The Role of Cognitive Development and Egocentrism in Relation to Adolescent Decision Making
The peculiarities of the adolescence’s thinking usually form during the process of cognitive development which consists of several stages. “Although egocentrism is typically evident at the beginning of adolescence, intuition in the middle, and logic at the end, any one of these forms of cognition may appear in any adolescent at any time” (Berger, 2009, p. 443). Thus, adolescents can experience some difficulties when it is necessary to solve definite problems or to make right decisions. They are inclined to concentrate on those emotions and feelings which the decision making process can provide. The level of their objectivity in this situation is rather low. “Adolescents are much more self-focused and hypersensitive than are older people” (Berger, 2009, p. 446).
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It is important to teach adolescents how to cope with their problems effectively with the help of their logics and critical thinking skills but not emotions. “Adolescents find it much easier and quicker to forget about logic and follow their impulses” (Berger, 2009, p. 450). The problem is in the fact the results of such impulses can be crucial for the adolescents’ future.
Those high school students who face the problems in their studying process or their interactions with the classmates and teachers can decide to drop out of school. The decision can be considered as the quickest and the most effective way to cope with problems (Lan & Lanthier, 2003). However, this opinion is rather wrong, and the task of teachers and psychologists is to cooperate with students at risk in order to prevent such situations.
There are a lot of causes for students’ dropping out of school. Many of them depend on the peculiarities and conditions of the home and school environment which are apprehended as hostile (Lan & Lanthier, 2003). It is possible to decrease this tendency if teachers and psychologists react appropriately. It is necessary to pay attention to the needs of students at risk, to the peculiarities of their interactions with other people and to the features of their awareness of themselves as personalities. Students should have the opportunity to feel the support. That is why it is necessary to develop their abilities of self-control and self-motivation with the help of different techniques and trainings such as role-playing.
The situation at multi-ethnic high schools can be considered as more problematic. The problems of students at multi-ethic high schools are mostly connected with social and economic issues where the family income and social status play the most important role in students’ everyday competition. The solution of the problem can be found in the realization of the authentically caring program where the main powers are directed to lessening of the level of social and ethnic prejudice with using of effective communicating and interacting techniques. It is important to emphasize the personal uniqueness and personal strengths of everyone in spite of his social status or ethnicity.
The Effects of Family and Peer Influences on an Adolescent’s Daily Life
Every day adolescents act and communicate in their families and at school. Thus, parents and peers’ influence can affect their life greatly because positive home and school environment depend on the peculiarities of these relations. When adolescents communicate with their parents and teachers it is necessary for them to know that parents and peers understand their feelings and emotions and can take the part of them. Adolescents need support and understanding even if they can react to the parents’ demonstrations of support roughly.
Those adolescents who suffer from the authoritarian behavior of their parents and absolute control can become uncommunicative and hide their emotions (Pruitt, 2000). Such behavior can be considered as risky, and the situation can result in students’ stresses, depressions and brutal reactions. When adolescents are under the pressure of the authoritarian control they try to resist it. That is why positive effects can bring only the situation of mutual understanding at home and caring atmosphere at school. Necessary control at home and at school should be realized with the help of principles of democratic behavior (Pruitt, 2000).
Suicide Prevention or Intervention Procedures
In the situation when adolescents cannot cope with the aspects of their private life and hostile surroundings they can try to commit a suicide. The problem is that all these attempts can be prevented if psychologists in their work with adolescents pay attention to the facts of stress and depression of students which lead to despair and lack of interest in life. “Hopelessness, despair that things will never change, and a general feeling of deadness may be expressed in suicide attempts or dangerous and self-injurious behavior” (Pruitt, 2000, p. 210). That is why it is necessary to pay attention to the methods of determining of signals of risky behavior because adolescents are inclined to hide their fears and worries, and they can be obvious when the situation is critical.
It is effective to use modern tests and techniques which purpose is to reveal the fact some adolescents are at risk. There can be determined a lot of groups of adolescents who are at risk. “Sexually abused children are often depressed and are at greater risk of suicide” (Pruitt, 2000, p. 118). And moreover, “adolescent children of unemployed parents attempt suicide twice as often as other children” (Pruitt, 2000, p. 120). Furthermore, some students can experience difficulties because of the ethnical oppression.
General techniques of preventing of suicidal behavior include communicating methods when psychologists listen to the problem of a person, analyze it and the expressed emotions, and then support and help. It is necessary to focus on the person’s problems at home and at school, his dreams, goals and aspirations, the person’s peculiarities of interaction in society and communication. When there is the problem of the ethnical oppression it is necessary to concentrate on social aspects of possible prejudice and misunderstanding.
Berger, K. S. (2009). The developing person: Through childhood and adolescence. New York, NY: Worth Publishers.
Lan, W., & Lanthier, R. (2003). Changes in students’ academic performance and perceptions of school and self before dropping out of schools. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, 8(3), 309-333.
Pruitt, D. (2000). Your adolescent: Emotional, behavioral, and cognitive development from early adolescence through the teen years. New York, NY: Harper Paperbacks.