The major threats to adolescents today
Adolescence has been defined by scholars as the period between 12 years and 18 of age. It is also known as puberty or teenagehood. Adolescence was described by G. Stanley Hall as a period of storm and stress, meaning that it is a very delicate phase of human development as opposed to the other stages or phases (Slater and Bremner, 2003. pp.391-400). It is during adolescence when people can build or destroy their lives, depending on how they are guided, misguided, advised, or misadvised.
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Adolescence is a period when many teens start establishing heterosexual relationships and also start seeking some independence from their parents, caregivers, or guardians. They think that they are now mature people who are able to take care of themselves without the supervision of their parents or guardians ((Slater and Bremner, 2003. pp.391-400).
In the contemporary world, there are many threats that face adolescents. Due to globalization and the advancement in information communication technology, the problems and threats facing adolescents are more than ever serious. One of the problems which face them is the problem of drug and substance abuse. In today’s world, drug trafficking has increased, thus posing as a threat to many adolescents. Since many adolescents are of school-going age, they may have difficulties in school or they may have relationship problems as well as low self-esteem. As a result of peer pressure and influence, they take refuge in taking drugs so as to deal with the stress which may result from low self-esteem, poor relationships, and or poor performance in school (Slater and Bremner, 2003. pp.391-400).
Adolescents are also faced with the threat of suffering from eating disorders which may result from the desire to attain a particular body shape or due to poor eating habits which may lead to obesity. Nowadays, the development and advancement of information communication technology has made many things easy and has reduced movements which may help people exercise by default thereby lowering the risk of developing overweight. This is posing as a threat to the health of adolescents in that apart from becoming obese, they may also develop other health complications like a heart attack as a result of reduced movements and body exercises (Slater and Bremner, 2003. pp.391-400).
As a health professional, what I would do to help adolescents deal with these threats is that I would organize guidance and counseling sessions for them. In the guidance and counseling sessions, I would provide them with adequate education and information regarding the issue of dangers of drug and substance abuse. I would also educate them on the importance of doing exercise in their lives and encourage them to start doing some exercises like walking at least for thirty minutes every day and also educate them on a proper diet which contains less fat and more greens and grains. These would go to great lengths in helping them deal with these threats.
The implications of the psychosocial developmental needs of the adolescent stage
Erik Erickson is referred to as the father of an identity crisis in that he originated with the idea of child upbringing practices and their influence on the personality of the child in later life. He argued that people develop their personalities through eight developmental stages which succeed each other. He referred to the stages as psychosocial development stages. In every stage, the individual is presented with a set of conflicts and crises to overcome which may involve psychological, biological, social, and cognitive interactions and influences (Fisher and Lerner, 2005. pp.1060-1078).
The stages include infancy, toddler, young childhood, childhood, adolescence, young adulthood, middle adulthood, and maturity. Each stage has got its own unique psychosocial development needs which have their implications on the person. The adolescence stage for example is attained or reached at the age bracket of 12 -18 years and is the fifth stage of psychosocial development according to Erik Erickson (Fisher and Lerner, 2005. pp.1060-1078).
During the adolescence stage, the individual is faced with the need of developing his or her own identity. At this stage, adolescents are in dire need of good role models to emulate and mound their personality as per those role models. They need to be advised, guided, and educated on how to go about many things in life like career, choosing of heterosexual partners, and being responsible people (Fisher and Lerner, 2005. pp.1060-1078).
According to Erik Erickson, failure by adolescents to have good role models to emulate gives the opportunity to peers to shape the personalities of adolescents, which in most cases leads to the wrong socialization and consequently the acquisition of bad personalities by adolescents. Failure to have good role models to emulate may also lead to the development of confused identity and the lack of faithfulness by the adolescents (Fisher and Lerner, 2005. pp.1060-1078).
According to Erik Erickson, if they are provided with the proper guidance and advice as well as good role models to emulate, adolescents attain unique identities and feel that they have a purpose in life. They also become faithful and may not be involved in infidelity once they enter into marriage relationships (Fisher and Lerner, 2005. pp.1060-1078).
The implications of the development needs of adolescents at stage five of psychosocial development in health practice are that many adolescents need to be taken care of, especially their mental health. This is because, at this stage, adolescents are very energetic both physically and mentally. They should therefore be provided with the proper guidance and counseling so that they may sail through the storms and stresses of the adolescence stage comfortably and successfully because it is at this stage when many adolescents become emotionally active, which may lead to depression and in some cases, suicide.
Adolescents, therefore, need not only good role models to emulate but also proper checks and monitoring of their mental health so that they are afforded the best options and opportunities to develop both physically, emotionally, and cognitively. Failure to take care of their mental health may destroy any gains made in the other aspects of their development.
Fisher, C.L.and Lerner, R.M.(2005). Encyclopedia of Applied Developmental Science, Volume 2. Philadelphia, PA: SAGE.p. 1060-1078.
Slater, A., and Bremner, J.G.(2003). An Introduction to Developmental Psychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing. pp. 391-400.