Teenage is a turbulent phase between childhood and adult stage and it is a real crisis time in one’s life. It begins with the onset of puberty around 14 years for boys ,12 for girls, and ends with late adolescence or young adulthood at 19 years. One passes through the adolescent crisis in which one leaves behind the warm cocoon of childhood and enters the much longed for adult stage. Crisis does not necessarily mean something negative but it does mean change or transition .A crisis has its share of problems but is not defined just by the problems only, it is also an opportunity for growth and development. It is like the moment of transition from the first gear to the second on your motor bike. As you change the gear there is a moment of uncertainty and unease as the vehicle slows down briefly but in a moment you settle into the higher gear and you faster and smoother.
Characteristics of Teenage
The most obvious changes of teenage are the external physical changes. With the onset of puberty these appear in the male and the female. Boys begin to sprout beards and hair growth in the armpits and other parts of the body and girls’ breasts begin to enlarge. Teenage is a time of rapid growth and voracious appetite. A teenager is always hungry and his stomach is never filled. He has always room for more.
The growth of the various parts of the body sometimes is not proportionate. One may have long legs and short body and feel awkward when sitting or riding a vehicle .Suddenly the clothes become tight and as you slip into new ones you may grow out of them also rather fast.. This sudden growth makes many feel awkward because they will take some time to be fully tuned to their bigger body and coordinate the body movements. The teenager is acutely conscious of his body and his self-consciousness makes him feel diffident and shy. He loses the spontaneity and ease of childhood . He will give great importance to the comments others make about him. He becomes extremely sensitive about teasing , nicknames and any comments about his body.
Those who are fat can feel extremely awkward and suffer from low self esteem. . As he puts on weight quickly he is always hungry and looking for food. Height also is a matter of concern. Shortness of stature makes many feel inferior to others but it is not a serious handicap since great generals like Napoleon were short . Height is generally an advantage but personality factors can make up for those below average height. Some even try high heeled shoes to give them an advantage.
Sometimes girls who are tall feel shy since they stand out in the crowd and they vainly try to hide in a crowd. Height can give one advantage in games and sports. While height can give you physical advantage in a crowd life is more of a mind game and your success in life need not be conditioned merely by your physical traits.
Your mindscape can landscape your life and fortunes.
With the onset of puberty primary and secondary sex manifestations begin to appear. This occurs earlier in girls than boys, around age of 12. For boys it occurs around the age of 14. As Tagore says in one of his essays a boy of 14 is a bundle of contradictions and is an enigma to himself. Naturally others will find it very difficult to deal with him. . Sex organs begin to develop and become mature at this time. Girls start their monthly periods and ovulation and become capable of conceiving and giving birth. Boys become capable of impregnation and advance fast to manhood. In both sexes pubic hair begins to grow around the genitals. Girls’ breasts begin to grow to their full size so that they will be able to feed their babies with milk they secrete after childbirth. Boys begin to have facial hair and are proud of the moustache that slowly appears on the face. This is a proof to all the world that he will soon be counted as a man and he is proud about it. When he has the first shave he feels he has really arrived in the adult world. At this age boys also undergo change of voice. Their shrill voice of childhood may turn into deep base or into tenor. There is nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about these changes. They just show that you are a normal boy or girl and can become a future parent. These physiological changes are accompanied by psychological changes and problems of social adjustment.
This is the time boys begin to have so called wet dreams. They may get puzzled and confused about these nocturnal spontaneous emissions which are not at all harmful to health and are just a natural outlet for a sexually mature boy.
For personal reflection
1. How often do I look at my face in the mirror? Have I accepted myself?
2. How do I cope with teasing?
3. Do I feel at ease with my body?
Is there something I can change to improve my self-esteem?