It is of paramount importance for any counseling specialist to possess a deep understanding of the processes which take place at different stages of human development to be able to provide helpful and sound advice to their clients. In this paper, which is based on a review of literature, it is argued that this is so by scrutinizing an example of adolescent individuals. The changes that people undergo during adolescence are considered, and the problems (personal, social, and otherwise) that adolescents experience are discussed. After that, it is shown that a deep knowledge of the process of human development is required if a counselor is to properly identify the causes of these problems and to recommend appropriate ways in which these issues can be addressed effectually.
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An appropriate understanding of the processes which take place at different stages of human development is of paramount importance for any counseling specialist if the latter is to be able to provide sound advice that would help resolve the problems of their clients. This can easily be seen when considering an example of problems that individuals usually experience during their adolescence. This paper discusses some causes of these problems and conflicts and argues that appropriate comprehension of these is required if counseling services are to be effective.
The Changes That Individuals Undergo in Adolescence
Adolescence is a stage in the process of human development that is associated with several potential difficulties and conflicts of the adolescent person with their family, siblings, peers, and adults, as shown by Papalia and Martorell (2015), the authors of the book which is used as the main textbook in the class for which this paper is written. Generally speaking, this phase lasts from the beginning of puberty and starts at the age of 10-12, and until young adulthood, that is, until the age of approximately 18-21. During adolescence, a person undergoes a set of changes related to their physical and mental development, and also often finds themselves in a situation when they need to form a variety of new relationships with others (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). For instance, during puberty, an individual obtains sexual maturity, which goes along with numerous changes to their hormone levels and their body.
The changes to the body may be a stressful experience for the majority of adolescents. During puberty, an individual also experiences an intellectual development related to the changes in their brain (Papalia & Martorell, 2015); this means, in particular, that they change their perceptions and start considering not only immediate matters but also more long-term issues, which may be distressing. Also, having a little amount of experience and knowledge in their possession, adolescent persons will often utilize their newly obtained intellectual and cognitive skills erratically, and, consequently, often making a considerable number of mistakes. The changes to the brain of an adolescent also result in progress about their emotional life (Cummings, Koss, & Davies, 2015). Individuals of this age may often experience sadness, irritability, confusion; many emotions, such as fear or confusion combined with desire, may arise from the development of their sexuality (Lucas‐Thompson, Lunkenheimer, & Granger, 2017).
The Impact of Changes Occurring in Adolescence on the Social and Personal Life of Adolescent Individuals
It is clear that the various changes that a person undergoes related to their emotions, intellectual capabilities, sexuality, and so on, result in a wide array of consequences about their social life (Narayan, Englund, Carlson, & Egeland, 2014). In particular, it should be observed that before puberty, the majority of the life of a child revolves primarily around their family. On the other hand, during adolescence, an individual often increases the number of their social contacts and starts interacting more with their peers of both the same and the opposite sex (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). Due to their sexual development, they also may feel attracted to individuals of the opposite sex (in most cases), and even sometimes fall in love with them (Narayan et al., 2014).
(Non-heterosexual individuals often tend to experience additional confusion due to their sexual orientation, the inability to comprehend numerous issues related to it, and so on, which may result in serious compilations.) Therefore, an adolescent individual starts spending less time with family and more time with their friends; at the same time, the family of that person often cannot get past the manner of communicating with their child which they have become accustomed to (Koss, Cummings, Davies, & Cicchetti, 2017), and adolescents often feel that their parents are being too controlling, which results in protest and conflicts. This is further complicated by the fact that, while adolescents often wish to become more independent, they still have to rely on their mother and father to provide for them financially.
Developing new intellectual and emotional capabilities, but having no experience or skills of using them, adolescents often cannot find how to apply them and experience a profound confusion (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). They may feel the need to find and develop their own identity (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). Knowing no ways of doing so and often being gullible, adolescents may also make numerous mistakes. For instance, they can become parts of certain groups that engage in delinquent behavior, which may constitute a serious problem not only for the adolescent but for all the people involved both directly and indirectly, including the parent (Papalia & Martorell, 2015).
