The case study was taken on an adolescent by the name of Anita. She is a sixteen-year-old African-American girl living in a middle class neighborhood. The interview sought to study her adolescent development in relation to the development theory researched by biopsychosocial scholars over time.
The interviewee is a sixteen-year-old grade 10th grade students. She belongs to a nuclear family of four that is comprised of the father, mother and a younger brother who is six years old. She says she has a small clique of friends. Her best friend is a fellow sixteen-year-old girl classmate, whom she also grew up with in the same neighborhood. Anita puts her sexual orientation as straight and admits to being in a relationship with one of her schoolmates.
Apart from the physical changes witnessed at the onset of adolescence, they are also psychological and emotional changes that adolescents undergo. They start developing close relationships outside their families and become less dependent on parents (Shaffer, 1999). This is the stage of development where they begin and start learning how to become independent. It also helps the teenagers create their self-identity that is different from that of the family.
Apart from building relationships and friendships with people outside their families, adolescents also start developing sexual identity. They start grasping the concept of dating and sex and get into relationships. This is a development aspect crucial as survival mechanism of the human race since such interactions guarantees progeny (Lefrancois, 1976).
Anitas father and mother are forty-five and forty-one years respectively. Her mother is a clinical officer in one of the local dispensaries. Her mother on the other hand works in a construction company.
Anita was born in a poor neighborhood before her parents climbed up the rungs of economic prosperity. While still a young girl, Anita recalls her mother taking with her to work because she they could not afford to hire a nanny for her. Her mother would come back with her in the evening and set out for evening classes this time her being left with her father to baby sit her. While most of her peers went to baby care centers or had a nanny babysit them when they were young, she notes that she did not get either because her parents could not afford.
Children are said to need their parents presence more than anything else. Parents are the best placed act as the first teachers of the child. Young children are still not independent and require their parents guidance in learning such basic skills as eating, going to the toilet, bathing among others. The parents presence also help shape the personality and character of the child since they imitate what the parents are doing. The child will basically pick up the behavior of whomever is close to it during this development stage.
Parents are also crucial for the child to develop a bond and thus a trusting relationship with them. Physical touches are particularly important in creating bonds of trust between child and parent. This affects how the child will later on in their life interact with people. Absence of frequent physical touches between child and parent may mold a child that has low self-esteem and deep roots of mistrust (Lefrancois, 1976).
The going to work with her parents affected her as she says it made her interact more with adults and missed the opportunity to socialize with fellow toddlers. The advantage of this is that she matured and became more responsible compared to her current peers or friends but she also thinks it affected her such that she has never overcome missing the interaction with her peers in the infancy stage and usually finds herself playing toddler games with her young brother.
Anita answered that the single most thing during her childhood that shapes her character and personality to date is her humble beginnings. She respects and adores her parents so much as she witnessed as they toiled around the clock to make sure they provided and gave her a comfortable upbringing. She says most of her peers take everything for granted and do not appreciate their parents that much. She attributes this to the fact that most of them were born into wealthy households and never witnessed any sort of struggle whatsoever throughout their upbringing.
The concept of socialization amongst children is crucial for the child development. The child needs to interact with fellow kids in order to sharpen such social skills as sharing, negotiation, co-existence and even team building (Thomsen, 1998). Children playing together help them extend relationship with other people that are not their parents. Lack of these may cause low self-esteem and even shyness later in life
She notes that she has changed in height and weight over the recent years. However, she says that her classmates and friends have also changed significantly in those aspects and this has been happening for the last six years and in a gracefully gradual manner. The change she would most likely try and change at the moment is the enlargement of her bosom as it has grown bigger than most her friends and boys keep making lewd references about it.
Rapid changes occur during adolescents. This also referred to as puberty. Both girls and boys undergo puberty. However, girls hit puberty much earlier than boys. It starts at averagely eleven years for girls and fourteen years for boys (Wise, 2004). The hormonal changes that happen in the body of the adolescents lead to a rapid physical growth among other changes like the onset of menstruations and facial hairs in girls and boys respectively.
The genetic makeup of Anita may have contributed to her developing larger bosom than her peers; her ethnicity being black. Various research conducted found out that black people start puberty much earlier than their white counterparts. Just like there is variability on the timing of puberty between girls and boys, the variability also cross cuts different races. The black girls have also a generally bigger bodies than white girls. All these being attributed to variance in their genetics (Lefrancois, 1976).
Anita thinks her parents are strict to her specially to matters to do with school work and her choice of friends. Even though she respects her parents, she thinks that her parents should not be very strict since she believes she has the capacity to make the right decisions and put adequate efforts in her school work. Her parents envision that she studies hard enough and be able to join a college to become either an attorney or a doctor. However, her goals are to major mainly in the industry of fashion and design where her interests lie. She fears though that she might not be able to major into her area of preference due to her parents obsession with her studying either law or medicine.
Adolescents experience behavioral changes that may conflict with that preferred by their parents. Parents feel like they have lost control over their children and try employing stricter measures to reassert their mandate. On the other hand, the adolescents resent any implied restriction on their freedom and the choice to make autonomous decisions for themselves (Cole & Hall, 1970).
Anita says that she is currently doing excellently in school. Her favorite teacher is her arts teacher whom she describes to as accessible and friendly to her students. The teacher is also understanding and employs practical approach in teaching. She particularly loves the many field trips that the teacher arranges for them which is comparatively better than other subjects which over relies on the theoretical aspect of the lessons.
Learning for teenagers must be undertaken in a very strategic manner. The teacher should understand the developments going on in the teenagers life-both physical and emotional. Adolescents will lose interest if they notice the teacher is not understanding or is too harsh at them. Cognitive stimuli and variety in the exercises initiated by the teacher can help students maintain interest in learning (Berk, 1999). Real life and practical application of the theories learnt in class helps the students in more comprehension and also a deeper grasp and interest in the subject being taught.
Berk, L. (1999). Infants, children, and adolescents. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Cole, L. & Hall, I. (1970). Psychology of adolescence. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.
Ingersoll, G. & Ingersoll, G. (1989). Adolescents. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice Hall.
Lefrancois, G. (1976). Adolescents. Belmont, Calif.: Wadsworth Pub. Co.
Shaffer, D. (1999). Developmental psychology. Pacific Grove: Brooks/Cole Pub.
Thomsen, P. (1998). From thoughts to obsessions. London: J. Kingsley Publishers.
Wise, I. (2004). Adolescence. London: Karnac.
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