boys.
The sex differences is probably anchored to sex-role differences, greater body image dissatisfaction in girls than in boys, and the differential boost to self-worth that romantic relationships bring to adolescent boys and girls. Parent –child relationships become less asymmetrical term s of the balance of power during adolescence compared with childhood, as a result of adolescent’s push for autonomy. There are wide individual differences in the degree of autonomy achieved by adolescents, depending on parenting styles and cultural and gender based norms and attitude.
During adolesce, close same-sex cliques and larger, looser amalgamations of several cliques called crow. Cliques and crowds provide the backdrop for new cross-sex interaction, including romantic relationships. Peer group conformity within cliques seeks out different kinds of advice and support from both parents and peers, Nonetheless, for minority ineffective parenting and influenced with a wrong crowd will experience a criminal career, exacerbate the pre-existing interpersonal difficulties that predispose adolescent to violence and being a gang members in the society.
Bullying is also common in the society especially teens in primary and high school, it can affect the psychosocial development of a person. Positive peer relationships include same-sex friendships that are high in intimacy and mutual support are both essential in bridging to a successful romantic relationships which may also begin during adolescence.
During adolescence, most individuals experience their first sexual intercourse. The age when this occurs is becoming earlier, depending on gender, cultural constraints and peer influences. Sexual minority status –lesbians, gay or bisexual may pose additional challenges to identify formation and sexual maturation during adolescence. C.The contribution of past and present authors and researcher’s in understanding towards the adolescent life transitions has vast changes in time.
According to Kohlberg’s theory (Benenson, Tennyson, & Wrangham, 2011) extended Piaget’s work on moral development during the 1960’s uses male protagonist only as an examples of his theories which contradicts Carol Gilligan’s author of her popular book , “In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory and Women’s Development” (1982), suggested that Kohlberg’s theories were biased against women, as only males were used in his studies. By listening to women’s experiences, Gilligan offered that a morality of care can serve in the place of the morality of justice and rights espoused by Kohlberg. In her view, the morality of caring and responsibility is premised in nonviolence, while the morality of justice and rights is based on equality. (Gilligan, 1982).
As we discussed the main points of being adolescence it embodies the importance, relevance and impact of a particular life event transition. Adolescence is a distinct stage that marks the transition between childhood and adulthood. Adolescents are capable of abstract reasoning. Although you may still include the family in education, adolescents themselves are a major focus of teaching since they have considerable independence and are, consequently, in more control of the degree to which recommendations will be carried out. Adolescents have many important developmental tasks to achieve. They are in the process of forming their own identity, separating themselves from parents, and adapting to rapidly changing bodies.
Bodily changes at puberty may cause a strong interest in bodily functions and appearance. Sexual adjustment and a strong desire to express sexual urges become important. Adolescents may have difficulty imagining that they can become sick or injured. This may contribute to accidents due to risk taking or poor compliance in following medical recommendations. Because adolescents have a strong natural preoccupation with appearance and have a high need for peer support and acceptance, health recommendations that they view as interfering with their concept of themselves as independent beings may be less likely to be followed.
Therefore, as sexual adjustment and strong sexual urges characterize this age, the nurse may do significant teaching about sex education and contraception. In addition to teaching adolescents about why and how their bodies are changing, the nurse is also in a good position to dispel misconceptions young patients may have about sexual development or sexual behaviour.
Teaching adolescents about sexuality requires a special sensitivity and understanding. Respect for the patient’s modesty, privacy, and opinions are critical to establishing an atmosphere of openness and trust. In addition to sex education, other important patient teaching areas are alcohol and drug abuse and general health measures, such as the importance of good nutrition and exercise as the basis for life-long health. Regardless of the topic, health education for adolescents is more effective when the nurse establishes trust by respecting the adolescent’s needs, shows empathetic understanding, and answers questions honestly. Patient teaching for adolescents should take the form of guidance rather than lecturing.
Nurses who gain credibility with an adolescent patient establish themselves as the teen-ager’s advocate rather than representatives of the parents. The nurse may increase health teaching effectiveness by including the family. The nurse can give guidance and support to family members that can help them understand and respect adolescent behaviour. Parents should be encouraged to set realistic limits for adolescents while still allowing them to become increasingly responsible for their own health care management.
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