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Stages Of Life

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Raising your pre- teens was never supposed to be this scary. In today’s world,

your thirteen year old is constantly bombarded with issues like the confusion that comes

with their changing bodies, their irrational mood swings, lust for privacy, and their

struggle to obtain and prove their independence. There is that struggle to balance that part

of themselves that wants to remain a child with the peer pressure that makes an

adolescent engage in risky behaviors, like the sex, drugs, violence, and alcohol perils that

they are exposed to. The parents, (whether married or divorced, another key factor in

an adolescent's growth,) are the single most influential people in that individual's life.

Let's face it, no child came with an instruction book. These adolescent years are filled

with much joy and triumphs, but just as much pain and tears.

The term adolescence itself, or rather, its meaning, is difficult to define.

At what point exactly does it actually start? It is stated in my text book, Human

Development Across a Lifespan, (pg 277) that adolescence is the onset of sharp rises in

the production of the four hormones that affect sexuality: progesterone and estrogen in

females; and testosterone and androgen in males. It is often marked by the physical

changes that take place. Adolescence is a stage in life when the body grows and changes

more dramatically than any other time. These changes in their bodies, often referred to as

puberty, are what tend to make adolescence awkward, embarrassing, or even frightening.

In young women, the most obvious physical change is the first of her periods,

called menarche. Before hand, she will have developed breasts and pubic hair . Her body

may have become softer, curvier, a bit more round… all of these changes may cause her

to become self conscious of her body.

In boys, they have grown some facial, chest, under arm and pubic hair. They will

experience the beginning of a growth spurt, the average age being twelve, but the

maximum growth spurt is slow to occur. Their first ejaculation is viewed with the same

significance as that of a young girl’s menarche. The early voice change is often the most

humiliating part of it all. My own nephew hated the way his voice would suddenly

become high pitched or crack mid-sentence. He lived with us for about a year and by the

time he went home for the summer, he was a different person. He had “filled out”, losing

most of his baby fat, as boys tend to do, and had become a bit muscular. When he left, he

spoke with a deep voice and was half a foot taller.

Adolescence is also the time often referred to as an emotional roller coaster.

Because the physical changes are the most obvious sign of maturation, little emphasis is

placed on the cognitive development that takes place. It is a stage in development when

hormones run rampant, which triggers the irrational mood swings that pre-teens are

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