1. Read this the passage then ans what’ the concept is about. 2. Watch the YouTube video “why girls enter puberty earlier than ever, and the problem it creates”.
Characteristics of Adolescents:
Egocentric – this means that they imagine that everyone sees the world from the same perspective as their own. Term egocentric comes from Piaget, In early childhood, Piaget discussed egocentricism in terms of children in the preoperational stage of development. He discusses the Three Mountains Problem
The boy and the doll are seated. How do they view the mountains? Boy: mountains go from bigger to smaller. Doll: Mountains go from smaller to bigger. If child is egocentric, the child will say the doll views the mountains the same way he does.
Imaginary audience – everyone is looking at me (even though in reality they most likely are not)
Personal fable – I am the only one who has had this experience
So imagine an adolescent with a pimple on his or her forehead. The adolescent feels everyone is looking a him or her (imaginary audience), no one has ever had a pimple like this (personal fable), and everyone sees this horrible pimple the same way he/she does (egocentric)
Adolescents also believe they are invincible (invincibility fable). They therefore engage in unsafe activities without regards to consequences because they do not believe that such negative experiences will befall them ie they drive too fast, drink too much alcohol, engage in unsafe sex, dive off a high cliff if there is no lifeguard in the area, etc.
Now think about the experience of puberty. Adolescents feel awkward. This is magnified by imaginary audience (everyone is looking at how they look), personal fable (no one else looks like me – although this is obviously not true), and egocentricism (everyone views my bodily changes from my perspective). Note: estrogens are female hormones and androgens (including testosterone are male hormones)
What happens of adolescents mature too early or too late? Girls – average age of menarche (first menstrual period) is 12 years 4 months
• More difficult to mature early
• Unwanted sexual experiences
• Older boyfriends which increase status, but promotes drug and alcohol abuse (Mrug et al, 2014, in Berger, 2020, p. 362)
• More likely to enter into abusive relationships
Watch: Why Girls Enter Puberty Earlier Than Everhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y2XjMN8IX2I
Boys –average age of spermarche- (first ejaculation of seminal fluid) is 13 years
• Look macho
• More aggressive, law breaking, delinquency, alcohol abuse (Sun et al, 2016, in Berger 2030, p. 362)
Late puberty – may signify health problems such as sickle cell anemia
• Especially difficult for boys
• Become depressed, anxious, afraid of sex
• Girls less attracted to them
• Less often chosen for athletic teams
• May react in ways such as clowning, fighting, or isolating
Early puberty linked to breast cancer, diabetes, and stroke later on in life (Day et al, 2015, in Berger, 2020, p. 361) Why breast cancer? The girl has estrogen in the body at an earlier age. Increased estrogen levels can lead to breast cancer. Obesity can also cause early puberty in girls. Thus, poor eating habits may lead to obesity and thus early puberty. In boys, being overweight accelerates puberty, but being obese, slows it down (Reinehr & Roth, 2019, in Berger, 2020, p. 359). Body fat may interfere with the expression of male hormones (Beger, 2020, p. 359).
Malnutrition delays puberty, Stress plays a role in early puberty. Stress may be caused by factors such as harsh parenting, family dysfunction, or living in an emotionally deprived environment, such as an orphanage. Romanian orphanages are well known for not providing enough emotional support. In the past, when the environment was stressful, early maturity promoted survival. Not so today, but our bodies still respond in a similar manner.
A bone age X ray can determine is bones have fused. Once bones fuse, growth no longer takes place. When a child matures too early, the bones may fuse earlier and the child will stop growing at the point that the fusion is complete. If the child matures later and the bones have not fused, then he or she still has growing time and literally growth room in the bones. Observe the gaps between the bones in the infant hands and how the gaps have closed at skeletal maturity.
See diagram below that illustrates skeletal age by chronological age. https://radiologykey.com/skeletal-age/
Ethnicity contributes to reaction to puberty. If one’s peers are maturing late, for example, this is not an issue. Different genetics and ethnicity among school children may accentuate differences. Some children may look more like adults and others may still look like children.
Adolescents and sleep:
Puberty affects biorhythms. Adolescents find it easier to stay up later at night and get up later in the morning. This is contrary to school schedules. Thus, often adolescents are sleep deprived and this impacts their school functioning and can cause intellectual, behavioral, and health problems. Unfortunately, 43% of high schools in the US start before 8AM. Pediatricians recommend schools not start before 8:30 or 9 AM.
