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    Adolescence (physical, mental and emotional development)


    Adolescence is a complex phase of human life in which a child matures into an adult. In terms of biology, it is a transition that is marked by the onset of puberty. World Health Organization (WHO) defines adolescents as individuals in the 10-19 years of age group. This period involves changes in the body, personality, and social development. Here are a few major changes during adolescence or characteristics of adolescence that every adolescent experience during this transition:


    Biological Development in adolescence (body development): 

    The physical changes refer to the overall physical growth of the body and its capacity to increase certain functions of the body. This occurs due to pulsatile production of hormones that result in the following changes:


    Pubertal changes in boys are:

    • Enlargement of testicles and gonad
    • Appearance of pubic hair, hair in underarms and facial hair that includes mustache and beard
    • Development of larynx (Adam's Apple) resulting in a hoarse voice
    • Development of muscular body that affine broadening of shoulders
    • Acne and pimples 
    • Body odour
    • Increase in height and weight


    Pubertal changes in girl are:

    • Development of breast, the elevation of nipple and increment in the areolar area.
    • Menstrual cycle begins
    • Widening of hips 
    • Growth of hair under arms and genital area
    • Increase in Height and Weight
    • The lower body starts to take shape of an hourglass
    • Acne and pimples
    • Body odour
    • Development of genitals


    Psychological development in adolescence (Personality Development):

    • Behaviour changes: oversensitive behaviour, mood swings and contentious behaviour
    • Self-identity formation
    • Development of thought process: logical thinking, reasoning, moral thinking and decision making 
    • Sexual anxiety and orientation


    Social development in adolescence:

    • Want full independence and privacy
    • Want to solve every problem on their own 
    • Interest in peer group activities
    • Increased self-consciousness and development of self-identity 
    • Attraction towards the opposite gender and development of sexual identity
    • Inclination towards new experiences and risk-taking behaviour.

    Queries related to adolescence (normal and abnormal development)


    Puberty is all about initiation of reproductive growth and involves physical, social and emotional changes. As this stage is very sensitive, there is a very thin line between normal and abnormal behaviour. Here we list some points that can differentiate between normal and abnormal development during puberty. 



    Reference:


    https://www.who.int/features/qa/malnutrition/en/

    Frequently Asked Questions

    The growth in terms of height and weight in girls occurs approximately between 11 to 14 years which is termed as the period of maximum growth prior to menarche (menstruation). Girls grow about 3½ inches (about 9 centimetres) during their year of maximum growth. After menarche, a girl may gain about 7 cm (3 inches) height. This “growth spurt” happens very quickly and may happen at any time. The height of girls usually stops after 2 years at the start of menstruation.


    Expert consultation and adolescent health screening are advisable.

    Menstruation is a big change for every girl, and it can definitely make her anxious. Your role as a mother should be very assertive and calming. Talk with your child and explain to her that this is totally normal and she is not alone who is getting this change. But if you find it difficult to manage, expert consultation and counselling should be taken.

    Although there is some increase in the appetite of adolescents due to the growth spurt but constant hunger even after having a meal should not be ignored. Ensure a healthy balanced diet and physical activity for the teenager and monitor her growth parameters, BMI. It can also be a sign of some underlying health issue. Expert consultation and nutritional counselling would help. Adolescent health screening will also point out if the adolescent has any nutritional deficiencies or excess. Consult your doctor and he may do some tests to conclude the problem.

    A child may bite nails for numerous reasons like a habit, curiosity, stress relief, boredom, psychological issue or underlying nutritional deficiency (PICA). It can also be due to nervous temperament.Look for reasons for his/her nail-biting and manage it according. E.g. if she bites nail is stress, ask him to be relaxed or engage him in meditation. Expert consultation would help find out the cause of the problem. Moreover, such children are prone to get worm infestations too.

    This is not necessary. As adolescents undergo numerous physical, emotional and social changes, they may behave differently. Parents should regularly discuss with their adolescents about what all they are feeling. This may lighten their issues and they will behave better.


     But if her behaviour is hampering her day to day activity, diet and personality, expert consultation and counselling is advisable.

    Rebelliousness is very common among adolescents owing to the surge of hormones. Negotiating style of parenting is better for such children rather than authoritarian and permissive styles.


    If the rebellious and risk-taking attitude of your child is affecting his/her future, expert consultation and counselling are recommended.


    Follow the tips mentioned in “Tips for parents”

    Bullying is very common in schools and colleges. This has always been a concern for parents. As a mother, you should listen without getting angry or upset and boost your child’s confidence and ask him to stay away from those people who bully him. Also, reassure that it’s not your child fault. If this does not help, meet his teacher or principal and demand action against the culprits.

    Adolescents undergo various physical changes and become more conscious about their looks and personality. That is why your daughter is conscious of wearing braces. This is just a periodic change that will go in some time when she will remove the braces. Encourage her to be positive and she looks beautiful even in braces.

    It may be because she is going through bodily changes. But there can be more reasons involved too, like bullying by friends, bad teacher behaviour, hurt in the school viz. hit by the teacher, friend or physically assaulted by anyone. All these are a matter of concerns and you should openly but politely discuss with your child.


    In extreme cases an expert consultation and adolescent health screening are advisable.

    You should restrict his screen time and engage him in outdoor activities. You can enroll him in his favourite activity classes and encourage his skills.

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