The adolescence is the period of life after childhood and before adulthood. It passes from the first signs of puberty, between the ages of 10 and 12, until the full development of the body and the beginning of adulthood, between approximately 19 and 20 years.
Etymologically, the word comes from the Latin adolescentĭa.
Characteristics of adolescence
In adolescence an important transformation is experienced at various levels in the human being. The child begins to feel changes in his organism and in his mind that will lead him to adulthood.
In the physical
It is a time of physical growth and hormonal changes. It grows in height, weight, body fat and muscles. Acne appears, adult dentures are defined, and the change in the vocal cords and voice is experienced.
In the sexual
In addition to a change in the genitals and the appearance of hair both in the pubis and in the armpits and throughout the body in both sexes, boys begin to produce sperm and have their first ejaculation, and girls increase breasts, or mammary glands, and the first menstruation or menarche appears.
In the psychological
The adolescent begins to know how to control his emotions, and to feel and develop the emotions that are identified with love, both as a couple and as a friend; You can choose which friends and classmates you will want, and start looking for self-affirmation, identify your Self, and develop your self-esteem. In addition, he begins to learn tools to achieve his individual autonomy as an adult, and continues to develop abstract and formal thinking.
Stages of adolescence
Adolescence, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), extends from 10 or 11 years to 19 years, and is divided, basically, two phases or stages:
- Early adolescence: is the period between 10 years (girls) or 11 years (boys), and 14-15 years.
- Late adolescence: is the period between 14 and 15 years to 19 years of age.
Next, it is followed by full youth, which is the period that extends from 19 years to 24 or 25 years of age. Some psychologists consider it part of adolescence.
Risks associated with adolescence
Adolescence is a stage in which people begin to expose themselves to life in a way that they were not before. Hence, about 1.7 million teenagers die each year from various causes.
In education, the adolescent begins to be more responsible for his time and his decisions. If they do not have adequate supervision, this could lead to misused leisure time, poor school performance, contact with drugs (tobacco, alcohol, etc.). In addition, at this stage many begin to drive cars, which brings certain risks if you do not have enough prudence.
In health, the adolescent begins to be exposed to acquire some eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia, malnutrition). In addition, when you start your sexual activity, there is a risk of early pregnancy and contracting sexually transmitted diseases.
The social field, on the other hand, is very important for the teenager to have friends, be popular, admired and loved, etc. If this does not happen, the adolescent can fall into depressions, develop suicidal tendencies and even aggressive or criminal behavior.