Parents are the ones who rear their children to become who they might be someday. They do the most significant role in an adolescent’s life. Parents shape their child’s behavior in all aspects and in making wise and or good decisions.
There are a lot of environmental forces that may influence adolescents but family has the strongest influence among all.
Adolescents as an Underserved Population:
There are a lot of changes taking place in an adolescent’s life. Physical changes are the visible changes that take place such as experiencing menstruation on girls and growing facial hairs on boys. The intervals and gap on ages differs the need of a young adult especially on reproductive health.
Being a growing up kid, they understand sexual relations, being a parent and getting married as a part of growing up and a sign of maturity. They try to find out things about sexual issues through their friends, teachers, reading articles such as books and magazines, media such as televised sexual shows and other types of sources. Unfortunately, young adults are sometimes diverted into wrong and misleading information.
Young adults usually receive information and react according to the modernity or liberation of a certain social community they live in. Their actions and decision making could be hardly influenced by external forces like economic opportunities, usage of abused drugs, and also their self image((FHI)).
Physical Development in young adulthood:
Girls as early as 8 years old are under breast development, hairs in the armpit and legs and even pubic hairs start to develop during 9-10 years of age. Two years after the signs of pubescent are noted, menarche takes place. It may occur during the age of as early as 10.
The growth of height for girls reaches its peek during the age of 12(“Adolescent Development”)
Boys on the other hand are experiencing enlargement of the testicular and scrotal part of their body during their age of 9 and followed by the penis growing longer. Genital development for boys reach its peek during the age of 16-17, at this point pubic hairs, armpit hairs, and facial hairs also develops. Voice development starts in parallel to penile growth.(“Adolescent Development”)
Common health problems
According to the National Health Interview Survey, children under the age of 18 commonly have respiratory problems. The second type of problem common is the injury. For ages 5-17 frequency of injury to children is up to 28.9 per 100 children a year(“Child and Adolescent Health Status Measures
Other health problems of adolescent are:
Malnutrition due to poverty
reaching to obesity
enuresia or bed wetting disorder
and problems in vision and hearing(“Child and Adolescent Health Status Measures
Cognitive Development in young adulthood:
Middle childhood stage is the stage where a child uses mental ability to solve complicated problems and is able to think logically.
Concrete operation child
According to Piaget a concrete operational child is influenced by neurological development. It states that those children who attain conservation shows a brain wave which is totally different from the pattern of those who have not yet achieve it. It suggests that those people are using different brain parts in doing the certain task(Boeree).
This pertains to the idea that a certain quantity of a thing stays the same even though it changes in appearance. By the age of seven or eight, children learn ways of how to conserve any substances. This is where they learn that even though you tend to change the position, arrangement or any physical appearance of the substance, the substance remains of its quantity. In this stage an adolescent also learns to classify and seriate things(Boeree).
This serves as a temporary storage of knowledge, ideas, and other information. It includes the processing of information.
Mnemonics >> these are the strategies on how to remember stored information
1. Rehearsal, it is done through repetitive recitation
2. Organization, it is done through storing things categorically or in order according to their categories.
3. Elaboration, storing information and inclining them with other things or other associate items(Piaget).
Children in school
Children with problems in learning >> some children are suffering under mental retardation, Dyslexia in which the child is having a hard time in learning how to read, and learning disabilities which interfere with their supposedly school attainments and their p[performances level is lower than that of what is expected(Piaget).
Language and literacy
Vocabulary, grammar and syntax >> Children learn words which are more precise. They learn to describe things more simple like hitting and slapping
Knowledge about communication >> children learn how to use language in a practical way and they learn to develop their conversational skills(Piaget)
Social Development in young adulthood:
An adolescent child starts to become independent from their parents and start to find friends. It is at this stage of child development where in peer pressure becomes strong. It is those children who feel confident about who they are, are the ones who easily resist negative peer pressure and create a better choice for their selves.
During this period an adolescent tends to be:
Under more peer pressure
Needing companionship especially of the same gender
And facing more challenges in school academically
In this stage parents should be helping their children build their self confidence and independence(“Middle Childhood (9-11 Years Old)”).
Relationship between parent and child during middle childhood:
>>The child spends more time in school and less time with family that’s why some children are drawn farther from parents
>>because of the development of the child’s coregulation, conflicts and disciplinary actions may be really affected and may be difficult to handle(“Psychosocial Development in Middle Childhood”)
>> The adolescent will experience the struggle for autonomy in which the child would want to be able to think by himself and to act independently according to his will(“The Changing Parent-Child Relationship”).
Main problems of adolescents:
School performance -> teens usually performs low in school because of poor study habit and skills, including lack of parental guidance to do well. This problem would soon lead into your child’s easily depression and low motivation.
Peer pressure -> usually adolescents are easily swept by peer pressure because they wanted to try something new, they wanted to be “in” or become a part of it, and since everyone seem to do a certain thing ,they felt that they are casted out if they wont also try to do it.
Under peer pressure are some related problems such as:
Learning how to sneak out from class
Learning how to smoke cigarettes
And even lie to their parents(Kevin J. Took)
Sexual Temptation -> adolescents are already developing their sexual emotions. Their curiosity triggers their interests and or willingness to learn about it. One factor that causes this vulnerability of young adults is the lack of parental supervision. Because of families which lack time and attention for their child, young adults find an easy access to go anywhere they tend to go and do whatever they want. Another one is being over protective of a parent or being as what they call “strict”, an adolescent has more risk of being rebellious once they are strictly supervised and prohibited to do a certain thing(Family).
