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CONTEXTUAL ISSUES OF DEVELOPMENT IN ADOLESCENTS AND COPING STRATEGIES.

Adolescence is a
period of transition from childhood to adulthood. Adolescents are persons
between the ages of 10-19 years of age. 
These are the formative years when maximum amount of physical,
psychological, and behavioural changes takes place.   This 
is  also a  time for adolescents  to 
prepare  for  undertaking 
greater responsibilities,  a  time 
of  exploration  and 
widening horizon  and  a 
time  to  ensure 
healthy  all-round development.
It is a period
of most rapid intellectual growth and adolescents often feel that he/she knows
more than his/her parents and other adults.
Human
development occurs in stages and each of the stages has its distinctive
features or characteristics.
These stages
are;
• Infancy
• Childhood
• Adolescence
• Adulthood
• Aged or old
age
Out of all these
five stages of human development the stage or the period of adolescence is the
most confusing and the most poorly understood stage.
Therefore, there
is need for adolescents to acquire information and skills needed to achieve a
healthy transition to adulthood.
DEVELOPMENTAL
STAGES OF ADOLESCENCE
Adolescence can
be conveniently divided into three sub-periods
1. Early
adolescence
2.
Mid-adolescence
3. Late
adolescence
EARLY
ADOLESCENCE
This period
includes the developmental changes and the onset of puberty during this period;
the adolescents remain home-centred. His behaviour may temporary show a
disorganized, erratic along with a decreased willing to accommodate the
expectation of his parents and others while wilder-mood swings and periodic
bouts of feeling ill-treated end. His activities are primarily with members of
his own sex. This period falls between 10 years and 13 years.
MID ADOLESCENCE
This period
follows puberty by about one to one and a half years. It spans between 13 years
and 18 years. At times, the first tentative interest and approach towards the
opposite sex usually takes place. The awakening of heterosexual interest often
disrupts previous peer groupings and intimate friendships. Characteristically,
this is the stage when adolescent rebellion starts, a period of irritability,
wide mood swings and rapidly changing feelings.
Obedience to
parental dictates is replaced by conformity to peer group standards and
loyalties. Early sexual exploration begins.
LATE ADOLESCENCE
This is the
period of transition as the young consolidates his identity and comes to grips
with his future. This stage falls between the age 14 and 19 years. He is more
able to be selective and discriminating in his relationships. Feeling himself a
more complete and separate person he is more able by his stage to form and
maintain truly intimate relationship with others who belief, ideas and motives
he can see and respect as clearly as he does his own.
Issues in development of Adolescents
 • Rapid hormonal and physical changes
associated with adolescence
• Period of
identity crisis-physical and sexual
• Playing
feminine or masculine role
• Intelligence
is at its peak and new academic schedule
• Pressures to
conform or to engage in risky behaviours
•      Peer
pressure- drugs, alcohol.
• Seeking
independence
• Permanent
personality traits begin to develop
• Preparing for
a career and taking decisions regarding future
• Establishing
new mature relations with peers of both sexes
Although
adolescence and young adulthood are generally healthy times of life, several
important public health and social problems either peak or start during these
years. Examples include:
  • Homicide
  • Suicide
  • Motor vehicle crashes,
    including those caused by drinking and driving
  • Substance use and abuse
  • Smoking
  • Sexually transmitted
    infections, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
  • Teen and unplanned pregnancies
  • Homelessness
                            Coping
strategies
•      Believe
in yourself and a have a good self esteem. Don’t wait to be complemented on
your beauty. Know who you are.
•      Make  your 
academics  a  priority 
and  not  a 
lastminute.com thing
•      Seeking  social 
support-Family,  role  model 
youth leader
•      Set
goals for yourself and Draw up a daily schedule for yourself.
•      Seeking  understanding 
and  information-AYHS, Teachers,
FLHE notes ,sites such as WHO
•      Seeking
for Counselling and services  –from
AYFHS, Teachers, books on adolescents
  • Exercise. It releases tension
    and energizes. This can mean working out, bike riding around the neighbourhood,
    jogging.
  • Eat regular and nutritious
    meals.
  • Avoid excess caffeine intake
    which can increase feelings of anxiety and agitation.
  • Avoid illegal drugs, alcohol
    and tobacco.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Take a time-out. Everyone
    needs a break from stressful situations. Activities like listening to
    music, dancing, drawing, writing in a journal, playing a musical
    instrument, taking a long bath, reading a good book, taking a walk.
  • Learn relaxation exercises
    (abdominal breathing, muscle relaxation techniques, meditation, yoga,
    etc.). Breathing exercises are a great way to relieve stress anytime and
    anywhere. They’re simple to learn, simple to use, and can be done on the
    spot when you feel tension, immediately helping you to feel better. One
    very effective exercise is to ‘inhale peace’ and ‘exhale your stress’.
  • Learn to say no. Being
    overcommitted is a major source of stress, even if the activity you’re
    considering is fun (such as spending time with friends). Although fun
    activities can be a way to relax, they can also become a source of stress
    when time management is not used. All aspects of your life – school work,
    family life, social life, structured activities (such as sports) – must be
    in balance to minimize stress. It’s sometimes hard to say no – especially
    if you’re concerned about disappointing or offending people – but learning
    to diplomatically refuse requests is essential to taming stress.
  • Develop organizational skills,
    such as time management and the ability to break a large task into
    smaller, more attainable tasks.
  • Listen to music during your
    regular activities. Music has proven health and stress relief benefits,
    and can be easily played during daily life to relieve stress.
  • Build a network of friends who
    help you cope in a positive way.
  • Develop a positive attitude.
    Optimists and positive thinkers experience better health, less stress, and
    more ‘luck’ in life. Decrease negative self talk by challenging negative
    thoughts about yourself with more positive, or at lease neutral, thoughts.
    While it takes a little practice to develop a more positive frame of mind,
    the practice takes little extra time and can really change your whole
    experience of life and how you live it.
  •  Use of religion-prayers, prayer books,
    develops a relationship with your God.
  • Rehearse  and 
    practice  responses  to 
    stressful situations
  • Learn to recognize and reduce
    negative self-talk. Challenge negative thoughts about oneself with
    alternative neutral or positive thoughts. Avoid demanding perfection from
    oneself or others; instead, learn to feel good about doing a competent or
    “good enough” job.
  • Pay attention to your health.
    – know your HIV status, good hygiene especially during menstrual flow.
  • Avoid gatherings and situations
    that can put you at risk of sexual abuse.
  • Seek help when experiencing
    abusive situations and report appropriately.

 By Dr (Mrs) somefun
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