Adolescence refers to the stage where the child transitions from puberty to adulthood. It has often been characterized as the most turbulent and stressful stage in a person’s life. The study of adolescence had been concurrent with the biological, physical and psychological development of the person. It is a stage that each person must successfully navigate as it directly influences the quality of life of the individual during adulthood. Adolescent problem behaviors had been associated with dropping out of high school, substance abuse, drunk driving and even petty theft. On the other hand, adolescence is an exciting time of discovery and learning, the adolescent is asked to prepare for adult responsibilities and at the same time establish their own self concept (Santrock, 2007).
The idea that adolescence is a stage to be dreaded had been in existence since ancient times, Aristotle wrote that adolescence was characterized by risky behavior brought about by impulsiveness, a disregard for rules and authority and the interest in experimentation (Gottfredson, 1994). If Aristotle had characterized adolescence as such, then his writings on the nature of adolescence would reflect such ideas, however he also said that viewing adolescents as problematic children is a stereotype that had been perpetuated by the writings of philosophers and validated by parents and school teachers who interact with adolescents regularly. Plato also wrote about the troublesome adolescent stage even saying that adolescents are a social problem, citing the many problems that adolescents cause to society. For example, adolescents due to their impulsiveness and lack of moral codes would commit crimes like stealing and vandalism without remorse or guilt. Plato warned that adolescent behaviors like this should be curbed and corrected as early as possible in order for it not to progress to more violent crimes. Hence, in Plato’s time adolescents had been home schooled with a private teacher or placed in a dormitory strictly run by teachers in order to focus the adolescent’s energy and attention to academics and sports.
The nature of adolescence is not altogether problematic, in fact it is at this stage that they become more open to change, have the energy and mental acuity to learn and master skills, to think logically and to become rational beings. Adolescence is a process and it is a necessary one that would help the individual lead a more productive life when he/she reaches adulthood.
Gottfredson, M. (1994). General theory of adolescent problem behavior. in Ketterlinus, R. &
Lamb, M. (Eds.), Adolescent Problem Behavior, Hillsdale, N. J.: Erlbaum Press.
Santrock, J. (2007). Adolescence 11th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill