Adolescent Behavior Essay
Adolescence is a period of psychological and physical passing from childhood to adulthood. “Adolescence is roughly considered to be the period between 13 and 19 years of age. The adolescent experiences not only physical growth and change but also emotional, psychological, social, and mental change and growth. During this period, adolescents are expected to become capable of adult behavior and response.” (Medical Encyclopedia). This is a difficult period, which results fundamental changes in the structure of personality, behavioral patterns, habits and life goals. Along with inner changes the person goes through the period of puberty or sexual development. These changes do not always go smoothly and children have to pass through the crises before they become grown-ups. Very often specialists talk about the crisis of adolescence. Adolescence behavior is a subject of special study. Very often problems adolescents face in the process of growing up are complicated by problems with their parents, friends and at school. So, deviant behavior of adolescents can be cased by family problems and tensions at home. Violence against others or animals, anti-social behavior, long depressions and some other symptoms are the signs that indicate that adolescent person is in trouble and needs help or interference. Such symptoms as hyperactivity problems, learning disorders and volatile temperament can also be an alarm signals of adolescence crises. During the adolescence period the cases of risk behavior manifestation are the most frequent. Risk behavior involves such behaviors as drinking, smoking, illegal drug use, and sex and pregnancy.
Since the problem is identified it’s necessary to find the ways to resolve it. There are several ways to treat adolescent behavioral disorders. First of all there are group-based methods, where youngsters try to work out their problems in the company of people who have familiar problems. Group-based options include survival camps, boot camps. All the treatment process is assisted by professional medical workers, social workers, psychiatrists, etc. These programs have a lot of advantages and are very useful in treating disorders but there is one essential disadvantage. Despite all the effort they show comparatively poor success. This can be explained by the fact that social programs affect only one part of the life of adolescents – social life. At the same time major parts of the problem, which influence the behavior of adolescents are rooted in their families. So, treatment programs, which include not only adolescents but also the member of their families, show better results. So, family-based programs make the second group of treating measures applied for treating adolescents behavioral disorders. Working with the parents is an affective method to deal with the problems caused by abnormal adolescent behavior. Unfortunately, very often parents not only don’t give necessary help to their children but also create additional problems. “Social science research has demonstrated that parental involvement affects adolescent behavior, primarily through monitoring behavior on the part of parents. Parents who spend more time supervising their children have children who engage in fewer risky behaviors” (Christopher et al 1993). Other researches have shown interesting statistics. The quality of relations between mothers and daughters influences the age girls start sexual intercourse (McNeely et al 2002). Statistic shows that the more active part parents take in growing up their children the less is probability of behavioral problems during the adolescence period. “The relationship between parent and child affects adolescent propensity to engage in risk behaviors. There is a clear negative relationship between a child’s perceptions of parent(s) knowledge about the goings on in his or her life and engagement in risk activities like smoking marijuana and stealing. And regardless of sex, adolescents are less likely to engage in risk behaviors, in this case alcohol consumption, if they have a positive relationship with their parent(s)” (Overturf, 14). Despite parents have an extremely important influence on the life of adolescents, there are other aspects of life of teenagers which lay aside from family control. Social surrounding, educational institutions and the place of work, same as friends, also have extremely important influence on the behavior of adolescence. Multisystemic approach to treating behavioral disorders is applied on several levels and seizes most aspects of adolescents’ life. In multisystemic programs the treatment involves the work with the family of adolescent same as his school surrounding, neighborhood, friends and employers. Family relations are still regarded as dominant force, which shapes out the adolescent’s view of the world and major attention is paid to this aspect of teenagers’ life. The combination of different kinds of treatment shows the best results in dealing with deviant adolescent behavior.
1. Christopher, F.S., D. Johnson, and M. Roosa. 1993. “Family, individual, and social correlates of early Hispanic adolescent sexual expression.” Journal of Sex Research 30: 54-61.
2. McNeely, C.A., M.L. Shew, T. Beuhring, R. Sieving, B.C. Miller, and R.W. Blum. 2002. “Mothers’ Influence on Adolescents’ Sexual Debut.” Journal of Adolescent Health 31(3):256-265.
3. Small, Stephen A. and Tom Luster. 1994. Factors Associated with Sexual Risk-taking Behaviors Among Adolescents. Journal of Marriage and the Family 56: 622- 632.
4. Medical Encyclopedia http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001950.htm
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