Self-Esteem during Adolescence
The onset of adolescence is usually associated with puberty, a period of rapid change from 100 percent child to biological, sexual maturity. Within a few years of reaching puberty, the child is transformed into an adult, at least in physical appearance. Changes at puberty are grouped into two classes: those related to the development of male or female sexual characteristics and those related to overall physical growth, known as the growth spurt. In girls, the growth spurt begins about age 10 or 11, reaches its peak at about 12, and decreases at age 13, with slow continual growth for several additional years. Boys begin their growth spurt later than girls, beginning at around age 13, reaching a peak at 14, and declining at age 15 ½.
Adolescents' thinking is marked by movement from reality to the realm of possibility; they move from the concrete operational thinking of middle childhood to the formal operational thinking stage. Formal operational thinkers are no longer preoccupied with systematizing and organizing what comes to their senses. At the formal level, actual props and points of reference are no longer needed. The adolescent has the potential to conjure up many possibilities or solutions to problems, both the very obvious and the very subtle. Adolescents now construe the world abstractly and hypothetically.
Socially, adolescents begin to compare their own views with those of society at large, and they realize that the social system in which they operate is a product of the shared views of the members of society. Friendships are seen as open relationship systems subject to change, flexibility, and growth. Trust is knowing that each partner helps the