An individual’s needs and problems influence his development to a great extent. Adolescence is a crucial period in the life of an individual with its characteristic needs and problems of adjustment. Every adolescent has certain needs, the satisfaction of which is essential to his continued physical and others aspects of development. A need is a tension within an organism which must be satisfied for the well being of the organism. When a need is satisfied the tension is released and the individual experiences satisfaction. There are certain basic needs which are functioning in every individual. They are broadly classified into Physiological needs and Psychological needs.
Primary or Physiological Needs: The fulfillment of physiological needs are inevitable because they are concerned with the very existence of the individual. The need for oxygen, need for water and food, need for rest and sleep, need for sex gratification etc. are the important physiological needs.
Secondary or Socio-Psychological Needs: Needs that are associated with socio-cultural environment of an individual are called secondary needs. They are acquired through social learning and their satisfaction is necessary for the psychological well being of the individual. The important socio-psychological needs are as follows:
1. Needs for security : The adolescent need emotional, social and economic
security in addition to physical security. The person who lacks the feeling of security may become maladjusted. The need for social security is associated with man’s desire for gregariousness.
2. Need for Love : Affection or love is one of the most basic psychological
needs of the adolescents. Adolescents have a strong desire to love and to be loved. The individual who is not loved will not deep proper attitudes and concepts concerning his own worth. Proper love will strengthen the individuals feeling of security.
3. Need for approval : There is a carving for recognition in adolescents. His
ego gets satisfaction when he is recognized and approved. The adolescent desire that he should be a centre of attraction for the opposite sex and his abilities, intelligence and capacities should be recognized by others. The teachers should find out the field in which the pupil can shine very well and which help him to earn admiration from others.
4. Need for freedom and independence : Adolescence is a time when the
individual is striving to wean himself away from the control of parents and elders. He want the right to give expression to his feelings, emotions and ideas. He feels annoyed and unpleasant when restriction is imposed on him.
5. Need for self-expression and achievement : Every adolescent has an inherent
desire for the expression of his potentialities. He may have a poet, musician, painter etc. hidden within him and he want to get adequate opportunities for the expression of his potentialities. He experiences satisfaction when he succeeded in them and failure makes him depressed and disappointed. Hence the curriculum should be appropriate for every pupil so as to permit achievement for him.
Problems of Adolescents with special reference to Indian context
Any period of development is likely to be accompanied by many potential difficulties. Adolescence is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood that implies many development changes and associated problems. Some of the outstanding problems of Indian adolescence are the following:
Perplexity with regard to somatic variation: Every adolescent has more or less difficult task of adjusting to somatic variation which may occur in connection with puberty. The follow of blood during menstruation in girls and nocturnal emission in boys creates worries and give birth to so many fears and anxieties. Since ours is a conservative society, youngsters are less informed about the physical changes that are occurring during puberty. Lack of scientific information about sex hygiene and philosophy make them to satisfied with crude and perverted knowledge about sex related matters. It creates guilt feeling and so many complexes in the minds of the children which makes them introverted and secretive.
Problems related with intensification of sex-consciousness: The sudden awakening of sex instinct during adolescence results in intensification of sex consciousness. Adolescents are curious to know about sex related topics and are seeking answers to their innumerable doubts in sexual matters. In our country most of the parents are illiterate and they do not have scientific knowledge of sex problems. Moreover, our social values are different from that of western countries, and hence parents hesitate to discuss sex problems with their children. So the adolescents resort socially unacceptable ways to quench their curiosity and to satisfy their sexual needs. There is also the misguiding of print and electronic media that finally results in sexual maladjustment in adolescents. [Reading of ‘MA..” books, interest in ‘branded’ films, influence of friends, etc.]
Adjustment difficulties with parents: Adolescents have a strong for freedom and independence. But often it is obstructed by parental oppositions. In Indian context, parental opposition may extend to such areas as choices of friends, choice of education, recreational interests, dress, life-style, our of going from and coming to the home, mode of behaviour etc. The conflict between parental norms of behaviour and peer group relationships often lead to friction in the relationship and adolescents find it difficult to adjust to the needs and demands of parents. Failure to adjust with the parents may result in revolting against parents and authority.
Childhood-Adulthood Conflict: In our society, the adolescent is considered as neither as a child nor as an adult. He has to depend his parents and elders for his physical and emotional needs. But at the same time he wants to hold independent views and opinions like an adult. He can very well manage his own affairs and resist any unnecessary interference from the part of elders. He begins to feel ashamed and embarrassed for the protection and care shown by the parents. He is often treated in an ambiguous manner by parents and teachers. Sometimes they expect him to behave as an adult and at other times, they treat him as a child. The poor adolescent is caught between the role of the child and the adult, which push him into confusion and tension.
Adjustment difficulties with school discipline : Most of the adolescents face a great problem in adjusting with school discipline. Some times schools expects too much from students who must submit to teachers who may be tyrannical sometimes. Schools should not implant habits of unquestioning obedience that inhibits the growth of young people towards true independence.
Adjustment difficulties with community: The adolescent is expected to find his place in a society marked by increasing social isolation and rapid technological changes. This changing world make it difficult to anticipate and plan for adolescent life. They have difficulty in adjusting their capacity to the demands of the community. At this critical phase most adolescents react by withdrawing into a non-demanding and non-working world of pleasure and satisfaction.