Teenagers may eat poorly. Only 14% of teenagers eat recommended 3+ servings of vegetables per day. May be deficiencies if iron, calcium, zinc, and other minerals. Menstruation depletes iron and girls who lack iron rich foods may become anemic. (This is especially in countries in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa). Boys may be anemic if they engage in labor intensive sports. Iron is needed for growth and strength and yet adolescents may eat chips, fries, and sweets. Adolescents may also have calcium deficiencies. Adolescents need 130 miligrams of calcium per day, but the average teen consumes 500 milligrams per day. In 1961, adolescents drank at least 24 ounces of milk per day. Fifty years later, only 8% of high school students drank that much milk and 27% drank no milk at all (MMWR, June 15, 2018, in Berger, 2020, p. 365). . The decline in milk drinking is causing vitamin D deficiencies. Many adolescents skip brrakfast and avoid dairy products.
Eating Disorders Body image – many teens are dissatisfied with their bodies. This is magnified by the imaginary audience, personal fable, and egocentric aspects of adolescents. More than ½ of high school girls are trying to lose weight although 1/6 really need to. Many teens try diets, drugs, or intensive exercise.
Why dissatisfaction with body? (see p. 375)
• Weight criticism from parents
• Unfavorable peer comparisons
• Low self-esteem
• Weight obsessed culture
Eating disorders: these individuals have a distorted body image
Anorexia nervosa (.6% of Americans)
• BMI of less than 17, or sometimes 15
• Loss of menstrual cycle
• Obsession with counting calories or monitoring of food
• Excessive exercise
• Hair thinning
• Rapid mood swings
• See oneself as overweight ( as if looked in a mirror that creates visual distortions)
• May need to be fed with a feeding tube
• May die
• Excessive fear of being fat
• Starvation diet
Extra credit reading list: Skin tells the story of an anorexic adolescent seen from the eyes of her brother
Bulemia (1% of Americans)
• Eating and purging through vomiting or laxative
• Not as visually identifiable as anorexia because they are consuming calories so do not look too thin
• May damage gastrointestinal system or suffer cardiac arrest due to electrolyte imbalance (Mehler, 2018, in Berger, 2020, p. 366)
• Binging is followed by compensatory vomiting, , laxative use, fasting, or excessive exercise. Preoccupied with food (craving sweet and high fat foods) and fearful of becoming overweight, binge-purge eaters experience bouts of guilt and anxiety during and following binges.
Binge eating disorder (2.8% of Americans)
• Compulsive overeating without purging, but followed by remorse
• Sufferer feels out of control, distressed, and depressed
Anorexia and bulimia can be deadly. They harm the body and mind, resulting in shorter life expectancy and greater risk of suicide and nonsuicidal self-injury.
Those with eating disorders often have low self-evaluations, set perfectionist standards, fret about falling short of expectations, and are intensely concerned with how others perceive them. There is also a genetic component.
We need to teach people, especially girls over the age of 15, to accept their bodies may reduce the likelihood of an eating disorder
Teenage Pregnancy: Problems experienced by teenage parents (especially Moms)
• Teenage parents may not have finished school and therefor may have a low paying job
• Food insecurity (not enough money to buy healthy foods and concern that there may not be enough money for food)
• No health insurance or a substandard plan
• Possible homelessness
2. Lack of family support
3. May be single parents
4. Emotional immaturity
In developing countries, child marriage and early pregnancy limit the education of girls. Teenage Pregnancy in Uganda- topics include child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and female genital mutilation (cutting or removing of some or all of external female genitalia done after puberty. Infections, difficulty urinating, chronic pain, cysts, infertility, childbirth complications, and fatal bleeding can result.)
Ending child marriage in Nepal
Teen pregnancy in the Philippines
Extra credit: Look at the websites for the Grandmother Project and Romomatter,. Child sexual abuse
• Any sexual activity including fondling and photographing
• Boys and girls are both at risk, although it is more common in girls
• Usually the father, stepfather, older sibling, uncle, or someone the child knows
• Pregnancy, drug abuse, eating disorders, suicide can result
Sexually transmitted infections
• Chlamydia – may cause infertility
• Human papilloma virus – may increase cancer risk in both sexes later in life
• Congenital syphilis – newborn may have lifelong disabilities and possibly early death