It should be highlighted that parents also feel a considerable amount of confusion due to the behavior of their adolescent child, the problems that they experience, and so on. As it has been noted, parents will often have become accustomed to certain ways of treating their child, and it is often rather difficult for them to adapt to the changes that their offspring experiences. This is further complicated by the fact that an adolescent individual often behaves erratically, makes inconsistent demands, and so on. As a result, parents often feel at a loss and may respond inadequately to the behaviors of their offspring (Li & Warner, 2015; Steeger & Gondoli, 2013).
The Importance of Knowledge of Human Development When Providing Counseling Services to Adolescents and Their Families
Because of this, families of adolescent individuals may often require the services of a counseling professional to be able to appropriately and effectively resolve the numerous conflicts which may emerge between adolescent children, on the one hand, and their parents, grandparents, siblings, and so on, on the other hand (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). It is needed to provide advice about how adolescent individuals should be treated and in which their problems may be addressed; also, the adolescent individuals themselves may require recommendations about how to deal with their issues, how to approach their peers, how to not engage in conflict with their parents and other relatives, and so on; in many cases, the advice on how to resolve some existential issues, problems with identity, etc., may also be needed (Papalia & Martorell, 2015).
Therefore, it is clear that to provide such assistance, a counseling specialist needs to have a deep knowledge of the process of human development on the whole, and at the stage of adolescence in particular. This is required because the knowledge of the numerous processes that take place in adolescence is necessary to correctly comprehend the roots of the problems which exist in a family and provide recommendations which would take into account the roots of the problems, properly explain them, and avoid mistakes that may have serious adverse consequences (Steeger & Gondoli, 2013). The knowledge of details of other stages of human development is also pivotal in this situation, for the counseling specialist will also have to take into account the feelings, thoughts, and emotions of the parents of the adolescent child, their siblings, and so on (Papalia & Martorell, 2015). Thus, a good comprehension of the process of human development is pivotal if a counseling professional is to be able to help an adolescent who experiences problems and conflicts with others.
On the whole, during adolescence, individuals usually experience numerous problems with their feelings, identity, and often develop conflicts with other people, in particular, with their family. To be able to provide sound and helpful recommendations for adolescents and their families, counseling specialists need to have a deep understanding of the processes of human development which take place during adolescence; otherwise, counselors are likely to give advice that would not address the causes of the problems and misinterpret them, only further exacerbating the problems of the adolescents and the conflicts they have with others.
Cummings, E. M., Koss, K. J., & Davies, P. T. (2015). Prospective relations between family conflict and adolescent maladjustment: Security in the family system as a mediating process. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 43(3), 503-515. Web.
Koss, K. J., Cummings, E. M., Davies, P. T., & Cicchetti, D. (2017). Patterns of adolescent regulatory responses during family conflict and mental health trajectories. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 27(1), 229-245.
Li, Y., & Warner, L. A. (2015). Parent-adolescent conflict, family cohesion, and self‐esteem among Hispanic adolescents in immigrant families: A comparative analysis. Family Relations, 64(5), 579-591. Web.
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Lucas‐Thompson, R. G., Lunkenheimer, E. S., & Granger, D. A. (2017). Adolescent conflict appraisals moderate the link between marital conflict and physiological stress reactivity. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 27(1), 173-188.
Narayan, A. J., Englund, M. M., Carlson, E. A., & Egeland, B. (2014). Adolescent conflict as a developmental process in the prospective pathway from exposure to interparental violence to dating violence. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 42(2), 239-250. Web.
Papalia, D. E., & Martorell, G. A. (2015). Experience human development (13th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.
Steeger, C. M., & Gondoli, D. M. (2013). Mother-adolescent conflict as a mediator between adolescent problem behaviors and maternal psychological control. Developmental Psychology, 49(4), 804-814. Web.