Twelve to Sixteen: Early Adolescence

Twelve to Sixteen: Early Adolescence

Twelve to Sixteen: Early Adolescence

Twelve to Sixteen: Early Adolescence

Excerpt

It is a paradox that adolescence should be the period of greatest concern to parents and youth and the era least well comprehended by psychologists. Our understanding of the human infant has been enhanced enormously during the last decade as elegant methodology and rich theory were simultaneously focused on the first year. But no comparable wisdom has been accumulated for early adolescence. There are several reasons for this intellectual frustration.

In the first place, the questions of priority seek answers to affective and motivational phenomena, especially the experiences surrounding sexuality, anger, and ambivalent independence. Since the adolescent has impermeable defenses against simple probes into his motivational world and since psychologists do not possess more powerful methods of inquiry, most of our knowledge is limited to what the adolescent is willing to tell us in an interview or questionnaire. The answers are helpful guides to the region but far from a detailed map.

Further, we do not possess a coherent theoretical view of this developmental period and, as a result, must use monetary concerns of the community and hunch when problems are selected.

Finally, we have often been misled into culs-de-sac by focusing too narrowly on urban middle-class adolescents and assumed too quickly that alienation, rebellion, drugs, and whole earth catalogs are characteristic of all adolescents. We have relied too often on our personal memories of this period and the easy availability of adolescents. Since most of us know a few of them moderately well, we make the presumptuous leap to omniscience and generate maxims without restraint. It is not that personal recollections or quiet conversations are without value, but that they offer only partial access to the mosaic of cognitive and motivational phenomena we want to understand. Moreover, these sources of information inevitably lead to an exaggeration of the superficial structure of local issues and . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.