Adolescence, Boys and Girls

Dr. Purushothaman
November 29, 2013

boys and girls

Adolescence is the developmental level between childhood and adulthood; it commonly refers to a period arraying from age twelve or thirteen through age 19 or 21. Although its commencing is a great deal balanced with the beginning of puberty, adolescence is qualified by mental and social stages as well as by biological changes. Adolescence can be prolonged, brief, or nearly nonexistent, depending on the type of culture in which it happens. In societies that are simple, for example, the transition from childhood to maturity tends to occur rather rapidly, and is distinguished by traditionally appointed passage rituals. To contrast this, in American and European societies the changeover period for young people has been steadily lengthening over the past 100 years, giving rise to an teen subculture. As a result of this extended transitional stage a variety of problems and concerns specifically connected with this age group have formed. Psychologists separate four areas that especially touch upon adolescent behavior and maturation: physiological change and growth; cognitive, or mental development; identity, or personality formation; and parent-adolescent relations.

Physiological Change:

Between the ages of nine and fifteen, nearly all young people undergo a speedy series of physiological changes, known as the adolescent growth spurt. These hormonal modifications include a quickening in the body's rate of growth; the growth of pubic hair; the appearance of axillary, or armpit, hair about two years later. There are changes in the structure and functioning of the reproductive organs; the mammary secreters in girls; and development of the sweat glands, which frequently contributes to an outbreak of acne. In both sexes, these physiological shifts take place at different times. This period of change can turn out to be very nerve-racking for a pre-teen. For during this stage of life, visual aspect is very important. An adolescent child who develops too soon or exceedingly late can take a lot of ridicule from his or her peers.

However, the time at which a girl goes through this stage and a male goes through it, are different.Girls normally begin their growth spurt not long after age 10. They tend to arrive at their peak around the age twelve, and tend to finish by age fourteen. This spurt comes about almost two years later in boys. Consequently boys go through a troubling period where young ladies are taller and heavier than them. This uneasy period occurs from ages 10 and one-half to 13. Time is not the only divergence in the pubescent period for boys and girls. In girls, the enlargement of the breasts is commonly the first physical sign of puberty. Actual puberty is marked by the beginning of menstruation, or menarche. In the United States, eighty percent of all girls reach menarche between the ages of 11 and one-half and 14 and one-half, fifty percent between twelve and fourteen, and thirty-three percent at or before age 11. The average age at which menstruation begins for American girls has been dropping down at the rate of about six months every decade, and today contrasts significantly with the average age of a century ago, which is between fifteen and seventeen.

Male children normally start their rapid increase in growth when they reach about 12 and one-half years of age. They arrive at their peak slightly after fourteen, and loosen up by the age of sixteen. This time period is labeled by the enlargement of the scrotum, testes, and penis; the maturation of the prostate gland; darkening of the scrotal skin. The development of pubic hair and pigmented hair on the arms, legs, and chest happens during this period. The enlargement of the voice box, containing the vocal cords, which leads to a deepening of the voice induces much stress for a pubescent male child. In this transitional period his voice tends to "break". Voice of a boy will eventually become deep and will enhance the male personality and mark the changeover from a boy to a man.

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