is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood. It is rapid, complex, and
difficult change that can go wrong. It is part of the teenage period defined as
ages 13-19 years. It is also part of youth defined as between puberty and the
age of 40.
is the period when gonads are sufficiently developed to allow reproduction to
occur. Puberty in males is the appearance of the first sperms and in females it
is the first menstruation. In both genders attainment of the age of 15 years is
considered by Islamic Law to automatically define puberty even if the
biological signs have not been seen. At puberty a person becomes a legally
responsible adult. Physical growth
may not correlate with emotional and intellectual development and this is a
source of problems.
CHANGES IN THE ADOLESCENT
marks puberty in males. It is accompanied by the pubertal growth spurt and
appearance of male secondary sexual characteristics (testicular enlargement,
penile enlargement, sexual hair growth, voice changes, muscle enlargement,
regular frequent erections with ejaculation). These physical changes are
accompanied by behavioral changes.
changes in females are more dramatic. Thelarche is development of breasts.
Puberchy is development of pubic hair. Menarche, the 1st menstrual
period, is the legally accepted definition of puberty. Female secondary sexual
characteristics include breast development, sexual hair growth, and increase in
body fat. Other changes include changes in sensory organs, and changes in
functional organs. Females experience an earlier pubertal spurt. There is wisdom
in this because females start their reproductive careers earlier.
CHANGES IN THE ADOLESCENT
the accompanying behavioral changes are intellectual and psychological changes,
emotional changes (moodiness and depressive effects). Adolescence is a time of
tension and contradictions. The adolescent is physically an adult who could
even start a family. He feels independent but cannot live without dependence on
parents. His behavior is impulsive and he tries to rebel against childhood
restrictions but is yet unsure of what roles to play: childhood or adult roles?
Acquisition of abstract thinking gives the teenagers more powerful reasoning
abilities and they feel very intelligent. They become intellectually arrogant
reasoning things out and acting on erroneous conclusions. They are often wrong
in their reasoning because they lack wisdom and experience.
YOUNG ADULT (early adulthood)
growth essentially stops at the age of 21. Then the period of young adulthood
starts and ends at the age of 39. It is characterized by optimal health status,
maximal energy, and ambition. It is a period of starting a career and a family.
It can also be a time of stress and tension as career and family are balanced.
It is a period of balance between cognition and emotion, idealism and
pragmatism, moral living and hedonism.
OF ADOLESCENCE and YOUTH
The problems of teenagers and adolescents are
problems of a rapid transition. They arise as discordance between biological
maturity on one hand and psychological and emotional maturity on the other.
Other problems are delayed puberty, and precocious puberty, growth anomalies.
Youths have a lot of energy which they may expend in harmful activities if they
make wrong choices.