Alcoholism -> a lot of young adults start to drink as early as middle childhood, some factors that causes them to be involved in this activity is because they think they look “cool”(Alcoholism). Other factors are:
· Emotional problems
· Problem in school
· Family problems
· And also peer pressure
With these kinds of problems, family is the first one to be approached. Parents as the superior authority in a household should know how to prevent the child from getting involved in any of the elaborated activities that is usually experienced by young adults. As a parent they should always be aware of the events that are happening to their child.
According to the NHSDA or National Health Survey on Drug Abuse states that alcohol drinking is inclined with the usage of drug and cigarette. From the information of NHSDA in the year 1998, young adults from 12-17 years of age are involved in drinking and 40% of them are using drugs.
The starting age of an alcohol drinker in adolescents has eventually been declining from years, in 1968 the young adults who tends to be involved in usage of alcohol are those with 18 years of age, and then turned down to 12-17 in the year 1996(NHSDA). (Greenblatt)
Influence of parents in adolescents behavior towards alcoholism
Parents who have drinking habits can provide a very strong influence for a sibling to be involved in doing so. Youth or adolescents in ages between 12-17 has the high possibility of learning to drink alcohol specially those boys who live with no other parental figure rather than that of a father figure(Tennessee Association of Alcohol).
Adolescents with parents who drink are easily swayed by peers, who at the early age of 10, already tried drinking alcohol. Their behavior and indications that they are in favor of drinking associates the young adult’s initiative in continuing drinking(Tennessee Association of Alcohol).
Older sibling, the younger sibling would be influenced the older one especially when they are in the same sex(Tennessee Association of Alcohol).
Preventive ways that a parent can do:
They should secure the bond of the family
Awareness of the parents with obvious and clear rules regarding their involvements in the family as an authoritative parent.
Practice good discipline
They should minimize the conflict in the family and explain kids with ages 11-12 that alcohol is harmful(Tennessee Association of Alcohol)
Maternal Employment and Dual-Earner Families -> this is usually one of the reasons why family conflicts occur in a certain family. Work and family are considered separately but conflicts take place whenever family or work interfere with each other. This is often experienced by mother because they do two tasks at a time. They do their job as an employee and at the same time they do their role as a mother in a family(Patricia V. Roehling).
“The teenager said that he wanted the parents around the whole world to know and comprehend teens” stated by Gor a former drug addict. He said that he should not have tried it. He said that everything in his life had change in a sudden, and that he lost his opportunity in school. He also admitted that he already tried stealing which he never have done during those times when he haven’t tried using drugs yet.
(“Confessions of a Teenage Drug Addict “)
Gor noticed what drugs look like when he was grade 7, he saw some of it behind the toilet bowl when he went to the comfort room in their school. His friends from the other section are using it. He said a lot of students from their school are using drugs everyday, they take drugs inside the comfort rooms of their school and they even smoke. He started taking pills named Ya Ba in English it means crazy medicine, one time when he was at home and a friend of him drop by. His friends went to his room to take drugs, that day his parents were out because of work. He saw his friends taking drugs and he was curious about it. He ask his friends if he could try it, they don’t want to let him try so be blackmailed them that he would buy drugs for himself if they wont let him try and so his friends had no other choice. He said the feeling of it is likely when he smokes a cigarette and that the only distinction between the two substances is the taste. He does it always when his friends drop by at their house, even when his parents are in the house but of course he waits for them until they are asleep(“Confessions of a Teenage Drug Addict “).
In a persons life especially during adolescent stage it is the family who influence the child a lot, it is depending on how the authoritative member of the family rear his or her child that the child would become either a good or a bad person. In every stage of development, the child will experience something new to him or her and that he or she will need someone to understand.
According to the researches stated in this file young are vulnerable and are easy to be swept away by things new to them. Their relationship with their family is at conflict risks because in this stage of life they tend to be independent from their family and also tend to find friends or company of their own.
Parents can also influence their children to continue their initiative to try what they see that their parents are doing. Young adults learn to try alcohols and other abusive substance as early as 12. That according to the NHSDA survey, adolescents who are involved in drug addiction and alcohol abuse are declining age in every year.
In the stage of children’s development into adolescents, the entire external factor that tempts children is present such as sex, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, and a lot more problems.
Parents should be aware about their children’s activity and that they should know that their children still needs them for guidance. Parents should never lack time and attention to their child because adolescent which are not guarded by parents have the higher risk of being not properly disciplined and rebellious
(FHI), Family Health International. “Chapter 1: Adolescents: An Underserved Population.” 2007.
“Adolescent Development.” 2007.
Alcoholism, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and. “Alcohol and Youth.” 2007.
Boeree, Dr. C. George. “Jean Piaget and Cognitive Development.” 2003.
“The Changing Parent-Child Relationship.” 2006.
“Child and Adolescent Health Status Measures
“Confessions of a Teenage Drug Addict” (2001).
Family, A Ministry of Focus on the. “Talking About Sex and Sexuality to Your Adolescent “, 2000.
Greenblatt, Janet C. “Patterns of Alcohol Use among Adolescents
And Associations with
Emotional and Behavioral Problems.” 2000.
Kevin J. Took, MD. “Dealing with Peer Pressure.” 2004.
“Middle Childhood (9-11 Years Old).” 2005.
Patricia V. Roehling, Ph.D and Phyllis Moen, Ph.D. “Dual-Earner Couples “, 2003.
Piaget, Jean. “Cognitive Development in Middle Childhood.” 2000.
“Psychosocial Development in Middle Childhood.” 2004.
Tennessee Association of Alcohol, Drug & other Addiction Services. “The Role of Parents in Preventing and Addressing Underage Drinking.” 2007.