Adolescence is a period of physical and psychological development from the onset of puberty to maturity. The adolescent is no longer a child, but they haven’t yet reached adulthood. Adolescence is considered people between the ages of 13 and 21. Puberty is the physical maturing that makes an individual capable of sexual reproduction. Puberty is important to adolescence because when a child hits puberty, that’s when the child is becoming an adolescent. Puberty is a big part of an adolescent’s life.
Adolescence is not cultural universal. In some societies, young children go straight from childhood to the adult life once they have done the necessary puberty rites. Puberty rites are formal ceremonies that mark the entrance of young people into the adult life. People at the age of 13 to 14 that completed these puberty rites can become accepted into the adult society.
Three factors are important in the development of adolescence as a distinct stage of the life cycle. The first factor is education. Young children are required to spend many years in school and state laws make education mandatory up to the age of 16. The second factor that separates young people in a different type of group is the exclusion of youth from the labor force. In many states, child labor laws keep people from going to the labor force until they hit the age of 16. Adolescents usually work part time while still going to school. The third factor is the rise of adolescence as a distinct stage of the life cycle is the development of the juvenile justice system. Our society has in effect created a separate legal status for young people, by distinguishing between juvenile and adult offenders.
There are five characteristics that all adolescents have. These characteristics are biological growth and development, an undefined status, increased decision-making, increased pressures, and the search for self. The brain and the endocrine system control biological growth and development. During the early stages of adolescence, individuals experience growth in height and weight, changes in the body, the development of sexual characteristics, and skin problems. For example, I started getting curves in my body when I hit puberty. My body started to develop changes. Our society’s expectations for children and adults are clear, but for the adolescent, expectations are inexplicit. Some adolescents are treated like children, but some are treated like adults. There is an undefined status. For example, my...